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The Secrets of Singapore Valley

p. 6 of 10

          “Maybe I was always a little too enchanted with the path of darkness. I never considered myself a freak, though. I am needed in the world, and that’s why I was born this way.

          “I was drawn to it, but it was also calling me.  And there was never a time I couldn’t hear.

          “When you’re a kid and certain kinds of pictures are sticking in your mind, you want to get away to just be alone with them in your imagination, and have the time to really think. Turn those pictures over.

          “And I can remember being nine, ten, eleven, and riding my bike out to Bear Road or—or there was a bridge near downtown I liked to go under, too, next to the river—nowadays, it’s not too clean, but back then you barely saw any bums.  I’d walk down there,  or some other place,  like the strip off Bear Road where you feel like you’re really in the woods—I had places like that,  where I went to be alone.

          “I’d be walking along by myself and imagining certain early versions of my fantasies.  I would be alone,  and I’d be thinking about having a girl tied up.  Not even to do anything so much as just to have her there.

          “And I would fill every detail of it in in my imagination.  Like how I would smell her skin.  And the fear in her eyes, and her straining and pulling away when I was sniffing her—I would imagine that part over and over.

          “I liked to be alone on some day when the weather was fine, and I could almost forget about anyone else existing in the world, and just think and be free.

          “One day I was walking under the bridge,  going over some story in my head, and suddenly a couple older kids were walking past me.  I didn’t notice them until they were there.  So real quick, I wiped whatever look was on my face, and they just ignored me and kept going.  But later, after I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking how I just got lucky that they weren’t more curious.  Because if they had looked at me before I noticed them, they might have seen a look on my face I wouldn’t want them to see.  So after that,  I started getting a lot more vigilant about always watching my environment.

          “And being prepared to be seen—always having the right look on my face.  So starting when I was 11 or 12,  when I went on my walks,  I’d be dreaming my dreams and filling in new details—but at the same time,  I’d be practicing not looking weird or standing out. 

          “So that was when I first started to feel like I had a secret identity,  and also when having secrets started making me happy. 

          “But only a little was secret at first—because back then, there wasn’t much to be secret about.  I mean, there wasn’t really anything to hide yet. No one knew what I was thinking.  And I hadn’t done anything.

          “But I always had a dungeon.  Back then, it was just a place in my mind, but it was still there.  It was my place.

          “I’d want to get there all the time, and just be alone.  But eventually, I’d be in my imaginary dungeon and I’d want to cross a line with someone I was holding there.  Cross a line between teasing and playing,  and then really starting to put some stress on the body.  And see the reaction when the fear is really starting.

          “But I couldn’t quite picture how you did it.  So I started going online and doing research.  Learning how you actually saw through bone, for example.  And I realized that, as they say, in dreams begin responsibilities.

          “Because by that time I knew I wanted to kill people.  And suddenly I was confronted with what it would actually be like.  To torture people to death, with no one’s help, and keep it hidden.  The amount of preparation it would take.

          “Pierce called the part that came next the Predatory Program. I always just thought of it as downloading.

          “And on the one hand,  downloading was just a phase in the middle of a longer process.  But it was the hard part.  It was when I made myself colder and colder,  watching things over and over. Videos. The worst videos.  I would watch them until something that I barely could stand at first didn’t even phase me.  Because I forced myself to understand something:  in the end, people are skin and hair and teeth,  and screaming is a sound.

          “I went deeper and deeper into the cave of myself, and I kept getting closer to my real dungeon.  And one day I called out to the dark helper and a power came to me.  It came from outside of me—or maybe it came from inside of me, I don’t know.  But something new was with me that made me stronger and deeper than I had ever been before.  It gave me a new gravity and an understanding.  Later I let it show,  sometimes,  and with it shining out of my eyes, I could lure them and catch them in the palm of my hand.  And then walk down the street without anyone looking at me twice.

          “It was the hard-won prize of my downloading. Pierce always wanted to talk about downloading—or as he called it, the Predatory Program—because he thought what made ‘predators’ exceptions was how we chose to rewire ourselves.

