The Killer listened for Father McAlister’s familiar Irish burr in his head. But there was silence. Well, not quite. His ears were ringing. He could see that the policeman was talking to him but he couldn’t hear what he was saying. His heart was pounding with terror. God has forsaken me, he thought. I have always done God’s will, and now He has deserted me. I am alone. But he was no longer sure whether he meant God or Father McAlister, any more. He’d been so sure that his task was divinely inspired. How often had Father McAlister said that homosexuality was an abomination unto the Lord?
It was true that Father often had sex with him, but that had been his fault, hadn’t it? He had tried to make himself less attractive to Father by always wearing long trousers and long-sleeved shirts, by never walking from the shower to the dormitory undressed like the other boys with just a towel round his hips. But still Father would grab him, once every few days, and then they would have sex, and afterwards, Father and he would kneel before the crucifix he had in his room, and together they would beg for forgiveness. But sometimes, Father would blame him and then he hit him or beat him with a ruler. The edges of the ruler would sometimes cut him. Sometimes Father would beat him even before they had sex, and then Father would weep and say how sorry he was and would comfort him. Those were the best times, when Father held him in his arms, and patted him on his back. Then he had felt loved, and real. He pretended then that Father McAlister was his real father, and that he was adored and treasured. That he mattered.
They used to come to the Macedon Ranges on camping trips. Father McAlister would bring a few boys from the school up here in the a previous battered Kombi. They’d pitch tents in the forest or near Sanitorium Lake, and go for hikes along the trails and forestry tracks through the forests. Then, Father wouldn’t have sex with him, but the Killer knew he was thinking of it. He could see it in Father’s eyes.
After Father died, he had grieved alone. The other boys had hated the priest. But he had loved him.
His first victim had been picked up right here in the Camel’s Hump car park, six months after Father’s death. At first he had wanted just to recreate the happy feeling he’d had when he’d been held close. They had made love out in the open, under the stars, on the other man’s unzipped sleeping bag. But after he’d climaxed he was filled with rage and disgust. Plunging the kitchen knife into the other man as he lay next to him, satiated with pleasure, had released something inside himself. The Killer had left his victim’s torso there, and had gone home, and nothing had happened. No one came questioning, no police turned up at his door. All the same, after that he was more methodical, and whenever he felt the urge, he would be very careful.
The only times he had felt real was when he had picked up a victim.
He had always believed that God was with him and supported his campaign to rid the world of homos. And now He had deserted him. The Killer looked at the policeman, and unaware that tears were leaking from his own eyes, turned and began to run. The cliff was close. Closing his eyes, he jumped off and out, into the air, and then he fell. He fell, and he mashed into the ground far below. It was over.