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Here Lies North
Author: Ava Harrison





To Eric:

See…those endless hours of binging criminal minds paid off.






Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.

~ Socrates






The Compass Killer - 2005


Evil is real.

As real as this cabin and the dirt floor we lie on in the dead of night.

The pungent taste lingers through the air.

I breathe it in. Allow it to filter into my blood.

Pulsing. Making me want to bask in it. Feed on it.

I can feel the wicked in me begging for an outlet.

Which is why I’m here, tucked away where no one would dare search for me.

The moonlight gleams off the blade in my hand, casting a stream of light across the dark room.

A flicker of a candle is all that illuminates the space.

I enjoy the shadows it creates on the aged oak walls.

The ambience relaxes me.

But it’s the body beneath me that brings me serenity. The way her chest rises and falls. Her trembles of fear that thrum through her cells.

It’s a heady aphrodisiac.

I want to bask in the atmosphere her fear incites.

Drink from her perspiration.

Live in the silence that isn’t truly silent.


One word. That’s all it takes for me to feel alive.

My eyes dart around the old cabin. Oh, the things this space has witnessed.

Passed down from generation to generation.

Now it’s my turn to leave a mark.

Moving closer, I hover over the woman on the floor.

The knife in my hand presses firmly on her throat.

Red bubbles to the surface as the blade pricks her delicate ivory neck.

But I can’t kill her yet.

I turn my head, looking around the room. When my gaze catches what I’m looking for, I smile.

It’s not a real smile.

It doesn’t touch my soul.

How could it?

Not when I’ve never had a soul for attaching such pathetic emotions.

“Please. You can’t kill me.”

I look back at my unwilling prey.

Spreading my lips wider.

“You should be honored.” I scoff. “I don’t pick just anyone.”


My free hand reaches out, silencing her before she can ruin the moment.

“Shh,” I coo as I trail the blade across her throat. The pressure isn’t enough to kill her. It’s just a warning. “Be a good girl.” She shakes beneath me, biting her lip to hold back a whimper, but she doesn’t have to say it. I know she feels the pain.

Terror keeps her from speaking, and she doesn’t move to answer me as I lift my hand off her mouth. Her eyes go wide at my movement. Her pupils blown out with panic.

I watch myself in her reflection for a second. Letting her emotions fuel me. Tears fill her eyes, but they don’t fall.


I would have liked to see her cry.

I lift the knife, and I’m met with a crimson line.

Red rivulets trickle out from the wound.

I follow the path as they collect in the hollow of her throat. I want to paint her skin in blood.

All in good time.

This isn’t about me right now.

Soon, I can drain her.

This time, when I lift the knife, I dig into her skin.

Carving the intricate pattern.

Cutting through creamy, soft flesh.

This time, she can’t hold back the cry.

It seeps up through her fragile throat.

Watching her bound and wriggling under my grasp, begging to be released, is the greatest thrill a man will ever experience. The pitch of her voice right before the blade takes a run across her throat.

That sound.

It alone will stand out to me for the rest of my days.

I will always remember this moment.







Seventeen years later . . .


My fingers hit the keyboard over and over again. The sound is like nails on a chalkboard. What did I do to deserve this torture?

I freaking hate this job.

Okay. I have zero excuse to say that, but I’m bored out of my mind.

I went to journalism school to be someone. To dig into the details and find the truth.

Instead, I’m writing about which faucet to buy to make your kitchen stand out.


A kitchen is for making coffee and reheating Chinese food. Or Italian. Depends on the mood I’m in. It’s most definitely my least favorite room in the apartment.

I didn’t come from a family that could cook—or bake. Hell, I came from a family that couldn’t communicate, let alone plan a meal and follow a recipe. No, I didn’t starve. But cooking for fun was not a thing either. And now, I get to write about faucets.

Doesn’t matter, though. No matter how much I bitch and moan, I still have to write this damn piece, and I shouldn’t complain. The truth is, I’m damn lucky to have this job.

Even if it’s not the one I actually want.

In my dreams as a child, never once did I imagine my life would revolve around faucets, light fixtures, and sconces. Writing about recessed lighting was definitely not what I had in mind when I took out a monster loan to go to school for journalism.

A loan I’m still making payments on each month.

Unfortunately, we can’t always get what we want, and although I spend my time writing fluff pieces, it pays my rent.

And when you’re living off ramen noodles and mac and cheese from a box like a college student while living in a tiny one-bedroom walk-up apartment . . . well, let’s just say beggars can’t be choosers. At least it’s not a studio. This place is a palace compared to my last rental.

Back before this job, I could basically pee and cook at the same time.

I continue to stare at the document on the screen, rereading what I have typed so far, and then I hit the delete button.




Now my word count is a big ole five.

Great. Just fucking great.

I pound on my keyboard in frustration. Letting out an overly dramatic groan, I bury my head in my hands.

“How’s it going?” I hear the familiar voice of my coworker, Mara, who is also my best friend—the only person I talk to regularly besides my one cousin, Jordan. He’s the only one who’s still nice to me after the fallout with my parents.

Because really, how many lies should a person have to deal with?

Mara and I started working at the same time and instantly clicked. Both jaded and bitter. We’re practically inseparable.

I let out another strangled groan.

“That good, huh?”

The thing about Mara is, despite her prickly disposition, she’s got a heart of gold. Anyone would be lucky to have her in their corner.

She’s the Thelma to my Louise.

Dropping my hands, I turn my head to the right to see another coworker scurrying away.

That one isn’t for me. Too cute and young. Fresh out of college and happy to be here. She’s still optimistic. A glass half-filled kind of girl.

Yep, she doesn’t lunch with Mara and me.

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