A Tongue Lashing

Prompt Day #24: A serial killer has been removing the tongues of his victims. What does he do with them? Be clever but allow the writing process to generate a motive.

I am leaving today for an Alaskan cruise. I wrote this one early because I’ll be flying today and won’t have a chance to post it. I will be writing daily but the time zones are off, so forgive me if they don’t get posted by 8-9pm (EST). Stephen King, in his book On Writing says he writes every single day; holidays, weekends, and vacations. I’ll never be Stephen King, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to emulate the masters, I’ll continue my daily prompts and maybe through a picture in from the cruise!


 A Thorough Tongue Slashing


The killer stood over the dead man. Blood spilled from the corpses mouth and dripped off the amputated tongue that the killer now held in his hand. He smiled. Another crime that wasn’t really a crime. He would still go to Heaven. He carefully wrapped the tongue in a wet paper towel he’d taken from the bathroom and put it in a Ziploc baggie. This one was thick and meaty, it would probably taste delicious. The money wasn’t much unfortunately but you can’t win ‘em all.

At home, he added the tongue to his pickling jar. He’d tried other methods of preserving the tongues but none worked this well and the smell made him worry. The whole point of taking the tongues was to not get caught so he couldn’t be foolish with them. What he originally had planned was a large bean bag filled with them. He would sleep well knowing all his secrets were safe but it didn’t work out. Luckily he learned that early on and only ended up losing four tongues. Now he had eight in the jar and they would be ready in another week or so. He couldn’t wait. The bed had been a good idea, but ingesting the tongues was even better. The secrets would be kept inside him now, with him at all times. He wished his Dad could be here to see him now, he’d be so proud. He thought about him all the time.

“But Daddy, I don’t want to steal anything. It’s wrong. The police will come get us.”

                “Son, listen, it’s only a crime if you get caught, right? What happens if you do whatever you want and no one sees you? No one can tell and you go on with your life. Look around, all these people do bad things, all of them. But most of them don’t get caught; they keep their secrets and go about their life like normal. We can do anything, Son, anything we want as long as we don’t get caught. It’s the most freeing way to live once you realize that.”

                “But God knows; He sees everything, Daddy. I don’t want to go to Hell.”

                “Son, these are man’s laws, not God’s. Even the bible was written by a man. We don’t know what God really wants. Like I said, He knows humans are basically bad, that we do bad things, but he loves us and forgives us. It’s ok. You just can’t get caught, and you can never ever tell. Not even Mommy. Ok?”

                “Ok, Daddy, if you’re sure.”

                “Well, why don’t we give it a try, and see how you feel. If you get enough money, we can get some ice cream on the way home!”

That’s how it started, petty burglary. He would shimmy in the windows and steal whatever he could and shimmy back out. They were a great team until he grew and no longer fit. That’s the first time they had to kill. His father taught him to use a hunting knife to slit throats. They practiced on prostitutes until the cops started using the word serial killer. After that they went back to breaking and entering, at night, and if anyone woke up and saw them, that was too bad for them and their entire family. His Dad taught him to be careful of fingerprints and “trace evidence” and to keep the police from calling them serial killers, they murdered the witnesses in a variety of ways.

All was well until he brought a friend home from the bar. The guy had been buying him drinks all night and the killer had seen the wad of cash in the guy’s wallet. He knew what the man wanted from him and he was ok with that, it wasn’t a sin if no one saw, if no one told and he knew the man would never tell. So he brought him home and they enjoyed a tryst in his room. The killer shot him. He was going through the man’s wallet when his mother walked in and screamed. He had no choice, she was now a witness. Before he could think of anything else, he shot her too. Everything had gone to Hell. He’d fucked up and soon, his father would be back and he would see. He knew what he would have to do. He waited for his father and when he walked in, the killer grabbed him from behind and slit his throat.

He stood over his father, his mentor, watching the life drain from the wound in his neck and he cried. This was not supposed to happen. He and his father were a team. But he had to follow his father’s advice, his rules for a guilt-free life: Never leave a witness. No one could tell. His father would have easily forgiven the death of the bar-victim (as long as he never found out about what he and the man had done) but not what he’d done to his mother. In fact, it was likely that his father would have killed him for what he’d done. Now he was the only witness. This gave him an idea. He took his treasured hunting knife and after downing a few shots of courage from a bottle of Jack, he cut out his own tongue. Now he could never tell. The only witness to this crime was out of the picture. He put a few more gashes on himself, put the knife in his friend’s hand and dialed 911.

Since he couldn’t speak, the police worked out a way to pin it on the friend (who would cut his own tongue out after all?) and he eventually healed up. The feeding tube was a bit of a nuisance but he’d learned to live with it. And because there was no one to tell, he eventually forgot about the incident and just remembered only that his father was dead. He liked the idea that with the tongue removed, even after death, they couldn’t tell. Heaven was still a possibility if no one could even tell God what he’d done. But tongues don’t keep well. So he could never have them wrapped around him like the arms of his parents, but he could blend them up and put them into his feeding tube thus keeping them with him forever. He was the perfect secret keeper. He could do anything he wanted.