Jasper by Jeremiah Donaldson
All rights reserved. No part of this weird tale may be used for your monetary gain, but feel free to quote for reviews. Locations are based on places that I could drive to in ten minutes. I'm pretty sure that Donald Harvey is the only serial killer who has been active in this town, but he killed for 17 years and was found out in another state.¹
Table of Contents
This short story is a combination of a story that was called 'Tagged' and a character named 'Jasper' that was pulled from another project.
'Tagged' was written several years ago and is a semi-autobiographical story based on six years I spent as a delivery driver. Everything in it, except the beat downs with an iron bar and the chase, happened either to me or others I knew multiple times with only slight variations between events. It sat on the back burner until I got the idea for this project.
Jasper is an extra character that I removed from a work in progress called 'The Hunt', which starts from the end of 'The Pendant' in my collection '...whatever...'. He is a product of reading/watching messed up news and documentaries about serial killers. Besides the fact that he was out of place in 'The Hunt', he's a fucker to write. Fuck you, Jasper. I'm sorry if you're reading this and your name is 'Jasper'. I had to call him something. And that I made it the title. Oops.
Now that you've stopped reading, or don't know what the hell you're reading, thanks for reading. Peace out until next time.
Kint turned from the touch screen in time to hear Betty, the manager, yell for him to hurry and clock in. Luckily, he'd already planned on stealing a few extra minutes. He threw the time slip in the trash.
He looked around. The floors needed swept and all garbage cans were full. The smell of steaks filled the air along with the sizzle of meat and fryers. The din nearly drowned out the David Bowie song on the only decent radio station they were allowed to play. Three deliveries and two pickup orders hung in their respective places. Dirty pans had piled up on the cooks’ push cart. Either the other drivers had been too busy to do them or were being lazy. He gathered the plastic pans and took them to the washer.
Eric pushed a rack of dirty dishes into the washer as clean ones inched out the other end. “Is it raining?”
“Not yet, but it's cloudy.”
Eric spoke up to be heard over the washer that had started on the new load. “Thunderstorms are moving in from the west.”
Kint nodded. “Then we’ll make some money.”
“We'd make more if someone got sent home.” Eric eyed a new driver suspiciously. He used every reason possible to get managers to send drivers home.
Kint pointed to the bag that a teenage worker had stapled a delivery slip to. “You’re up.”
Eric went to log his delivery.
Kint continued with the dishes and waited for his turn to leave the building.
The next two deliveries made it to the shelf at the same time. A quick glance verified that he could take both. The order taker hung up another receipt as he made his way to the door and two more lines rang. It'd be a busy night.
Bruised clouds had extinguished the afternoon sun since his arrival, cooling the air. A napkin fluttered across the parking lot on the breeze that smelt of rain. Stray drops peppered him by the time he reached his car: a beat up Toyota that he called the ‘money maker‘. He ground gears when he turned around and had to wait while traffic blocked his departure for a couple minutes. He used the time to change CD‘s. Heavy metal music accompanied by rap lyrics prepped him for the first run of the day.
He pulled out behind a tractor trailer, nosing close as possible so that no one could cut him off.
It worked for the first mile.
A gray Bronco with tinted windows appeared in Kint's driver side mirror. It cruised past the hundred yards of clear road behind him and slammed on the brakes, almost hitting the slower car ahead of it. The driver swerved back and forth in his lane. They rode the center line for a second before the wheels crossed it.
Kint glanced at the vehicle. He couldn't see anything but the top of the driver's head since his car sat so low. They probably couldn't see him. Or anyone else. He beeped the horn.
The Bronco swerved to the far side of its lane and rode the line there.
“Fucking idiot.” He cranked the music louder. Typical Friday night.
The Bronco edged his way again when they approached the next green light, crossing the white line. It was spitting distance behind the car in front of it and three feet from Kint's mirror.
He laid on the horn.
It moved to within inches of his car. He could've reached out and touched the side of it.
Kint touched the brake at the last moment before metal to metal contact. The hitch barely missed him as the Bronco continued into the turn lane on the right.
Water had gathered in a dip in the pavement ahead of Kint, and he let up on the gas to keep from hydroplaning. His tires sent a wave of water and road grim into the windshield of the Bronco. The driver slowed and dropped out of Kint's mirrors.
He reached his first stop without further incident and ran up six flights of stairs to the third floor of the hotel. The scruffy man in the room didn’t tip, but Kint wasn't surprised since the room looked like a temporary meth lab.
