When we asked about the red handprint on his shirt he said, “I kill.”
This was sometime in the summer of 1999. We were seventeen-year-old suburban kids who went to go hang out in New York City for the evening. This was not a regular thing, but more so something new and exciting. Me and two of my friends got in my car around six or seven and drove down 95, onto the West Side Highway, and then into the heart of Manhattan. We then parked in a garage semi-close to Times Square. I don’t remember too much of what we did specifically before our encounter, but I imagine we probably took the subway downtown and bummed around, having fun, chilling out and doing random stuff.
At eleven or so we made our way to the area close to Times Square, intending to head to the car soon. We were walking along and one of my buddies stopped to light up a cigarette. A few feet away from us, a man who seemed to be just lingering took some steps towards us and asked if he could have one.
“Ay man. Can I ‘ave a cigarette,” he asked with a thick accent and deep gravelly voice. The man was tall, six feet two or so. He had very large, long dreads, and was dressed plainly in some dirty old pants and a white t-shirt. Charlie, the most outgoing of our friends, who was the one smoking, gave the man a cigarette and lit it. The man then hovered around still facing us while he smoked.
One of us said, “What’s your name?” trying to break the be polite, but also break the tension.
The man’s eyes widened and he sinisterly replied, “Lucifer. I’yamm the devil!”
We each took a small step back, but weren’t phased enough then to stop talking to him. The bored, dumb teens that we were, we were all kind of fascinated by the strange man. If I recall correctly we then had another exchange with him which was odd but not as memorable; it lasted about thirty seconds or so.
After that exchange Charlie asked the man, asking, “What’s that on your shirt?” Before my friend had asked this question I did not pay much attention to the man’s shirt. I was more focused on the rigid carved features of his elongated face. When looked to see what Charlie was talking about, I saw on the lower portion of the man’s white T there were several very distinct handprints, which looked very much like they had been stamped there by a bloody hand.
He grabbed his shirt and pulled it outwards while looking down, to get a better look at what was being referenced. Then, after looking back at us, as if being reminded of what he’d done by seeing the stained he told us, “I kill! I kill!”
The three of us could hardly believe what we were hearing. No longer were we fascinated, but frightened. If he had the print but had said something else, or conversely if he didn’t have the print but said, “I kill,” we may have disregarded the evidence, but the combination of the two was what was alarming. It also seamed semi-unreal to us that this person would disclose this to us, but he did not seem fully lucid, and I’m guessing was mentally ill in some way.
Still though, kind of shocked from the previous answer, Charlie spoke up again, seeking clarification about the unbelievable response. “So the handprint there is blood, and it’s on your shirt because you killed someone?”
“Yes, maan. I kill.” This time the three of us looked at each other each horrified, knowing for certain that we needed to distance ourselves from this guy, fast.
One of us swiftly said, “Alright, man. We gotta go,” and we quickly walked away.
At the time the encounter was only something we talked about as a crazy happening, but looking back I wished that we had maybe found a police officer and pointed the man out.
I’m still to this day not sure if the guy actually killed someone, or was just a crazy homeless guy with mental illness. I guess both can be true. Regardless, that is one person I hope I never meet again!
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