It was a dark and stormy night.
Cliché? Yes, but also an undeniable truth. A hard chill rain slashed down on Arkwen College, beating against the slanted roofs and square neo-Gothic towers of Lansmoor Hall. Dark gouts of water gushed from the stone mouths of the gargoyles ringing its mock battlements, eerily backlit with every cold flash of lightning. The grassy quad below was a brown sea of mud. Wind howled through the creaking treetops and rattled the poorly caulked windows of the old student dormitories. Here and there behind the glass, candles flickered and flashlight beams danced, for the electricity had failed and the phone lines too.
Remarkably, cell phone service was also out.
There was little for the students to do but huddle together in the hallways or hunker down in their beds and wait for the storm to blow over. It was not a night for any sane person to be outside.
Which made it perfect weather for the Hatchet Man. Bundled in a hooded rain slicker, his heavy boots impervious to the small rivers washing over his feet, he stalked across the darkened campus with a lovingly sharpened hatchet in his hand.
The deranged serial killer hadn’t always been the Hatchet Man. He was fairly new at it, in fact. Still looking for his first victim actually. Which meant he wasn’t technically a serial killer yet, or even a killer at all. But he was deranged and he had a hatchet, and that was a start.
His decision to become an insane killer was a recent one. Given his poor grades—who knew a fractional GPA was even possible?—his parents’ dream of him attending medical school was looking less and less likely. As this realization sunk in, he wondered what direction to take in life.
Then it hit him.