Jasper giggled before he could contain himself. His hunt had gone easily for the most part, but the brunette in the car ahead of the tractor trailer had suddenly turned her right signal on.
A car ahead of him held a steady speed just at the limit, and a car to his right had a delivery sign on the top and a tractor trailer in front of him. He panicked and almost rammed delivery driver before he simply forced him to move or be hit. He’d normally have screamed obscenities at the driver after the spray of water hit his windshield, but not today. Happiness kept his mind on other things. He calmly tapped the brake and turned on the wipers.
He'd tracked the woman since he'd seen her pushing groceries through a parking lot an hour before. She'd visited the tanning bed and bank since. He pulled into the parking lot across from the pharmacy she'd gone into.
He’d fought the urge to find a new victim for less than a week before he'd gave in. A new downward slide that he didn't care about. Masturbation did nothing to make the fantasies fade. Instead, they made it worse. He jerked off each day until his dick was friction blistered and he couldn’t ejaculate. Fondling a trophy only helped for so long. A new friend was always needed to keep him busy, but they only endured so long.
The thought reminded him of the corpses in his meat freezer that awaited disposal. He'd already dumped 16 bodies into Laurel Lake with cinder blocks tied to them.
Things had progressed quickly once he'd given in to the urge.
The third time, you start to get cocky, so you gotta be careful.²
The line floated up from something he'd watched years before. He was lucky that his cockiness hadn’t gotten him in trouble already. His recent increase in body count meant that he couldn’t pick up hookers in Lexington like he’d done. He didn't have the gas money for so many long trips, and the abductions had gotten closer and closer to home.
He hoped this one would last for a while, but he brutalized each worse than the one before. He'd be lucky if this one lasted a couple nights.
Jasper smoked two cigarettes down to the filter before the woman exited the building. He waited until she was at the light to turn back onto 192 before he pulled up two cars behind her. The rain had increased with the Friday afternoon traffic. Everyone had their lights on because of the premature dusk created by the storm. He kept space ahead of him in case she made a sudden turn, but she went over Interstate 75 and out of town.
They traveled for several miles before the woman turned beside a garage with a semi parked next to it without using her signal, catching Jasper by surprise. She pulled ahead and got out of his sight on the curvy road.
He caught up and hung two car lengths from her rear bumper. The woman didn't slow as she passed turns to housing developments on the left. They drove past fields on both sides with few houses until the road abruptly curved and sloped down.
A rock cliff was on his left. Ahead, was a 180 degree turn with a rock overhang. The woman slowed until Jasper worried that she knew he'd followed her, and he backed off. They went around the sharp turn a few seconds apart.
The grade increased past the curve, and the road straightened. A bridge came into view at the bottom of the hill. A perfect place to wreck.
He stomped the gas and rammed the car in the left side of the bumper. The woman lost control and slammed into the bridge head-on, bringing the car to an instant halt. He stopped a dozen yards past her, grabbed his pepper spray, and ran to the car.
The hysterical woman was struggling with the airbag when he reached her door and punched the glass. It shattered, but he’d feel the blow later, even with the leather gloves over his knuckles. He fired a long burst of pepper spray into the car that sent the woman into an uncontrollable coughing fit. She fought her way from the car. He didn't have to pull her out.
She tripped and fell to the pavement, interrupting her screams and curses. Jasper blindsided her in the jaw and knocked her out when she tried to stand.
A sense of exposure made the hair on Jasper’s neck stand up as he crouched and pulled the limp woman onto his shoulder. He shoved the woman into the back of the Bronco and climbed in to tape her wrists and ankles together. One last piece of duct tape kept her from screaming when she woke up. He threw a tarp over her.
His heart raced as he shut the rear window and skipped to the driver’s door. It didn't slow until he was a mile down the road.
He took the long way back to town. The twisty, secondary road was always void of patrol cars, but a red light stopped him on Main Street, letting a cop get on his tail.
Jasper wiped sweat from his forehead. His passenger hadn’t woke, and the Bronco was legal except for the dark tinted windows that were generally ignored.
Blue lights flared in his mirrors.
Jasper flipped on his turn signal, but the cop car roared around him and disappeared in a chaos of lights as it disrupted the flow of traffic. He stuck his middle finger in the air, trying to keep his hand from shaking.
Soon after, he reached his street less than a mile from the State Police post. He cruised to the end and parked in front of his house at the edge of the gravel cul-de-sac.
The house had seen a better decade. Crooked railings and holes in the porch foretold of the greater damage inside. Most people wouldn’t consider it livable, but he liked the full basement where he could play in private.
