Inspired by the serial killer magazines my mother used to leave lying around the house when I was growing up and a hardcore rock band from Hull my nephew was in, Gruesome Scenes was a chapter in The First of Nine that didn’t make the final cut due to its graphic nature. Here it is preserved for posterity…
Irene took a magazine from a stack on the side board. The title read Gruesome Scenes. ‘I don’t know how you can read these,’ she said, flicking through the magazine.
‘I used to read them when I couldn’t sleep,’ Wendy said. ‘But I don’t have the stomach for them anymore. I’m going to take them down the charity shop on Bishopthorpe Road… Been having a clear out.’
‘The Deep Fat Frier,’ Irene read.
‘Oh, that’s a good one. He was the one that smothered his wife in her sleep,’ Wendy said.
Bill chopped up her body into small parts and started to feed them to his dog. However, the dog turned up its nose at the chunks of raw human flesh, having previously only ever eaten processed dog food. The dismembered body parts were left rotting in the yard. Realising that the fleshy morsels would begin to attract unwanted attention and flies, he took out his deep fryer and fried them.
While they were cooking the dog began to take an interest, drooling onto the kitchen linoleum. The husband put two bits of deep fried arm in the dogs bowl, and within five minutes the bowl had been licked clean. For the next week the dog devoured his former mistress, though it never made the connection.
What the dog wouldn’t eat, Bill put beneath the floor boards. However, he was not a carpenter by trade, and when the police came round, at the request of her sister, a bouncy floorboard gave him away.
‘Sounds absolutely gruesome,’ Irene said. ‘Can I borrow it?’
‘Of course,’ Wendy said, picking out another magazine. ‘But this one here’s my favourite.’
‘Bonfire Jack,’ Irene read, taking the magazine from Wendy.
The local girls never took to Jack. ‘There was something odd about him, they would later say,’ Irene read.
So Jack imported a wife from Thailand. However, she overdid his steak one day (‘Do you not understand what medium rare means?’) and so he strangled her, doused her with petrol and put her on the bonfire at the bottom of his garden.
Jack soon became tired of being by himself, having now experienced the love of a woman. So he ordered another Thai wife. His neighbours never even noticed the difference.
This one fared better. She lasted a few months. But then one day she scorched a hole in one of Jack’s shirts, having being distracted by the Australian soap opera she had started to watch in the late afternoons. Jack strangled her and added her to his bonfire.
The third wife was untidy and within a week was on the bonfire, smouldering away with the other two. He considered asking for his money back over that one.
Jack would have ordered a fourth had a neighbour not complained to the council about the smoke. It was ruining her washing, she’d said. The Environmental Health Officer was confronted by the charred corpses when he paid an unannounced visit one morning while Jack was out at work.
‘I’ll take that one too,’ Irene said.
‘The Mexborough Chainsaw Mass Killer,’ Wendy said, pushing another magazine onto Irene.
The peaceful South Yorkshire town of Mexborough was infamous for fifteen minutes in the 1980s following a killing spree in the town centre. Archibald Templeton, a diagnosed schizophrenic in his mid-thirties, bought a chainsaw, filled it with petrol and headed into town. He first called in at the post office on Main Street, where he butchered twenty people, mainly pensioners. Once he had finished at the post office, the inside of which could only be described as a blood bath, he headed past Teddys Amusements, through the pedestrianised centre, where he cut up any person not fast enough to get out of his way. Body parts lay scattered where they fell.
The killing spree was brought to a dramatic end in front of The Boy and Barrel when Archibald took the chainsaw to his own head.
The street where Archie put an end to his sad life is now named Hope Street, and the town’s Heritage Society have done their utmost to remove all traces of the massacre from the history books.
‘I was wondering why I’d not heard of that one,’ Irene said.
‘There’s the festive special here,’ Wendy said, waving another magazine at Irene.
‘The Santa Claus Killer,’ Irene read, taking a sharp intake of breath. ‘No… I’ll just take these for now.’