December 18, 2017


     Marilyn Holt of Cross purchased a katana and a photograph at a private auction in the home of a recently deceased professor of Asian History at the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University. While the university sought to lay claim to the professor’s possessions, the family succeeded in selling off many of them before any case could be brought to court.

     Marilyn, at the age of 54, was a new breed of Cross resident. She and her husband had retired early, moving from Cambridge, Massachusetts two years before. While her husband practiced his golf game, Marilyn took up a series of rather expensive hobbies. Her most expensive, by far, was the collecting of katanas. If she could find one with an impressive provenance, such as the one acquired at the deceased professor’s home, then she was thrilled.

     Marilyn quite happily displayed her collections for friends and well-wishers, and upon the purchase of the katana and photograph, she made the announcement that the items would be the centerpiece of her annual Christmas party. While none of her new neighbors were invited to attend, her and her husband’s friends from Cambridge were on the guest list.

     On December 17th, 2017 an impressive number of cars arrived and deposited well-heeled couples at the Holts’ house.

     By the morning of December 18, 15 people were dead.

     14 of the victims were found on their knees, perfectly upright although their heads were missing. The 15th, Marilyn, was found kneeling in front of her guests, the victim of ritual seppuku.

     Both the katana and the photograph remain missing.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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