The back lane between Melcombe Avenue and Winter Lane has always been home to an axe murderer.

The news don’t report on it, but I know.

Oh yes, I do.

All the axe murders are covered up, my mother says. The axe murderer is probably a famous celebrity and that’s why it doesn’t get reported.

Maybe Charlie Sheen, or perhaps Brett Kavanaugh. I mean, they’ve got the money to just pay their way out of it, right?

I can clearly remember when my mother told me about the Axeman. I was about five, and I was cycling around on my brand new trike that Pop-Pop had bought me for my birthday and I’d only opened the back gate at the bottom of the garden for a fraction of a second.

She must have heard the squeal of the rusty gate as I pulled it open, because before I knew it, she was running down the garden path, screaming and yelling incoherently in the hot summer sun of ’95.

I can distinctly recall the smell of hard liquor on her breath.

My mother was something of a day drunk, and I can remember my surprise that she was up before three in the afternoon, instead of being blacked out on the porch with a bottle of high-proof grain alcohol held lazily in her left hand.

She tugged me away by the ear, shrieking at me. I still remember the pain.

She picked up my brand new trike with the bright blue paint and chrome handlebars and threw it into the neighbour’s garden.

I cried and bawled, tears running down my little five-year-old face. But deep down inside, I knew why she did it.

The Axeman.

When I hit twelve, I became a little bit overconfident. Cocky, even.

I picked up a heavy metal wrench from a junkyard near my house and did midnight stakeouts near the back gate.

I was convinced that the Axeman would come stomping through the garden, climb the stairs to my room, and chop me into pieces.

I had nightmares about it constantly, screaming out in the depths of my dreams.

During my vigil, I found myself jumping at everything, from the creak of the gate to the thin breeze dancing through the bushes.

I even jumped at a fox that startled me, rushing across the garden from the darkened shade of the eucalyptus tree.

Unfortunately, my instincts kicked in, and when I opened my eyes that had been squeezed tight in fear, I found that I’d bashed in the fox’s skull.

I argued with my mother almost constantly about the vigil I held at the bottom of the garden after that.

She kept drunkenly claiming that the neighbourhood watch would take care of the Axeman. She kept yelling about how she was going to take me back to the doctors and up my meds.

At this point, I was fifteen and I’d been on some bogus tablets for a year.

She was all hysterical and acting odd, mentioning my own father’s breakdown.

Yeah, like that’s anything to do with me, Ma.

I was fifteen when I killed her.

I switched my metal crowbar for an axe, wanting to beat the Axeman at his own game. Poetic justice, you know?

She bloody snuck up behind me, the stupid bitch.

I just react on instinct. It was horrifying.

Honestly, it’s probably been the most traumatic thing I ever went through.

Just swinging that axe and watching as it just sliced into her head like a coconut.

You can’t even begin to imagine what I went through, man.

So I killed her and did what any reasonable person would do, you know?

I hid the body.

No one’s ever found her, which I’m thankful for.

If I was ever arrested, there’d be no-one to stand guard against the Axeman.

After that day, I’ve spent the rest of my life devoted to the cause.

There have been casualties, sure. Children mostly, that had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I hide the corpses in my shed and I have to say that I regret every child I slash open.

I’ve taken precautions now and I wear a hockey mask. That way if the kids run away, they can’t give the police a detailed description of my face.

It’s coated with trails of blood, but I don’t mind too much.

The back lane between Melcombe Avenue and Winter Lane has always been home to an axe murderer.

The news don’t report on it.

But I know.

Oh yes.

I do.