Toys in Cross: Away from Home


Jacob Darrow vanished on a Monday afternoon, and his uncle died a short time later.

Jacob, when he was all of twelve, lost both his legs and his parents in a railroad accident outside of Boston. To compound his problems, his only relation was his uncle, Danforth Brown.

Danforth did not take Jacob in out of the goodness of his heart. Had Jacob’s father not left behind a considerable amount of money, Danforth would have sent the boy off to an orphanage about as far from Cross as possible. But seeing as how he would be the boy’s guardian for another six years, Danforth readily agreed.

When Jacob turned thirteen, his uncle hired me to help Jacob learn German. Danforth was adamant that the boy learn the language so he could go and work in Berlin. It didn’t matter that the Germans were suffering economically after the war, or that the boy more than likely wouldn’t get a job. Danforth, it seemed, wanted the child gone on his eighteenth birthday.

I took the job because I felt the boy could use a friendly face, and in that, I was not wrong. He was an unhappy child, but always pleased to see me. I made it a point to visit daily. The boy was a quick study, and soon we were conversing in German. It was then he showed me his model.

It was of a farm, and he told me it was nearly done. He told me he thought about the farm every night, and whenever he had time, he worked upon it.

Each time I saw Jacob, a little more of the model was finished. Finally, he informed me that he had only to put a few more bricks on the chimney, and the house would be done.

When I arrived the next afternoon, Jacob was gone, and his uncle was screaming with rage, furious that his meal ticket was gone.

I put a bullet through Danforth’s temple, and I took the model home.

I keep it in my lower library, far from prying eyes. Occasionally, out of the corner of my eye, I see Jacob as he walks around his property. How he managed it, and how he managed the return of his legs, I do not know, nor will I ask.

It’s not any of my business.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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