I don’t really remember when I started to kill children. I don’t really remember why, either. But I do know for sure, I love the sensation of squeezing life out of a tiny little bastard, like juice from a sour lemon, watching the pest squirm and beg and reach for relief.

My pastor warns our congregation every week to, “avoid playing God, for we shall repent for all our sins when all the days come to their end.” It’s a load of nonsense. We’re humans. We invented God. Why the hell can’t we play God? Jesus and his dad are the heroes – they fight for one side, and one side only. The villains are always better. They’re nuanced, they’re different, there are so many ways to build a villain. He can be a doctor. A teacher. You. Or, maybe, me.

Besides, taking life isn’t as fun as making it. I’ve tried gardening. One of the kids I babysit – well, used to babysit – loved to be in her garden. She planted carrots and peas. I planted her brain matter right next to them. I laughed that day. Their pet dog didn’t seem to think it was funny, so I had to kill it, too.

The police, in my hometown, couldn’t figure it out. They’re all so stupid, you know. All you need is one good piece of fiction – and I am one hell of a fiction fabricator, if I say so myself. And the police are baffled, confused. They wander back to their doughnut shops and sip their stinking coffee. It’s all very surreal.

There's a connection I get while strangling the kids. I don’t know. I was never much of a fan of the pastor, or Jesus, or God – but I do enjoy the parts with Satan in them. Once, after Christmas prayer, I went through each of the fifty-four bibles at my local church and highlighted every reference to Satan. I remember them all. I like his horns, especially. The bloody horns. They’re nice.

The cops were, like always, perplexed by the highlights. I did it in red highlighter – it was difficult work pouring blood into each Bic highlighter cartridge, but I got it done. I like to keep them alive when I extract the blood. It’s fresher that way. They scream and whimper. Shrieks. “Stop!” “Please!” “I’ll do anything!” they whimper like that dog I told you about. It’s okay though. Satan extinguishes any flames of idiotic “guilt” – which is useless, to be sure – that linger inside me after my art. Sometimes, I record their screams. I listen to them on computer. Satan loves them. It’s why he gives me life. To do his work.

It really is an art. Evading police questions and whatnot. I’ve done about thirteen kids so far, eight of them while babysitting. Nobody puts two-and-two together. I guess it helps, being the son of the pastor.

I don’t like hanging them. It’s less artistic. There’s little aesthetic appeal to the pale skin of an asphyxiated nine-year-old dangling from the branches of an old willow tree, twenty-feet-away from the schoolhouse. I like painting, not sculpting. Blood is my choice medium.

Children are bad. They are a plague. You can’t blame me, though. At least, I’m no pedophile. Just a babysitter. Or baby killer. I prefer baby artist. No type of paint mixes, spreads and washes quite like blood.

The best was when they finally caught me. A pair of parents walked in early from movie night. I offered them a glass of red, but I guess they preferred white, judging by the complexion of their skin. The mother screamed. The dad hit me. I loved the feeling. The pain shooting through my bones. I loved it.

The kid was lying next to me, motionless. I run a clean operation; very clean, very disciplined, very organized. The stupid parents, when they made their commotion, forced me to spill the kid’s innards everywhere. You might think I’m not relatable but I am – we both probably hate it when stomachs, livers, kidneys, and intestines are soaking into our carpets. Unless you’re a psychopath – only psychopaths like that kind of dirtiness. I’m clean.

My dad committed suicide after he learned the cops finally got me. He killed himself, in front of them, too. Two cops came to his door to notify them. Then, he got into his car, and drove off. He crashed into a school bus, he killed nine children.

It was odd, though. My dad was good at it, too. He was the original artist, the Da Vinci to my Michelangelo. He did it to me. But he used to keep me alive. He taught me how to extract and sip the blood. How to paint the kinds of pictures Satan likes. I loved the rush of blood exiting my thighs. It was like going on a roller coaster. I loved his belt, too. He told me that daddies who love their kids have to leave a mark so the kid will never forget them. I have plenty of marks. I will forever remember him.

I guess it runs in the family.