Inspiration to write about murder can come from anywhere.
It can come from a leaf falling to the earth, a child’s first tear, or simple, unbridled hatred.
Although the former are somewhat unexpected muses, when it comes to writing fiction, it’s not impossible to exercise clever literary acrobatics to link the three and come up with a strong, compelling narrative. (Think The Butterfly Effect.)
Psychological thrillers often lean towards the emotional shadows of humans, revealing the seedier sides of life so you and I can take a peek into a wonderful darkness we rarely get to see or experience.
Who commits a murder anyway?
It could be me… or you.
That tattooed guy in the torn leather jacket with a scar on his face is an obvious candidate. Clearly, he’s a villain awaiting jail.
‘He’s the killer officer! Cuff ‘im!’
Ooops! Did we just land in a cliche by tripping over a stereotype?
Granny Maye was also present at the time of the killing but she couldn’t have done it. She’s a sweet old lady who bakes cookies for the homeless. She’s a devout Christian too.
Let me tell you, Christian cookie makers are the worst kind of villains. No one expects a little old lady to be a murderer.
Lock-up that deceiving bitch now!
Tilting fiction away from the predictable is my preferred writing style. Cliches are nice if an author wants to accelerate a storyline – but where’s the challenge in providing readers with the obvious?
Outwardly good people can be inherently bad. Some readers want to see who those people might be and understand why they do what they do.
The guy and his dead wife?
Oh, what? Huh? Did we just change channel?
Yes. Keep up.
It was a baseball bat. Her head was destroyed by a stick of willow.
Blood and skull went everywhere. The news reports used words like ‘viscous’ and ‘cold-blooded’. Every wall and floor in her home wore her bodily fluids.
It appears she got up from the first clubbing. She escaped her attacker but got bludgeoned again. This happened several times until her body couldn’t run any more.
The details to his arrest were cut and dry. He said he’d never been inside her house and that wasn’t true. He’d definitely been inside. The fingerprint on her dining-room’s light-switch was a clear match. He’d lied and everyone knew it.
Our leather clad tattooed villain now has another cliche for a cellmate. It’s called ‘Lying Bastard.’
Jail is the Happy-Ever-After for villains like them, right?
If you agree, it’s time to leave. I don’t write for Disney.
If he wasn’t the wife-beater, then this story becomes a lot more intriguing. There’s a mystery involved. We have a fingerprint in a place where it shouldn’t be, a liar and someone else who knows how to swing a bat.
In the rush to end the perfect crime fairy tale, the police arrested that ‘Lying Bastard’ without hesitation. They gave the public a happy story, became heroes and everyone slept better at night.
It’s a gift cliche with a nice bow on top.
They also failed to arrest a murderer who, I might add, is still at large today.
Fingerprints and lies never look good but having both doesn’t mean he’s a murderer. More work should’ve been done before applying the ‘M’ word to him. Where were the facts to support it?
It didn’t matter. Quick, happy endings satisfy everyone – almost everyone.
The young man was held by the Law system for eighteen months, charged and remained in custody until his trial was over. He was acquitted for, you guessed it, lack of supporting facts.
He was used by the system to please the people. In doing so, both had ruined him.
Although it sounds like poorly written fiction, this particular story is real. Jamie lost his job, his girlfriend, his credibility and future over this travesty.
In short, it came down to that fingerprint and his dumb lie. Although foolish, he lied for a good reason – a stupid one considering what it means now – but it saved him from dealing with his jealous new girlfriend.
She ruled their relationship.
‘Don’t ever go into that bitch’s house,’ she demanded, ‘or it’s fucking over!’
It infuriated her that his prior relationship to that bitch had produced a child. If it were up to her, she’d stop child visitations altogether – but doing that would’ve made her a bigger bitch than the bitch she despised.
‘Pick him up at the front gate. DON’T go inside, EVER!’
He did his best to abide by her wishes but kids will be kids. They don’t play the game properly. Getting one ready to travel can be problematic at the best of times. Sometimes you have to run around for and after them.
It’s not surprising a fingerprint was found.
When the police first questioned him, they did so in front of his lovely but extremely jealous girlfriend.
‘No,’ he replied, ‘I’ve never been inside her home. Never.’
What an asshole. He should’ve gone with the truth and let jealousy deal with it. No partner is worth a lie like that.
The girlfriend listened carefully from the sofa opposite them. There was only one answer for him to speak, hers!
Blood you ask? Baseball bats on human flesh produce spatter.
Oh yeah, they certainly do! A lot of blood sprays outward when a swinging bat splits skin.
You’d think some of that would’ve produced at least one drop on Jamie’s skin, hair, clothes, shoes, or transferred to his car. Nothing was found but police weren’t interested in that. There was a lie at hand.
‘I think I had half a tank of fuel left,’ he replied.
The police’s theory was he slipped out from underneath the sheets without his jealous girlfriend knowing. He used some fuel driving to the victim’s home, spent an hour playing homicidal baseball with her head, cleaned up, drove back and then tucked himself into bed again.
Let’s be frank. As you read this text, you’re a bit shocked, right?
Stay with me. There’s more.
Without looking at your car’s odometer, could you guess what it reads right now? Do you know exactly how much fuel is in your car?
If you were woken by police at four in the morning and asked to know the answers to these two questions, would you get them right? Would your partner’s answers match yours?
What happens if they don’t?
Anyone can commit a murder just like anyone can go to jail.
A collective sigh of relief fell across the city when it saw a cuffed Jamie leaving for jail.
As a writer, it’s very tempting to expose such errors, right this wrong by providing an alternate, accurate story. It’d be a way to let the police know they didn’t do their job… and keep the public informed to the failures behind some crime investigations.
You or I might end up going to jail by mistake, so could our children.
Vindication is a powerful word. It can motivate good and proper change.
Alas, that story is for another type of author.
I’m not a happy-ever-after writer, that is, I don’t pursue ethics and morals in my stories while looking for a virtuous ending. You’re more likely to read evil-meets-evil inside the pages of my novels.
Life has its good cliches but evil’s anarchy exists too. Good doesn’t always save the day. (Vampires and Demons aren’t part of it either.)
I see evil and its crimes from very peculiar angles. Social and Civil Justice isn’t a priority. I pursue fears and write for them instead.
I’m totally fascinated by the public’s obsession with it. There’s so much fear about that I find it easy to create dark fiction. I just let the natural evil around us tell it’s own story. Justice is served but not in the way you’d expect.
Killers don’t always get caught. This is my happy story.
When writing Darkness Awakes, I looked at our strange fascination with fear and the desire to attach happy-ever-afters to everything we do. I wanted to ruin expectation by giving fear an upper-hand.
Fairy tale endings are for pussies.
Jamie’s fear was about going to jail. The ‘Lying Bastard’ paid for the community’s fear by being their perfect murderer for eighteen months.
The police feared the public would lose confidence in their ability to manage crime. Their happy story was to get their man. They paid fear by rushing an investigation to put on an ideal show.
The public feared a murderer was on the loose. Their perfect story was to see someone being removed from society. Fear was paid in full.
Everyone got what they wanted.
Except they didn’t get me. *Wink*
See you in the pages of Darkness Awakes.
“Mike’s writing has you in the room from the outset. You are meeting characters left right and centre and then bang –‘it’ is here. He takes you on a vengeful, aggressive journey…”-Michael M Roleystone. (Reader)
| A Sexless Marriage|
Five Random Victims
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