Timmy woke up that January morning to find the neighborhood blanketed in snow. He heard his dad griping to himself in the shower about his bus being delayed. Grabbing his backpack, Timmy stampeded down the stairs, hauling his bag to the front door.
“Timmy!” His mom’s voice came from the kitchen. “I’ve got a surprise for you!”
“Coming!!” Timmy exclaimed, scrambling past the wooden staircase, rounding the corner to the kitchen.
His mom greeted him with a hug, wrapping Timmy in her small frame. “Your school sent out an email. It’s a snow day!”
“What’s that again?”
“It means no school today because it’s snowing super hard.” Timmy wriggled his way out of his mom’s embrace, bouncing up and down.
“Can we go sledding, mommy? Can we, can we, can we?!” He pleaded, jutting out his bottom lip. His mom put a finger on her chin, pretending to think.
“I guess I could call in sick today,” she said with a smile. Timmy beamed at her, then scrambled up to his room to grab a toque and mitts. 20 minutes later, they were on a nearby hill. Timmy’s first 3 toboggan runs were uneventful, but on his fourth descent, he hit an odd lump in the snow, launching him off the toboggan. His mom started in surprise and started walking down the hill, only to smile in relief as Timmy popped up like a gopher from its hole, the snow having cushioned his fall.
“Are you okay, Sweetie?” She called.
“Yep!” Timmy exclaimed, showing his gap-toothed smile. “The sled hit something!” His sled had descended the hill without him, so Timmy waded over to the unknown object that had unceremoniously interrupted his fun. He started digging, using his hands as shovels, grateful his mom forced him to wear mittens. His hands struck something sturdy, causing him to smile in glee as he finally reached his buried treasure. Watching from afar, his mother noticed his smile morph into something akin to terror.
That’s how the body was discovered.
The autopsy revealed the body had been dumped there the previous night, and steadily buried under snowfall. The cause of death was four puncture wounds in the chest, all evenly spaced apart. Birch wood fragments were discovered in the chest, found in furniture sold at a nearby Ikea. After some investigation, it was found that a birch chair sold at that store had chair legs the same width as the puncture wounds. Distance between wounds and the body and the chair legs were identical.
Then more bodies started showing up, each killed by puncture wounds or blunt force trauma. The wounds on each body were matched to chairs sold in Calgary furniture stores. From bar stools to office chairs, this psychopath was taking lives with various kinds of seating furniture.
By the end of June, the killer was attributed with 12 murders. Each time, the person would go missing the night before they were killed, with nothing ever being recorded on camera. Media dubbed the murderer the “Chair Killer”. Not a particularly inventive name, but it would prove to be extremely accurate.
The police’s big break came on July 5th. An employee closing a store in Westbrook mall was attacked with a chair but managed to fight off the attacker and lock herself in a back room. She notified police, describing herself being attacked with a chair. She only saw her assaulter in shadow and described them as surprisingly small. The nature of the attack matched with the Chair Killer’s Modus Operandi. Due to the high-profile nature of the case, overwhelming force was deployed, and soon the entirety of the mall was surrounded. Officers swarmed into the mall, intent on checking every nook and cranny. Two of those officers headed into the men’s restrooms.
Winger had his gun pointed forward as he slowly walked towards the men’s bathroom. It had no door, rather a bend in the corridor for the privacy of its users. Charlie followed in behind, gun raised as well. They stepped forward in sync, repeating a long-practiced routine to make as little noise as possible. Clearing the bend, they stepped into the bathroom. A row of urinals and a few stalls greeted them. Charlie took a knee to check for any legs in the stalls. Seeing none, he stood back up.
“Cover me, I gotta take a piss,” Charlie said, holstering his gun and walking to a urinal.
“Quit screwing around.” Winger replied. Then he heard a belt unbuckling. “You gotta be fucking kidding me. We haven’t cleared the goddamn washroom!”
“Buddy. That Big Gulp needs out of my body.” Charlie retorted, indignantly. “Plus, the last FIVE times we went on a manhunt, you and I were the ones who found the perp. Statistically speaking, there’s a 3% chance the bad guys are here.”
“That’s not how probability works, dipshit. It’s a 50/50 chance we find him in here. Either he’s in here, or he’s not.” Winger kicked open the door of the first stall. Nobody inside. He moved on to the next, grimacing as Charlie let out a sigh of relief while he answered nature’s call.