          “He was right in a way.  I had to steel myself to go through some of the downloading—sometimes I got so disgusted at a video, I got nauseated,  and I would make myself keep going back to it and go through the nausea.

          “But the thing is, I already knew who I wanted to become.  And I already knew I loved being secret and hiding my secrets.  So I didn’t download just because I was choosing to.  It was a compulsion.  It felt irresistible.

          “Except that the way Pierce kept saying that predators rewire themselves made me start thinking again.  And eventually, I decided his way of seeing it was right.  I had chosen to download, and finish what I started.

          “But he still didn’t get why.

          “And why was because it was my vocation.  And that wasn’t a choice.  I needed to take them and see them scared and get really close to that and push it and see it cross the first border.  And then go past there, through all the next stages of fear and struggle—each one a little at a time,  to really savor it.  And caress her.  Until finally you get to the point where she just gives up.  However long it takes,  and that’s different for each one,  you get to the point where you can take her last fight out of her,  while you stare her in the eye.  And you put out the spark and let her know it while you’re winning.  Just looking right at her.

          “Because in the end,  if you want to own her spirit so it can never be reversed, you have to finish it.  Fully. There is no other way.

          “So downloading was just a step in my overall progression. But it was the hard part. Pierce thought he did it, too, but who knows if he really did—he never killed anyone. Because you could have some basic curiosity about killing people, and you could think you could do it without it bothering you much.  But if you never actually got yourself ready,  you would never actually become that person. 

          “It takes a lot for it to happen.  For me, even after I got myself ready,  life still had to open a path.  Perhaps I never would have become the Singapore Valley Slayer if things had worked out with Nancy.

          “Nancy was my fiancé for a time when I was twenty-three.  I believed we were to be man and wife.  But before the wedding she rejected me, and all my real changes followed that.  I had already been preparing,  but everything really changed when she rejected me. 

          “Back then, I had a red Silverado.  Well,  the night she told me we were never to be,  I packed my whole life up in boxes and threw all the boxes in the bed of the truck, and just got on the road and started driving.  I’m from the SingVal, and up till then I had never lived anywhere else.  But that night, I just had to go.

          “I was driving south to 190.  Bear Road used to be a lot wilder—back then,  there were strips of forest where you’d hear coyotes howling and weird rustlings across the needles and leaves.  Well, that night I was feeling pretty wild myself.  And I wasn’t scared of any coyote.  I could take it.

          “So I pulled over on the shoulder,  somewhere that had no lights.  I got out of the truck and walked into the forest.  It was cold, but I didn’t put my jacket on. I wanted it cold.

          “I went along for a while, but I didn’t come across any coyote and I never felt one watching me.  So I just leaned against a tree and smoked a cigarette,  and then I started walking back to the truck.  And just as I got there,  I saw a UFO.

          “Only time I ever did,  but I guess everyone does at some point. 

          “It was low.  And it was right by my truck when I came out of the woods, just hovering there—silent,  glowing.

          “It was taking up most of the space between the shoulder I was standing on and the strip of forest on the other side.  It was round and it had a dome.  And no, I didn’t see any aliens in it.  But I loved it, I thought it was great.  So I just leaned back against a tree and smoked another cigarette and watched it there,  until a car’s headlights showed up on the trees at the bend in the road.

          “And then it did this move sideways”—Grisby illustrated with his flattened right hand—“and up—and sideways—and then it tilted, kind of forty-five degrees,  and it shot off diagonally into the sky,  and—that was it. It was gone.”

          “Did you ever tell Pierce about it?”

          “Oh God no—he was a nut on the subject. That was not an interest we shared, and I was not interested in getting him started on—I mean, I’m not some—everyone sees them once in a while,  but we all know there’s no such thing. That wasn’t even the most interesting thing that happened that night! 

          “I got back in the Silverado and drove till I was halfway ’cross Nevada.  I found a town to live in,  and I got a place to stay,  and a job and even a little girl to take to the movies.

          “And I only lived there a year-and-a-half,  but when I came back to Singapore Valley,  I was a new man.”

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The Secrets of Singapore Valley

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