Everybody is fascinated with True Crime nowadays—but happens when that obsession with real-life gruesomeness turns into an appetite for more and more? That’s the focus of “The Killing Jar,” a new story by Laurie Penny about a young woman who gets an internship with a serial killer.

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“The Killing Jar,” published in Motherboard, is pleasingly grotesque and bloody, with some really weird dystopian details. Tony just doesn’t have what it takes to stand out as a really unique serial killer, like a fun gimmick or an interesting approach to murder. He just leans on the same old boring movie cliches, no matter how often his young intern tries to give him feedback. He’ll never get in the newspapers that way, and forget about getting an arts council grant.

Here’s how the story begins:

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Tuesday’s murder is nothing special apart from the paperwork.

I’ve been up till four in the morning going through the application. Technically that isn’t my job, because interns aren’t supposed to deal with the council directly, but Tony thinks admin is for girls. When I come down, Mona is already up and making pancakes.

There’s coffee hot on the kitchen table. Technically it’s Mona’s kitchen table, because she’s the one on the lease, and the flat’s hardly big enough for one young professional, let alone two. We rub along reasonably well. I know she worries about me, which is why she tries to make sure I eat before I leave.

“It’s not even seven,” says Mona. “You can’t let him do this all the time. He doesn’t pay you.”

She’s annoyed, although she won’t say so. She rarely gets cross, which is a good thing in a flatmate. Still, she ought to be more understanding. After my last internship went so very wrong, she knows how much this one means to me.

“I just have to get the recording gear set up at the warehouse,” I say. “We have to get it off to the Standard before they go to press.”

“You can’t let him treat you like a kitchen appliance.”

Read the whole thing over at Motherboard.


Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All The Birds in the Sky, coming Jan 26 from Tor Books. Follow her on Twitter, and email her.