July 6, 1938

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The narrow hallway stank of antiseptics.

Despite the overpowering stench of it, I could smell the sharp tang of blood and rotting flesh beneath the veneer of cleanliness.

Ahead of me was a stainless-steel door, and I had a fair idea of the sort of abomination that I might find beyond it.

When I reached the door and opened it, I was – unfortunately – not disappointed.

There were six of them gathered around the patient on the operating table, a powerful light illuminating their work.

It took them a moment to realize I was there, and it took me less than that to see the patient was a version of myself.

I fired both pistols from the hips, the roar of the heavy Colts causing the surgical tools to clatter in their trays.

The doctor went spinning backward, half his head missing as blood, brains, and bone sprayed out over the nurse closest to him. Another nurse, standing by the tools, collapsed in a heap as a slug caught her in the throat and partially decapitated her.

As my guns continued to roar, one of the nurses touched a small tool in the patient’s throat, and fire exploded from his mouth a split second before his head burst.

Within moments, I alone was still alive.

The smell of burning flesh, mingled with white phosphorous, filled the air and drove me from the room.

I closed the door behind me and took the still-hot spent casings from the Colts and replaced them with fresh cartridges. As I closed the cylinders, my mother’s voice echoed in the hallway.

“I want you to die.”

I snorted and slid the Colts back into their holsters, and I considered her statement for a moment, and then I asked, “Tell me, mother, where are you? It’s been some time since I saw you.”

She didn’t respond.

“I’ll leave my Colts outside your room. I’ll just bring my knife. I’m not as clumsy as I was that morning. I’ll take me time.”

“I’ll kill you, boy,” she hissed.

“Maybe,” I acknowledged. “We’ll find out soon enough.”

Silence greeted my statement.

I shrugged, took out my pipe and packed the bowl as I left the hallway and the rank odor of my own burnt flesh behind.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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