Madness: Nov. 19, 1867


What happens when you listen to the dead?

Herakles Montblanc had left for war and returned from the same with nary a difference to him. Some men came back with spirits broken, others with their bodies altered by the hands of their fellow man.

Neither of these could be said to apply to Herakles. He was as he had left, an honest man.

Perhaps that’s why my mother reached her hand out from the Hollow and took hold of him.

On the night of the 19th, Herkales went mad.

He came charging out of his home, dressed in his uniform and with his cavalry saber unsheathed. There was blood upon the weapon’s edge, and we would learn later that it belonged to his wife and their three children. He had murdered them at all at the behest of my mother.

As it was, when Herkales charged into the night, he fell upon his neighbors, the Addisons, and they were able to get away with their lives, though not without some injury to their persons. I happened to be strolling along the street, deep in thought over the bodies which I had burned shortly after dawn when Herakles attacked me.

He neither cried out, nor did he stop smiling as he attempted to separate my head from my shoulders.

Our fight was short and brutal, for although the two of us had once been soldiers, I’d been killing people for far longer.

I disarmed him and cast his sword aside, only to have to pull my head back as he tried to clamp his teeth down upon my neck. His eyes rolled up in his head as his jaw snapped open and closed mechanically, foam gathering at the edges of his mouth. Snot poured down from his nose, and he tried to dig his fingers into my flesh.

I put the muzzle of my Colt against his groin and pulled the trigger.

He went rigged, then collapsed to his knees, mouth slack from the shock and pain.

Sliding the Colt into his open mouth, I blew his brains out of the back of his head.

He tumbled to the street, and I knelt down beside him.

I plucked his shirttail from his pants and wiped the blood and gore off the Colt’s barrel.

I suspected there’d be more work soon enough.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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