“Let’s finish this later,” Charlie called. “No use getting distracted on the job.” Winger growled at the obvious hypocrisy; his displeasure drowned out by Charlie’s self amused chuckles. He kicked open the final stall, blinking in surprise as he noticed its inhabitant.
Perched on top of the toilet was a food court chair. Winger tilted his head in confusion. It reminded Winger of his son’s comics: Batman perched menacingly upon a gargoyle before soaring off into Gotham to beat up jaywalkers. Then, with a crack like someone dislocated their shoulder, a knife slid out of the chair. Winger wondered how the chair was holding a knife as he drew his gun. However, the chair had been waiting for the door to open, and it launched itself straight at him. It barely had any weight behind it, so it didn’t even knock him back when they collided, but the knife in his gut did slow him down. Adrenaline made the pain negligible; all Winger could feel was a wet sensation in his stomach. He heard a disgusting squelch as the knife was withdrawn, and tried to move to protect himself from the next attack, but his body wasn’t responding properly. The knife swung in an arc of silver and red, splitting his neck wide open. Adrenaline couldn’t negate this kind of pain. Winger dropped his gun, all thoughts now on self preservation. He slammed one hand on the wound, causing him to let out a pathetic gurgle of pain, and the other on the back of his head to prevent it from falling off. He fell to the ground, into a rapidly growing pool of blood, as the chair skidded across the floor to his gun.
The sound of Winger hitting the floor was loud enough for Charlie to hear, the previous sounds masked by his stream hitting the urinal cake. He whipped around in shock, one hand still holding little Charlie. There was a pool of blood growing underneath his partner, and a chair? what the fuck? Sliding toward his dropped gun, Charlie drew his pistol, but the killer was faster. It shot Charlie three times. Impact from the bullets knocked him back into the urinal, breaking the bottom off and flooding the bathroom with water and urine. With the last of his strength, Charlie pressed his radio.
“It’s a chair..killers a chair..” he rasped out, before succumbing to his injuries. Charlie’s murderer flung the gun away: it was too loud a weapon. It then hid its knife underneath its fabric. The killer’s usual method of stomping on unconscious bodies until their legs pierced their victim’s chest wasn’t prudent in this scenario; the knife would have to suffice. Mercifully, no blood was covering them, just the transmuted contents of the Diet Coke Charlie drank earlier that day. Steam started to billow from the chair, and it seemed to fold in on itself, with wince inducing cracks and pops, like branches violently snapping in a storm. From the cloud of steam, an office chair emerged. The killer booked it out of the washroom, rolling away as fast as they could. This form may be louder, but speed was of the essence.
Police converged on the men’s bathroom after Charlie’s confusing message, discovering the two bodies inside. The sweep of the mall went on for another hour, but the killer wasn’t found. They must have slipped out in the confusion. Everyone returned to their vehicles, downtrodden. Two colleagues were dead.
“Hold on, the keys in my pocket,” Jeff muttered, as his partner Marvin tried the door of their police cruiser. He fixed Jeff with a look that conveyed simultaneous amusement and exasperation.
“You forgot to lock the car.” Marvin deadpanned.
“Shit. Don’t tell anyone.”
“Stay on my good side and I won’t have to.” They both entered the car, grimacing at the odor inside.
“Yo,” Marvin exclaimed. “Were you cooking food in here? It smells funny and the windows are all fogged up.” Jeff was about to respond with no, I did not cook food in my car while we were on a manhunt, thank you very much, but decided not to answer the stupid question. As he reached for his seatbelt, he noticed an odd reflection on the passenger door. What was the light bouncing off of? He looked over at Marvin, noticing a little bit of silver sticking out of the passenger seat.
Perp on the run.
The car smelt funny.
Perp on the run.
It’s a chair.
The car didn’t just smell funny, it literally smelled like piss.
Winger and Charlie died in a bathroom.
It’s a chair – oh fuck.
Jeff rushed to draw his gun, his fingers scrabbling over the holster. He let loose a guttural noise as if to warn Marvin, who jumped in confusion before noticing Jeff staring at the passenger seat. He stared down at the chair too, and two beady red eyes stared back up at him. Marvin’s stomach dropped. He had no time to do anything. Jeff saw the bloody knife come out and begin its arc towards his partner. Jeff was already raising his gun, trembling with adrenaline, and aiming underneath Marvin.
Multiple shots rang out and blood spattered the car.