- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
The Serial Killer
- 18 Aug - 24 Aug, 2018
These were the last words of Dr H.H. Holmes who was one of the first American serial killers. He confessed to 27 murders, some of which were from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. He was executed on May 7, 1896.
I woke up with a start, with darkness all around me. How long had I been unconscious? I had no idea of time and space. I felt completely disillusioned by my surroundings and I was fuzzy on the details of how I got there.
The last thing I remember was leaving work and getting into a cab. No, wait. As I was about to climb into the car someone had pushed me from behind and pinned me to the ground. They then covered my mouth with a rag which smelt of what I now know must have been chloroform. After that I went blank. I vaguely remember being lifted and thrown into the trunk of a car before passing out. The chloroform must have knocked me out completely and here I was.
I felt myself to check for any injuries. I seemed intact, my clothes not torn or ripped. That was a relief.
I fumbled on the ground searching for my bags but found nothing but dirt and grime. It was no use looking. There was nothing here. My head hurt. I had a dangerously big bump at the back. Either I was hit point blank or maybe while shoving me into the trunk, the perpetrator must have hit me hard.
I sat up against the wall trying to assess the situation.
I was kidnapped. There was no denying this. As this reality hit in, I began to cry. I started weeping in short, silent gasps and felt my eyes puff up and my nose run. I was here alone, at the mercy of a psychopathic criminal and I could die. He might torture me and finally kill me. This is it. I didn’t think my life would be over like this. I would never see my family again. Never be with my parents, never sit and chat with them. Never hold my kids or tell them I loved them. These thoughts made me cry even more and finally exhausted I fell into a semi-conscious stupor.
As I came through several hours later, I felt slightly better as one does after a catharsis of tears and emotional draining. But I was still here in the dark. This wasn’t a bad dream, it was a living nightmare.
I wondered. Think Fizza, think! You’ve seen too many episodes of Criminal Minds and Law
and Order SVU! Will all that knowledge go to waste? Think. You can get out of this alive! Yes! I had to survive. I couldn’t let this psycho person kill me. Not now. Not after having survived so much. This is not my end. I will survive.
I kept on repeating the last line like a mantra. At that moment, I completely relaxed myself. I sat cross-legged, as if doing yoga and prayed. I raised my hands to make a prayer, a silent and frenzied one for help and guidance and I asked Allah to protect me, to keep me unharmed and untouched and, for me to return to my family safely. I prayed that this ordeal would be over soon and I would return to my loved ones. After which I recited as many verses I knew from the Holy Quran and blessed myself and my surroundings.
Once this ritual was over, I began to think hard and deep of how I would escape.
The room had no apparent windows and it only had one door which was obviously bound from the outside. I could not see any light from underneath which meant I was either in a room deep inside a section of the house or it was tightly shut, not allowing any sound or light to penetrate. I knew it was sound-proof because I couldn’t hear any sounds from the outside. Not even traffic.
No sense in crying out for help and wasting my energy. Where was this monster? I needed a visual to further know what I was up against.
I started profiling the perp. He had taken me from a busy street with many bystanders around me and many witnesses. This showed that he was very comfortable in this location and was very daring. I was definitely not his first victim. There must have been others, that’s why he was so confident. However, after having nabbed me, he had driven to this hiding spot just as conveniently. Didn’t anyone follow him? Didn’t anyone raise an alarm? I had to keep reminding myself that this was Pakistan, not the movie set of a cop and robber film. I’m sure people saw the entire scenario but few would have bothered, few would have waited to tell the police what had happened. I was pretty sure that the cabbie who I had booked would have driven away just as fast. Living in a country where the police do more harm than good, I hardly blamed anyone for walking away.
It would have been many hours before my family would even realise I was missing. They would try and reach me after evening prayers and when I didn’t answer they would think I was in traffic, or my phone battery was dead or even other scenarios would crop up before someone wiser.
And by that time the crime scene would be flooded by other people and all the ones who saw me being dragged off would be in their homes enjoying their evening meals while watching senseless dramas and political talk shows on their blaring television sets.
It all lay on me. I had to keep my mind straight. I had to do a number of things if I wanted to get through alive.
I would have to keep my energy by praying regularly and exercising. I would eat any of the garbage that the perp would feed me because that would be my only source of nourishment. I would have to try and figure out the motive behind my abduction. There could be a number of reasons. The first and obvious was ransom; the next was the possibility of being sold off at the deep end. I ruled this one out because I wasn’t a big catch in the market of human trafficking. I was in my late 40s and too old. Ironically, old age has its benefits.
The third and more gruesome possibility was that I was kidnapped by a serial killer. If this was the case, I would be dealing with a sadist. This person lives and breathes on the pain of his victims. I would be subjected to intense torture before I being killed. Death would be a blessing, a mercy that I would gladly receive.
If this was the case then I would have to try and escape as soon as possible while I still had my wits about me and my energy. But I could only be sure once this perp came before me.’
