• ERIC BUTLER

Never Underestimate The Power Of Love - A Story

Stumbled across this story I wrote for something in 2008. I think it may have been a contest or might have been for a writing exercise. It was during the time I was beginning to dip my toe back into writing before life swallowed up all my free time and energy. It wouldn't be until 2017 when I got back onto the writing horse and finished the first draft of The Shadow Within.


That being said, this was a bit rough. I spent the day cleaning it up a bit and hopefully making it a tad more enjoyable. If I remember correctly, the prompt/contest was for a regular publication, but I rarely can write something without injecting it with a bit of horror. There are adult themes and language in this story so, you've been warned...


Oh, and the story had to start with the 6 words, Never underestimate the power of love.



"Never underestimate the power of love, Doc," Jimmy whispered, leaning forward in his chair. Smoke billowed from his mouth as he exhaled, his eyes studying the floor. Doctor Nowell sat still, gazing at him with hooded eyes. The room stayed quiet as neither man spoke for quite some time. Sitting back, Jimmy let his legs stretch out, filling most of the space between them.


"Well doc, whatcha think...am I batshit crazy?" he asked raising his cigarette to his lips. He coughed a little as the smoke filled his lungs, "I never touched these things until they locked me in this here hospital. How's that for irony?"


Doctor Nowell said nothing, instead jotting a few notes down in the black notebook he carried around. Jimmy shot forward, his rear end barely staying in contact with the edge of his seat but unable to move any closer because of the handcuffs secured to the chair's arm. He strained in comical fashion, his head twisting and turning.


"Whatcha writin' now doc?"


The doctor looked up with a smirk and showed him, "A reminder to pick up eggs, and some milk."


Jimmy slid back as he let out a low whistle. "Guess I haven't made much of an impression."


The doctor's smile widened, "To the contrary Mr. Klomoth, you've made quite the impression...just not the one you hoped for. For the last five days, I've studied you trying your best impression of what you think is insanity. The state would rather you stand trial for what you did to that poor girl."


Jimmy offered a toothy grin but his unblinking eyes remained flat as the doctor stood.

"There has been nothing to dissuade me from making sure that happens," the doctor said with a curt nod before moving to the door.


"Uhh... fine ... I'll tell ya what you want."


The doctor's hand released the doorknob upon hearing Jimmy's words, and he turned to face him. "And what do you think I want."


Nowell would be surprised if Jimmy guessed correctly. His greatest desire was to be involved in one of those career-making cases that unlocked the door to celebrity. He expected a case like this to come decades into his career, but here was one, not a year out of his residency.


When he heard they needed someone to talk to the Creekside Cannibal, he did everything he could to secure the assignment. However, after five days of Jimmy pretending to be crazy, he began to think this wasn't one of those cases. The least he could do was give that girl's family some justice.


The silence built up, mimicking the sudden pressure in Nowell's gut. He's struggling with what to say next ... this is the most honest he's been yet. The doctor wondered if Jimmy would come right out and admit to killing the girl or continue to be coy. Nowell hoped for the latter, it would give him more for the book.


Jimmy waved towards the empty seat as he took another drag from his cigarette. With an exaggerated sigh, Nowell made his way back to his chair and sat. He ran the facts through his head as he let the silence continue to build.


They found Amy Miller's partially consumed corpse in a shallow grave about half a mile from the Creekside Trailer Park. With her teeth knocked out and her fingers gnawed off, they got lucky with a partial tattoo still visible on her bicep. Someone tried to burn it off, but either gave up or thought they did a well enough job. It took some doing but the police were able to identify her, which led them to Jimmy.


"You want to know about Amy," Jimmy whispered.


Nowell nodded, motioning for him to continue as he reopened his notebook. Flashing a sad smile, Jimmy took another drag, holding the smoke in a moment before letting it out to the side.


"As I was saying Doc ... Never underestimate the power of love. I never understood that until Amy. I ached for that girl, needed her day and night. We met at her aunt's backyard Fourth of July celebration. All she did was walk by, and I was hooked. That vixen was well aware, so she played a bit with me before admitting she was caught too."


Nowell noted the way Jimmy's eyes flashed in his notebook. Those dead eyes come alive when he speaks of her. It was the first time since meeting Jimmy that Nowell witnessed any signs of emotion in those dark orbs. Fishing out another cigarette, he lit it with the burning end of the other one before putting the stub out on the arm of his chair.


"We made it a year before shit hit the fan; all because she wanted to better herself or some nonsense. She was fine how she was and I told her that," he said with a sneer. "I made enough to cover the bills, and a woman should be home to take care of her man's...needs. Last thing I wanted was someone coming along and puttin' fool ideas in her head ..."


Nowell stopped writing and studied Jimmy. He seemed agitated, with flushed cheeks and tiny pinprick-sized pupils as he stared past the doctor. The cigarette sat untouched between his fingers becoming more ash by the second. He refocused on Jimmy's face when the man suddenly continued.


