The excerpt below reveals the affinity our main character Emory Hughes feels for notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer around the time of his arrest in July of 1991.
Just before he got to the Grand Avenue subway and the smelly stairs that would take him down to its subterranean world, he came across one of those squat boxes from which one could purchase a newspaper. The blue box was dedicated to the Chicago Sun-Times and the picture on the front page made him stop, suck in a breath. He looked around a little before stooping down to look at the paper behind the Plexiglass window.
There he was, once again, Jeffrey Dahmer. He’d been lifted from obscurity, from the darkness of his private deeds, to national headlines. He looked so—what? Deer caught in the headlights? Nonplussed? Afraid? No, not afraid, just maybe, well, resigned.
He had to have known this fate was coming. He couldn’t have expected to go forever without being caught.
He gleaned a few more details—how Dahmer had a fifty-seven-gallon drum for bones from the bodies he cut up, how he’d sprayed skulls he kept on an altar gray to make them look like plastic replicas, even how he’d admitted to frying up and eating the bicep of one of his victim’s—before standing up and wiping his hand on his pants.
He groped in his pockets for change, but had none.
He walked away, thinking he’d read enough anyway. No one was watching him standing there, absorbed by the article. He glanced around to make sure of it.
Down the damp concrete stairs and into the subway he went. A phalanx of commuters, a mix of races, ages, and sexes filled the platform. It must have been a long time since the last train had rolled into the
station. Emory leaned against a tile wall, trying not to breathe in the musty air, but grateful for the mildewed chill being underground provided.
Or was he feeling a chill because of what he’d just read? He shook his head. Leave it to the media to play up the most horrific details, to call Dahmer the Milwaukee Monster, to revel in the salaciousness of it all.
He pushed the thoughts out of his head and forced himself to move from the security of the tiled wall to the edge of the platform, where he could peer into the blackness of the empty tunnel to look for any sign of an imminent train. He looked down as movement caught his eye—a rat scurrying along the tracks.
He hoped it wouldn’t be electrocuted by the third rail. He watched as it progressed into the tunnel, the shadows swallowing him up.
He felt more than heard the rumble of the oncoming train. Because of the number of people already waiting, he knew he’d be crammed inside a car, body-to-body, with a bunch of sweaty strangers. There’d be no seat for him. He’d be lucky if he even was able to squeeze into the open doors.
The prospect made him feel a little sick to his stomach.