FROM Rules Of Prey by John Sandford
In moments of introspection, the maddog had rooted through his psyche, seeking the genesis of his insanity. He decided that it had not come all at once, but had grown. He remembered those lonely weeks of isolation on the ranch with his mother, while his father was in Dallas playing his games. The maddog would work with his .22 rifle, sniping the ground squirrels. If he hit a squirrel just right, hit it in the hindquarters, rolled it away from its hole, it would struggle and chitter and try to claw its way back to the nest, dragging itself with its front paws.
All the other ground squirrels, from adjacent holes, would stand on the hills of sand they’d excavated from their dens and watch. Then he could pick off a second one, and that would bring out more, and then a third, until an entire colony was watching a half-dozen wounded ground squirrels trying to drag themselves back to their nests.
He would wound six or seven, shooting from a prone position, then stand and walk over to the nests and finish them with his pocket knife. Sometimes he skinned them out alive, whipping off their hides while they struggled in his hands. After a while, he began stringing their ears, keeping the string in the loft of a machine shed. At the end of one summer, he had more than three hundred sets of ears.
He had the first orgasm of his young life as he lay prone on the edge of a hay field sniping ground squirrels. The long spasm was like death itself. Afterward he unbuttoned his jeans and pulled open the front of his underwear to look at the wet semen stains and he said to himself, “Boy, that did it . . . boy, that did it.” He said it over and over, and after that, the passion came more often as he hunted over the ranch.
Suppose, he thought, that it had been different. Suppose that he’d had playmates, girls, and they had gone to play doctor out in one of the sheds. You show me yours, I’ll show you mine. . . . Would that have made all the difference? He didn’t know. By the time he was fourteen, it was too late. His mind had been turned.
A girl lived a mile down the road. She was five or six years older than he. Daughter of a real rancher. She rode by on a hayrack once, her mother towing it with a tractor, the girl wearing a sweat-soaked T-shirt that showed her nipples puckered against the dirty cloth. The maddog was fourteen and felt the stirring of a powerful desire and said aloud, “I would love her and kill her.”
He was mad.