"Did I mention how much she liked to fuck? This week's been so crazy I couldn't remember," Jimmy said with a sly smile dominating his lips. "Probably why that first year was so ... so ... good. She would moan so loud when I stuck my ..." he trailed off as his smile widened. "But you don't want to know about that do ya doc? Our sexual activity, our ... perversions?"


"Correct," Nowell said in a strained voice, uncomfortable in the knowledge he very much wanted to hear more.


"How about some coffee? All this thinking about Amy's tasty hole got my mouth dry."

Nowell nodded as he rose, stepping quickly to the coffee pot and filling a paper cup about halfway. Jimmy's face darkened and his eyes flashed while his mouth curled into a snarl. He slammed his fists onto the arms of the chairs with a roar. The doctor froze, eyes locked on the man as he began to shudder.


"She was my everything," Jimmy said, his voice thick with emotion.

Nowell hurried to Jimmy hoping to not break the spell this emotional outburst produced. He took the offered cup and held it tight between his hands. Shaking slightly, Jimmy took a long slurp.


"Please go on," Nowell said as he sat down, motioning for Jimmy to continue.


"From that point on, she decided to try me at every turn. Making demands, tryin' to cut me off, bitchin' and moanin' when it didn't work," he said with a wink before continuing. "So maybe I started hittin' her a bit, but, Jesus Christ, her constant whining was drivin' me loony. I have a question for you, doctor. She forced me to teach her how to behave in a relationship ... drove me to take drastic measures. Isn't this her fault?"


Nowell stopped writing. Jimmy's chest heaved from the gulps of air he took while he shifted around in his chair. He was clearly agitated but Nowell needed more. He decided to nudge the man to see what happened next.


"Well, she's not blameless."


The statement hung between the two men. Jimmy's eyes closed to slits a moment while he studied the doctor. The silence stretched and sweat ran down Nowell's back and chest.


"Hot damn! I knew it," Jimmy howled as he sat up straight, pounding his fist on the chair's arm. "That bitch brought it on herself."


Nowell began to write some more in the notebook. After another slurp of coffee, Jimmy continued.


"Well the last time she needed a lesson ... well, I can't lie, I might have gone a step too far. But there was no call for her overreaction. Once she woke up she started stompin' around, screamin' at me, callin' me names. Then she threatened to leave ... 'cept it weren't no threat. So I reached out and grabbed her, beggin' her to stay. I mean hell, I don't beg for anything but there I was blubbering and promisin' her...well let's say there ain't a thing I wouldn't do. She turned to me, screamin' for me to let her go, so I did, but I told her ..." Jimmy stopped, and he looked off into the distance as if reliving the moment.


"I said, Please forgive me. I won't ever do it again. Our love was all encompassin' and that ... we were meant to be together forever. You know what she did? She laughed. I mean what a cold-blooded bitch. Here I was emptyin' my heart out, and she fuckin' laughed at me ... as if my word meant nothin'." Jimmy's voice was a whisper, his eyes wide as he stared past the doctor once again.


Nowell studied the word he had written repeatedly as Jimmy spoke, GUILTY. It was in different sizes and dominated the page. He couldn't let this man get away with his crimes. Amy deserved justice. The doctor glanced up when Jimmy cleared his throat. The smile on his lips sent a chill through Nowell.


Jimmy leaned forward again, "Whatcha writin' now? Still goin' to court huh?" He rubbed his handcuffed wrist with his free hand and sighed. "They didn't find much, did they? Just her head, an arm, and her spine ... with chunks still hangin'," Jimmy locked eyes with the doctor as he spoke.


Nowell went white. The police never released the exact details of the remains. Only the killer would know ... and Jimmy knows, exactly.


"I ... I was never told what they found out at Halpert Hill," he said, using the location they released in the papers.


"Come on Doc. She was a bit outside Creekside...out in the bushes, really under them. Damn dogs," he said with a sigh. "I'm tellin' you just like I told her, we were meant to be together. It was destiny. Funny thing about destiny, that night as I drank myself stupid I was watchin' TV and the damnedest thing came on." Jimmy finished his coffee, crumpled the cup, and tossed it at Nowell's feet.


The doctor leaned over to pick it up as Jimmy continued, "So some faceless voice was talking about how ancient people consumed men to take their strength ... to capture their soul. And I thought hell, Amy may have thought she could just end our love. But she was wrong. What we had was special. Here was the answer to fixin' things ... to truly connect with her."


The doctor slowly glanced up to stare at Jimmy. They were only inches apart now, the arm of the chair broken at one end. Jimmy grabbed Nowell by the collar and pulled him closer.


"Don't you understand, it was the only way for us to be together forever, the soulmates we were destined to be."


The doctor whimpered as Jimmy's lips brushed his ear. "But don't you worry none. I don't need much from you ... this will be mainly for show."


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