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News & Features » December 2019 » “The Six-Year-Old Serial Killer” by Chris Chan

“The Six-Year-Old Serial Killer” by Chris Chan

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

This week, a child thinks he could be a coldhearted killer . . . 

The Six-Year-Old Serial Killer
by Chris Chan
An exclusive K-12 Prep School, Mequon, WI

“Mr. Funderburke, I think I may be a psychotic serial killer.” 

I stared down at the tiny first-grader sitting in my office. “I’m 99.9% sure you aren’t, Timmy.” 

Timmy shook his curly head. “That’s nice of you to say, Mr. Funderburke, but you’re wrong. I may be hurting people and not realizing it.” He pulled a little plastic box out of his coat pocket. I opened it and saw a little silver folding knife lying on top of a cloth. The blade was bloodstained. 

Suddenly I was 98.9% sure.

“I came to you because I figured I should talk to a teacher I trusted,” Timmy explained. 

I carefully emptied the contents of the box onto a sheet of paper on my desk. Besides the knife and the cloth were a handkerchief with spots of blood on it, some cotton pads, and a little bottle of rubbing alcohol. 

“See what I mean, Mr. Funderburke? I found that underneath a pile of stuffed animals in my room. Am I blacking out and stabbing people without realizing it?”

I scrutinized the knife blade. It was under two inches long and less than half the width of my pinky finger.

“Timmy, I don’t think you could’ve killed anybody with this knife. It’s too small, too delicate, and the thin bloodstains on the edge indicate scratching, not fatal stabbing or slashing. Besides, I haven’t read about any stabbings lately, and you—no offense—aren’t strong enough to drag a body and bury it in the woods or dump it into Lake Michigan. Do you have any gaps in your memory?”

“No. I don’t think so.” 

“Then the possibility that you are going into a fugue state is unlikely.” 

“What about animals? Could I be going into a few state—”

“Fugue state, Timmy.”

“Right. What about that? Don’t serial killers often get their starts hurting pets and small wild animals?” 

“Well . . . yes . . . Timmy, how do you know so much about serial killers?” 

“When my mother and stepfather were out of town recently, Grandpa watched me. He was trying to stream Dexter’s Lab for me, but he accidentally wound up streaming Dexter and we got halfway through the third season before he realized it was the wrong show.”

Kids today. I didn’t learn about the psychopathy of serial killers until I was the ripe old age of nine, when I was at Gary Taller’s house for a sleepover party and he put The Silence of the Lambs into the VCR when his parents thought we were watching Beauty and the Beast. 

“Timmy, I think you’re putting two and two together and getting five trillion. You’re not a six-year-old Jack the Ripper. You didn’t hide this knife. Someone else did. Who else has access to your room?” 

“There’s Mom, my stepfather, and my stepsister. The cleaning lady hasn’t been by in—”

“Your stepsister . . . Kyla?” I knew Kyla slightly. She was a sophomore who was making several teachers concerned. “I’d like to have a word with her.”

I made a quick call and five minutes later Kyla joined us in my office. I’d had a few minutes to reflect on my maturing theory, and I theorized that a little deception would be the most efficient way of finding out what I wanted to know. 

Kyla sat down without acknowledging Timmy. I started shaking out my lambskin walking coat.

“What are you doing?” Kyla asked.

I feigned a nonchalant tone. “There’s been a centipede infestation lately, and they’ve been crawling into my coat . . .” I pointed at her arm and raised my voice. “A huge centipede just ran up your sleeve!”

Kyla started shrieking, ripping off her blazer and rolling up her sleeves. A few seconds later, I saw what I expected. A series of thin scars along her arms. The marks of a cutter. 

I calmed her down and gently pressed the issue. After a couple of indignant denials, Kyla broke down and tearfully explained she’d started cutting recently, and that her father had searched her room for drugs the other day, and that she’d slipped her “cutting kit” into Timmy’s room. He’d found it before she could retrieve it.

A long conversation later, Kyla admitted she needed help, and Timmy and I walked her to the school psychologist to begin the road to recovery.

“So, I’m not a dangerous psychopath?” a relieved Timmy asked me.

“Definitely not. But you should probably avoid watching serial killer shows for another decade. Maybe switch to Ducktales or something . . .”


CHRIS CHAN is a writer, teacher, and historian living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He works for Agatha Christie Ltd. as a researcher and International Goodwill Ambassador. He is also the author of the Funderburke mystery series and several true crime articles. 


Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Dec 16, 2019

Category: Original Fiction, Mondays Are Murder, Original Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,