He started by cutting off the dog’s ear. He only wanted to lick the soft, knobbly inside, but the dog wouldn’t let him. Then there were the rabbits and the cats and the strays pulled from the garbage cans, and then he had a collection to pride himself on.

He never killed anybody, though. What would be the point? He was not crazy. There was a power he felt when he saw a neighbour walking around with just one ear, lost and uncomfortable in the wider world now that there were things they would never understand. That power, that sweet glory of showing someone that the world didn’t bow to them, that was what he did it for.

Long lines of jars, each with a careful note in front of it, filled his storeroom, and he would sit there in the middle, look at them and methodically enumerate them and tell himself what he he had done.

Someday, he would wear a mask during the process, and stay till the victim woke up. He wanted to see that diminished look in their eyes, and then show them what he had done, and see how their face changed. It was something he didn’t know, and he wanted to know.