August 12, 1954


What do you say to a murdered child?

I realize this question is rhetorical. No explanation will ever set the murdered child at ease, nor should it. Some have died quickly. Others have suffered terribly.

Josiah Hauptmann died quickly.

I found him in a playroom. Old and broken toys lay scattered about the floor, a fine layer of dust covering everything. The windows were closed, the dirty glass filtering the sunlight through it. I stood in the doorway and heard the sweet sound of a harmonica. The music faltered, strengthened, then faltered again. While I couldn’t see the musician, I complimented their efforts, and it was then Josiah spoke.

He told me who he was and how he was six. He had learned to play several songs on his harmonica before his father died. When Josiah felt saddened, he would play and think of his father.

Ms. Lorraine didn’t like the harmonica. She especially didn’t like the way Josiah played it. One day, after he had spent most of the morning crying over his father, Josiah had snuck up into the playroom, the only place where he could practice with his instrument.

Ms. Lorraine walked by, heard him, and decided she had endured quite enough music from him.

She struck him hard enough to shatter Josiah’s temple and killed him instantly.

I asked him if he had been saddened when he died.

Josiah had laughed and told me no.

“I played my harmonica in her ear every night for a month,” he told me. “Until she did something bad.”

“What was that?” I asked.

“She threw herself of the roof,” the dead boy whispered. “She forgot that suicide’s a sin.”

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #asylum #insane

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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