He unlocked the door and turned on a light before he carried her in. The rickety stairs to the basement required him to curb his eagerness to keep from falling. He checked the layers of tape that secured her, pushed her into a heavy gauge dog pen, and snapped on a padlock.
She wouldn't go anywhere while he had a drink to prepare for playtime.
Kint's second stop looked familiar, even though the name and house number didn't ring a bell. It took a few trips before the address stuck in his head and more for the name. However, he remembered the Bulldog that'd nipped at him last time.
He stood in the rain with the car door open, looking for the dog. The plethora of broken appliances and garbage gave it plenty of hiding places. Satisfied that the coast was clear, he hurried across the muddy yard and to the house that smelled like bodies were buried under the floor. Nothing sounded from inside when he pushed the doorbell. He knocked three times. Faint footsteps indicated that someone had heard him. Still, a minute passed before the door opened.
“How are you doing?” Kint gave the woman his best smile, even though the odor increased exponentially. His stomach rolled.
The overweight, greasy woman grunted and held out a dirty, wrinkled twenty.
Kint gave her two in change. He didn't expect a tip and wasn't disappointed. She shut the door before he could anything else. Not that he cared. It decreased the stench that threatened to bring up his dinner. He made a mental note to trade in the twenty and to disinfect his hands when he returned to the store.
A growl came from the shadows as he reached the bottom of the steps. He looked around and didn’t see the source.
Another growl, rising in volume.
The Bulldog darted from under a chair with a piece of carpet hanging over it. His ears were flat, and his teeth were bared.
The thirty feet to his car seemed like five as he covered the distance with less than half a dozen strides. He skidded around the hood, yanked the door open, and jumped in with nearly a full second to spare. The dog scrambled at the window, biting at the glass, and barked at him until he pulled out of the driveway.
He shivered. The rain had run down the back of his neck, and his steel-toed restaurant shoes were soaked from the mud he'd stomped through.
None of the other drivers were present when he clocked in from the runs. They were either on break or on the road. He grabbed three deliveries that went the same way and ran out the door before his manager could complain that he'd took too many.
Jasper suspected that his mind had slipped. He realized it when he started to carry the corpse out the door in his arms without covering up it first.
The bodies of his friends had been discovered. Two of the four groups, anyway. The story had played over and over on the local news while he'd drank a beer.
An elderly fisherman had knocked his anchor overboard in deep water, and it'd caught on the rope that connected a body and cinder block. He and his son hauled in the object hooked on the anchor rather than cut it free. Then he had a heart attack when the body broke the surface, and the son called 911 for all his problems. Divers had since found eight of the 16 women he'd hauled out there, and the police searched for a gray Blazer or Bronco that'd been seen at the lake without fishing gear.
Jasper was surprised they hadn’t found the others already, and there was little he could do about the color of his vehicle. His mind entertained itself with thoughts of murdering the fisherman and his son while he emptied the meat freezer.
He climbed in the Bronco and buckled his seatbelt. That mistake wouldn't be made again, either. He’d sweated out a ticket one night after being stopped for not wearing it. Only an orange tarp had covered the bodies while the ticket had been written. The same one that covered his current cargo.
Nerves made him pour sweat by the time he reached Main Street. The storm had caused darkness to arrive early. Lights reflected off everything in the rain. A State Patrolman zipped by while he waited to pull out of his street. He almost turned around. Instead, he sucked a full cigarette down before he made the left.
The first light caught him, creating a long line of traffic to his rear. A glint of light in the mirrors mimicked flashing lights and made his heart jump. He lit another cigarette with shaky hands.
Ashes fell into his lap. “Dammit, Jasper.” He brushed them off. “You’ll get found out, acting like this. Keep it together.”
He smoked cigarette after cigarette down to the filter until he was deep in the Daniel Boone Forest. He followed a partially overgrown trail for 50 yards until he found a spot to turn around. He listened to rain patter on the leaves for a minute before he climbed out.
He pulled the bodies out one at a time, dragging them away from his vehicle. Then he saturated them with diesel, lit another cigarette, and threw it on the pile. The flames filled the air with dense smoke and the smell of burned flesh as he climbed into the Bronco to rest his well abused lungs. They wouldn’t handle his smoking habit for much longer. Random pains shot through his chest, and each coughing fit was worse than the one before.
He waited for the flames to die down before he drove away.
¹ Department Of Psychology, Radford University; Elizabeth Sellers; Pannill Hedgecock; Melissa Georges. "Donald Harvey "Angel of Death" (PDF).
² The Kids in the Hall Season 1 Episode 17 “Mass Murderer”