The only woman I killed was my mother. The rest were men. Those that smelled funny, like old bleach. I could tell one right away, pick him out of the crowd. I’d tell him, “You see my face, mister?” and he’d just look at me, and of course he can’t say nothing, only “Mmmm” and “Mmmm”, and I’d say, “No, you don’t see my face. You look at it, mister. You look at it real close. You see it now? You see it now?” and he’d roll his eyes and maybe blink some, and sometimes there’s tears, and sometimes a lot of them, and snot too, and I can’t stand it, the stink, the messes they make, I get all hot in my head and jerk him and say, “That’s the last face you’ll see, the very last one. You better take a good look at it. Look at me. I want you to see me.” And he’d look and look and still he don’t see. He don’t see now, he don’t see never.
I’m invisible to him.
So I wait. I wait for as long as it takes.
And it always comes, the light in his eyes, like a bulb gets turned on, and he knows. He knows I’ll kill him but he doesn’t know who I am. All he see is the white of my eyes and the white of my teeth and the rest is dark. Like I’m some night terror without a name.
“My name is Janna Van Duser,” I tell him. “That’s not the name my mother gave me, mister, not my father either. My father was long gone by the time I was born. He done ripping my mother’s pussy, done taking all he could, and I took the rest of her. My head was way big, way big for her like skinny ass. I must’ve tore her up pretty bad. She was just a child, twelve years old, mister,” and here I change my story to how it suits me, cause I don’t know nothing for sure, only what Austin scream in my face when he on top of me and when I cry and he slap me and slam in me hard, “twelve years old like that girl you raped.” And here I tell them the name and the address, and their eyes then widen, and I can smell the fear, it excites me, my clit gets swelled up.
“Have you seen her? Have you seen her face and known who she is? Of course you didn’t. That’s why you’re here, mister, that’s why we’re having this talk. I’ll educate you, don’t you worry. Don’t you think you’re alone there, I ain’t never seen my mother’s face either, that’s the way we’re the same. Don’t know her name, don’t know where she from. This all I got,” I show him the backs of my hands, touch my face, “the skin. That’s all you see. I’m a nothing for you, a hoe to spread her legs for you honky ass, to put your dick in me and grunt and squirt and roll off of me and leave my lying there, bleeding and hurting, but that’s none of your concern, of course, you took what you came to took and you gone. Well, you ain’t going nowhere now, you get that?”
And he nods and tries to tell me something and it’s only “Mmmm” and more “Mmmm” and the snot is dripping down his chin on his white hairy chest and it’s disgusting, and I tell him that, “You’re disgusting, Walter,” and he jerks his head, “You didn’t think I knowed who you are? Oh, I knowed for a long time. I know your name, I know everything about you, where you live, where you work, what you do on weekends. You like to drink beer, Lager, straight out of the bottle, sitting in your lawn recliner, watching your wife Sylvia stick her fat white ass in the air and weed out your front yard, crawl around on her hands and knees, cause you think it’s your front yard, you the one making money, Walter B. Hempel of Hempel Markets, age forty-three, first rape your sister, Hazel Hempel, age eight, then three neighborhood girls. You want me to give you the names?”
His piggy eyes opened up then, like he saw me, and a line of sweat trickled down the side of his cleanly shaved face, and his belly jittered and he pissed on himself, that sharp stinky smell, and it gushed down his legs and pooled by his bare feet on his polished parquetry floor, and I put on my white cotton gloves and slapped him hard, and he whimpered, fell to his knees.
“Get up, Walter. You get up now or I’ll make it worse.”
And I reach up into my hair and pull out my razor and flick it open and he stares at it, the blade glinting in the light that comes through the window, soft and quiet, the houses asleep, and I start humming then, Billie Holiday, she my idol, I listen to her all day long at the salon, Why Was I Born?, and I dance a little to it too, just bounce a little on my feet, and Walter makes those noises all of them make when I flash the blade right under his nose and he gets up, his feet slipping and sliding in his own piss, and I smile and he looks at my teeth, and I do a little twist, right leg out and twist, and left leg out and twist, and then both legs and shake my booty, and then I grab his soft white dick and pull on it and cut it off with my blade at the very root—it took me a very long time to learn to do it this fast, is not easy to cut, it all sinewy and sticky, took me a good hour the first time, and his screams come out muffled from behind the tape, and the hot dark blood splatters my legs and I drop the razor and smear it up my thighs with his soft limp dick and all over my pussy and my belly, and my own blood beats hard between my legs and my clit gets big and I pop and I come, five, six times, more, my body convulsing, can’t stop, feels good. I want more.
I get down to Walter, drop his dick. He is back on the floor now, all curled up, and I have to get between his legs and find his sack and grasp it tight and stretch it out. I slash it off and toss it like a piece of meat and it makes this wet noise and sits there on the floor. Next are the titties, I have to cut him the titties.
I roll him on his back and he doesn’t struggle no more, he’s out cold, in shock and pain, and I straddle him and get to work, and when I’m done he looks like a woman as much I can make him look like a woman, and that’s my signature, as they call it, not what I have to do to kill him, but what I want to do, for myself. I watch the reports and read the paper, too, don’t think I don’t, only they got it all wrong about the motive, and they think me a white man in his late twenties, unemployed, playing out his perverted fantasies. Boy, did they get that wrong. Makes me laugh. See, I told you I’m invisible. I’m a woman and I’m black and I’m thirty-four as of last month, and Walter B. Hempel is my tenth kill, and I do the same with all of them, I stuff their junk in their mouths and I watch them bleed and choke to death, and then I’m done and I clean up and I leave and I’m one with the night.