How To Kill
He didn’t know what he was getting himself into back then.
Living at home had been easy, despite how much emotional trauma involving his parents’ disastrous marriage, and his own issues with pills. Now, not only was Benjamin still addicted to Adderall, but he was living on his own with two other roommates – a friend from high school, Raymond, and a co-worker, George – and struggling to make ends meet at his night shift watchman job.
Every day he was getting home, George and Ray were getting ready to go to work. “Mornin’,” they’d say to each other nonchalantly, and it got to a point where this was the only time they’d speak.
Ben’s girlfriend left him a week later, trying to be as polite as possible.
“We should really try to get our own lives together, first,” she’d said, after a long and exasperating back-and-forth about the part of town he lived in. Ben couldn’t argue with her about the building he lived in, more like a shack than a house.
“I know, three rooms isn’t enough to try to raise a family.”
“Not to mention you just turned twenty, and you still don’t have a driver’s license.”
Ben sighed, and after an awkward silence, “OK, bye.”
He hung up.
Ben had stopped calling his mother, too.
“I’ll go to my appointments, I’ve got them marked on my calendar,” he lied.
“Are you sure you’re okay to do this by yourself,” she’d inquired with worry.
“No problem, love you, mom.”
It’s now been ten months, and he hasn’t been to a single therapy session.
All Ben did was go to work, stare at his computer screen for eight hours, go home, go to bed, repeat. And when he wasn’t in bed, he was binge drinking and taking Adderall, and surfing the most bizarre websites he could find.
It was in 2014 that he discovered the Dark Web.
“What’s that,” Ben inquired to Jim, the lead singer of a grunge-metal band that practiced at odd hours across the street.
“The Dark Web,” Bob – the drummer – started laughing. “This crazy sonofabitch tried to hire a hitman on himself,” Fred, the guitarist, stated. “Yeah, that was after my wife slept with the other guitarist we had, a few days after that crazy fucking douchebag the next street over ordered drones to spy on her in the shower.”
“Okay, slow down,” said Ben. “What IS the Dark Web?”
“It’s a place where you can do illegal shit without the government or police getting onto your case. You have to set up a VPN and download a TOR server.” Ben cocked his head.
“You have to mask your IP address and use a specific web browser and internet host,” Bob explained in the simplest way he could.
“I-I think I understand,” Ben said.
He heard wheels outside, and a car door.
“Oh shit, I can’t be seen over here,” Ben shouted.
“Just bring over your laptop one day and I’ll show you how,” Fred explained.
Ben nodded and disappeared into the morning fog.
A few days went by and Ben didn’t hear the band playing next door.
“Don’t you think it’s a bit strange,” asked Ben before Raymond headed to work.
“The band,” he said, pointed across the street with a lit cigarette. “Haven’t heard a peep out of them in almost a week.”
Ray furrowed his brow. “That is a bit odd.”
He made a confounded noise and as he was about to get in the car, “Hey, Ray, one more thing. You remember him telling us about this thing, called the ‘Deep Web’?” Ray looked around, trying to remember.
“I… think so?”
His next night on the job, Ben figured it out himself.
He’d started doing the pills at work, beginning to not see the point in being responsible if this was as good as it got. Ben figured he’d hire a hitman on himself, like Jim had done, but when he went to download TOR onto his laptop, he found it already installed.
“What… the fuck.”
He arrowed into the subsequent folder and, sure enough, there it was.
This doesn’t make any sense.
The next day, George was killed in a hit-and-run accident.
Ray and Ben tried to get to the hospital, but he was informed that George was killed almost instantaneously from a snapped neck.
“He was T-Boned to the upper-left-hand side of the vehicle,” the doctor explained. “It hit him head-on, snapping his neck and crushing his heart and left lung.”
“No investigation as to whether this was intentional,” Ray inquired.
“Well, there would be… if it weren’t for the fact police found the vehicle that matched the tag and description in a ditch, with a body behind the wheel that was essentially crushed to death by the weight of the vehicle itself. So, I don’t know, honestly.”
“Don’t know what,” asked Ben.
“Whether or not it was intentional.”
Ray called into work that day, but Ben decided to go.
“Are you sure, man,” asked Ray with a sigh.
“I’ve got work to do.”
That night, Ben was hurled into a rabbit-hole of seemingly endless depth when he opened his laptop.
The TOR browser was up, and several pages had been visited. The first one that showed on the history made his blood run cold.
“Howtokill.com,” was what appeared in the address bar.
He froze as the website loaded.
A black screen spilled across the former-white background, and red text jumped out at him.
It was a website giving in-depth instructions on how to kill someone, and make it look like an accident.
Ben began to tremble, and popped multiple pills into his mouth at once, breaking up a third and snorting it off the desk. He then wrote a note about an early leave of absence related to the death of his friend and co-worker, and Benjamin then departed the facility, driving home with one thought on his mind: confronting the only person who could have done this.
Ben sat for the end of the second hour at the corner of his street, his car off, watching Raymond carefully.
At no point had Ray done anything particularly out of the ordinary, which disturbed Ben even further.
But it had to have been him. It literally couldn’t be anyone else except George himself that had accessed the computer, and he knew George. George was mild-mannered and kept to himself. He didn’t drink, do drugs, or even have a girlfriend, and he was entirely content with his life. No way would he have gotten into Ben’s laptop without asking. But then again, neither would Ray.
It just didn’t make any sense.
He decided there was no point in trying to butter him up. If people were dying, then the perpetrator needed to be stopped.
Ben took another pill, a deep breath, a swig of his beer, and pulled onto his street.
“At approximately 5 AM on a Wednesday Morning, George Ivan was killed in a hit and run case in which both drivers were killed. At 3:14 AM – under 24 hours later – Benjamin Gleeson clocked out of his night-shift job, leaving open his laptop, which was connected to the TOR browser, and – by extension – the ‘Deep Web,’ a part of the internet that can only be accessed through specific software.”
Martha Haverford, divorced wife of Tom Gleeson, and mother of Ben Gleeson, clutched her coffee cup with such fervor that it began to crack in her grip. She blinked, but still the name on the screen did not change.
“According to witnesses,” the newswoman explained as an image of the house where he’d been staying with his co-worker displayed on the television. “Gleeson had been parked at the corner of the street for over two hours, staring at his house as if watching for someone.” As the footage progressed, Martha could tell that the yellow plastic across the doors and windows were that of a crime scene investigation. “He had then entered the house, and shouting could be heard, followed by what sounded like a struggle. By the time the police had arrived on the scene, thirty minutes later, Benjamin Gleeson was found dead of an overdose, lying in a pool of vomit, with the words, ‘RAY DID IT’ written in blood in sections of the house.” Martha saw the statement and began to scream.
“Underneath the floorboards one of these messages were scrawled on, were found the bodies of three young men who had been mutilated beyond recognition, possibly connected to the house-fire across the street – but certainly connected to the deep website Gleeson had been discovered to have been browsing hours before his suicide,” it said.
Benjamin had been going to therapy and seeing a psychiatrist over what he’d seen his freshman year of High School – his best friend, who had been killed in a car accident…
“It was called, ‘howtokill.com,’ a site surrounding in-depth description on how to successfully commit murder. It was shut down after it was alerted by the authorities to have been directly connected to the killings, to prevent any further needless loss of life in connection with this chilling website.”