Toys in Cross: SS Minotaur


The quiet ones are the most dangerous.

I’d known Joshua Cole Butler since his mother had given birth to him. He was a quiet, unassuming boy who enjoyed the sun and the ocean and a good book. He had learned to read at the tender age of three, and he devoured everything he could get his hands on.

One of the professors at the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University was so impressed with him that he gave the boy a small book that was, according to the professor, written in an unknown tongue.

Joshua learned to read it.

He never told anyone what was written within its dark covers, but he kept the book close at all times.

Rodney Fellows’ son Elk beat young Joshua up on his fourth birthday and threw his book into the water. When I arrived at the marina, Joshua’s parents were arguing with Rodney even as his son climbed aboard the SS Minotaur to go sailing with a friend’s family. As the Minotaur tacked out along the Cross River for the Atlantic, Joshua sat down with his sailboat, held it up to his lips, and whispered to it.

Neither his parents nor Elk’s father noticed, but I did.

Before I could reach the child, Joshua set the boat into the water and let it go.

I could do nothing more but sit down beside the boy and wait to see what he had done.

For a few minutes, the toy boat sailed around in circles, then, almost lazily, it drifted back toward us. When it was several feet from us, she sank.

The Minotaur, which had not quite cleared the bend in the river, shuddered. The argument between the parents ceased, and all watched in horrified silence as the ship slipped beneath the water.

Rodney Fellows let out a howl and dove into the water, but he did not come up for a single breath of air.

He vanished.

Not a single body was recovered, nor any part of the SS Minotaur.

A few days later, Joshua’s toy boat and his curious book washed up onshore. It was fortunate that I was the one who found them.

I keep both locked in an old sea chest. Occasionally, when the library is quiet, I can hear those on the Minotaur screaming for help.

 #horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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