I had had my fair share of psychos in life, I thought. My ex-husband had been one. He was a bully; a narcissistic sociopath who cared only for his own pleasure, his own agendas in life. I had suffered constantly at his hands for 10 years of marriage and had survived his temper tantrums, his rage, his abuse and his torture. I closed my eyes reliving the pain. If I could survive, that I will survive this.
I will be in the loving arms of my children and my parents. I will come out of this alive.
Tears dampened my cheeks as I thought of the beautiful faces of my family. I missed my home.
I eventually felt sleepy. Exhausted, I closed my eyes and dozed off.
I woke up in pain. The floor was hard and uncomfortable and now my whole body hurt. It could be the after-effects of the chloroform, but there was no way to know for sure. Suffice to say that I felt more drained and tired waking up than I had felt before. I dragged myself to my feet and did some warm up jogs. Dehydrated and fatigued from lack of nourishment, I continued to push myself. I prayed again to Allah; asking, begging Him to deliver me safely to my family. I missed them all too much. How worried would they be? It pained me to realise how worried they would be.
My mind began playing tricks on me. I could hear their voices. I could smell the delicious food that my mom cooks. I missed them all so much. But I couldn’t give way to self-pity. I had to keep my spirit strong, believing that I would soon rejoin them.
And where was this mystery perp? Why hadn’t he shown his ugly head?
I began making a profile. He probably had a job. I was taken on Friday. It was Saturday now or maybe even Sunday morning. If he hadn’t shown till now meant he had a family. He would show up on Monday. The working day. Yes, and I was the bait. I was the hunt. He would start working on me.
I shuddered in fear and panic.
But then I relaxed myself. Don’t show him your fear. Keep your chin up. Bait him to keep you alive and unharmed for as long as possible. I tried running through all the scenes that I so attentively watched on my favourite shows. I tried to rehearse my approach when the perp showed up and clearly told me his intent.
I exercised, prayed and fell asleep; again too exhausted and dehydrated to go on.
I didn’t hear the door bolt pull away.
Light fell on my face from a torch. I couldn’t open my eyes to the glare. Being in the dark for almost three days or more, somewhat blinded me. I couldn’t see his face. I could only hear his voice.
“I know who you are. I’ve been stalking you for a while.”
My mind quickly went into action.
Hoarse voice, he’s in his late 30s. He stalked me. Definitely a serial killer. Sharp, pronounced enunciation of words. He’s educated, too.
My worst nightmare was coming true. I feared that what I had to deal with was not your average run-of-the-mill killer, but one who carefully calculated nabbing his victims, torturing them and killing them all for his sadistic pleasure and narcissism.
“What’s wrong? Have you lost your voice? You’re pretty vocal on the social media.”
He must have stalked me for a while to make that remark.
Irritating him would not do, so I replied, “I’m listening.”
Keep the power in your hands for as long as possible. Don’t show him your fear. Don’t give into his tactics of inciting fear in you.
“Hmmm. I’m going to drag you out of this room. There’s a washroom at the end of the long passage. You’ll find soap and clean towels there. You can freshen up and then I’ll give you food to eat. If you try to shout or struggle I’ll kill you in an instant. Do you understand?”
I was reminded of my ex-husband’s threats. I’ll divorce you if… if… if… every ounce of my being felt like kicking this man in the face and wherever it hurt and, make a run for it. But I needed to eat and meet the humanly demands of my frail body. I needed to build up my strength. I knew he would not harm me till I was stronger. He enjoyed this. Kicking down a weak person would not give him the pleasure he would get killing a strong one. He would let me be for at least another day, feed me and take care of me.
I quickly replied, “Yes.” I kept my voice as monotone and unaffected as I could.
“Good. You’re a fast learner. I had imagined you would be feisty. I’m going to enjoy breaking your spirit though. Don’t think of me as a friend.” He began to laugh.
He wanted to keep the power on his side by telling me all this. I paused at the mention of the word friend. Was he a friend on my social network? Was he someone I knew?
But even if I did I had to keep mum about it.
He came forward. I finally got a look at his face. He didn’t even try and hide himself. I didn’t know him, but I was sure that he was familiar. Maybe I had met him somewhere.
I was a little disappointed that he had made no effort to hide his face. This meant that he definitely wanted to kill me after the cat and mouse show was over. There was no risk of discovery with me dead. No reason to hide his face from me.
He pulled me on my feet with considerable force, completely unnecessary as I had very little energy to resist. But he was being rough on purpose. He wanted to show his power. Before I could gain my balance he began pulling me out of the room and along the passage till we reached the bathroom.
He let me close the door. The door didn’t have a lock.
There was no mirror but the bathroom was immaculately clean. I washed my hands really well. I needed all these privileges if I had any chance of survival. I needed the emotional strength that I got from them.
I tidied myself up before I stepped out.
He was standing right outside the door and he practically pushed me back into the room and bolted it shut.
to be continued...