The murder novel I wrote became a bestseller. But now, I must face the consequence of inspiring a serial killer.
I had always been hesitant to write on the genre that involves murder and violence. My sort of literature was always meant to target a family-friendly audience. However, the lack of sales had driven me to desperation, so I tore my boundaries and published the book titled “The Butterfly Murders.”
It started with the news of my wife’s pregnancy and the stack of incoming bills to pay. She was recently fired from her job and rendered unable to find a new one in maternity. So, the responsibility fell onto me. To this day, I am surprised that such a wonderful woman chose to endure a life with a man who can’t guarantee fortune.
Writing was always my passion. Before the expecting of my child, I did not exert as much effort into my other writings until now. Perhaps it was a combination of motivation and pressure that drove me. But even so, I could not find a publisher willing to take any of my “dumb children’s book.” In desperation, I broke my code.
Not for long, I did find a publisher and before I knew it, my book went bestseller. I began to realize that people are naturally fascinated by violence. It’s no wonder that the news is always updating us with war despite the fact that statistics are telling us that we’re getting closer and closer to world peace.
But, writing about a few murders wasn’t enough. I had to be creative. People want ritualistic murders. People want creative murders. People want murder to be an art. What made my novel good was that I made my character, a serial killer, an artist. In my book, I vividly described his style of murder. Being a butterfly collector, his victims met a demise similar to his collections.
One morning, my wife and I watched the news as always. Expecting the same old celebrity garbage and complicated politics, the headline surprised us: a butcher was found dead in his own freezer room. Forensic experts added that he was drugged.
“That sounded like your novel,” my wife said. “Some butterfly collectors knockout and freeze their specimens before mounting them, right?”
“I guess,” I replied.
The news was shocking, but if you live long enough, you get to see and hear weird things. While murder will always be part of the news, there will always be strange outliers. But, it didn’t stop there. A week later, another victim, a woman, was found lifeless on the streets. She was reported missing a few days prior. The cause of death was determined to be due to freezing.
But, what set the media abuzz when a victim was found inside a museum of moth and butterfly displays. The body was spread flat with his arms and legs bolted to a huge wooden board. Just like the previous victims, the victim died from freezing. At this point, suspicion of a serial killer on the loose came about.
As more similar deaths get reported, people could not help but point out that they were similar in nature to my novel. Naturally, I was investigated by the police and I could only shake my head with “I don’t know.” The police then asked if there was any way to predict the serial killer. I remember that potential victims would find a piece of a butterfly net among their possessions. This is the serial killer’s way of symbolizing their capture.
The police thanked me before leaving. I felt rather guilty. For once in my life, I have accomplished something great, even earned a decent living for my family, and I ended up creating a monster.
“It’s not your fault, dear,” my wife told me in bed.
“Sure it is,” I said. “The serial killer took my story as a murder manual.”
“That wasn’t your intention.”
“It might as well be. I didn’t want to write it in the first place.”
“But, you wrote it for our child, remember?”
I was stunned. Despite the gruesome content of my work, it really was in fact dedicated to the future I wanted to protect. I cried a bit.
“Do you remember how we met?” I asked.
“Yes,” she blushed a bit. “we were in high school that time.”
“Then we started sharing our interests,” I continued.
“I wanted to become a school teacher while you wanted to become a writer for children’s literature.”
“We had a common goal,” I smiled. “To make a better world for children.”
We both laughed.
“I guess our real start to that goal is with our child,” I said. She yawned a bit.
“It’s a boy.”
We ended our conversation with a goodnight kiss. I had trouble sleeping. I dreamt that I was in the point of view of the killer. The image of drugging a victim and shoving him into a freezer felt real. I could feel the coldness which woke me up. My wife was sound asleep. I looked around the room and noticed that the window was open. No wonder it felt cold. Wait, didn’t I lock this window?
Immediately, I turned on the lights and grabbed a baseball bat. “Honey, what’s wrong?” I hear my wife waking up.
“The window was open.” I went around and inspected the house. Nothing seems to be taken and there were no signs of intrusion.
“Dear,” my wife spoke. “I think I just left the window open to beat the heat. That’s all.” I went back to bed feeling reassured. But, as I passed by looking at some of our belongings on the bedroom table, I saw a torn piece of a net, a butterfly net. I called the police.
The next day, we had a few cops guarding our home. I was told that cops were also watching over areas with freezer rooms just in case. Citizens were also warned not go out alone at night. I later contributed more info to the police regarding my fictional character’s actions in relation to what the serial killer might do.
“Also,” I told them. “He might resort to suffocating his victims if he can’t find a way to freeze them to death.” My wife later dragged me to another room.
“Dear,” my wife whispered. “That wasn’t in your book.”
“Your character never did that.”
I pondered a bit. “You’re right.”
“Didn’t he wind up caught in ambush as he tried to drug a still-living victim?”
“But, he wouldn’t want to repeat his mistakes.” I replied.
Her eyes widened.
“I just know how he’d think.”
“Do you think your reader would know?”
“I… I’m not sure.”
More days passed by and there was no murder so far. I was still having those nightmares where I saw what the serial killer sees. And each time I woke up, I contributed more to the investigation, sometimes stating info that wasn’t released to the public. I started growing anxious soon. My wife nook notice.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
“I’m fine,” I replied.
A butterfly flew inside our house catching our attention. I caught it by the wings and stared at it. “Are you sure that you’re alright?” I ignored her. “Put it down,” I heard her say. But, I continued to be fascinated by the creature. “Snap out of it!” she slapped me and I dropped the butterfly, breaking its wing. I was suddenly overwhelmed with anger. I grabbed her by the neck. A few objects fell during the struggle creating a ruckus. The police busted into our room and fired a stun gun at me. “What’s going on?” I heard her cry as I fainted.
All the evidence pointed at me. Fingerprints, DNA samples, everything. The police even found a frozen butterfly in my fridge.
“Tell us everything,” the interrogator ordered.
I confessed that the novel I wrote was based on a series of nightmares I had for quite a while now, even before I got married. Initially, it started with just plain old massacres. But, each time it repeated, new elements were added, giving it more complexity which later inspired me to write my novel. I was hesitant to publish it. The idea was always in mind, but it was only until desperation came that I decided to release it.
When asked about the series of murders that I supposedly committed, I replied that I only remember them as dreams. The interrogator pointed out that the fictional character I wrote dreams of having a normal family. A loving wife and a child was all he wanted.
Interrogation ended and eventually, I had to wait for my sentence. The ordeal was growing too much for me. The most painful thought was that of leaving my wife behind. She was expected to give birth this month and I may miss it.
Reality begins to blur as I try to block out the pain. As they take me away, I can not help but reflect on my identity. Am I the writer who dreamt about being a serial killer? Or am I the serial killer who dreamt of being a writer?