October 5, 1937


He didn’t know who I was.

The man answered the door, and I punched him in the mouth.

He staggered back, tripped over his own feet and crashed to the floor as I closed and locked the door behind me. As he struggled to get up, holding a hand to his bleeding lips and loosened teeth, I drew a Colt and pointed it at his forehead.

He froze, eyes wide with terror.

The man had never had a pistol in his face before, and it showed.

“Parlor,” I told him, and he groped his way there, clinging to the hallway’s wall for support. I motioned for him to take a seat, and he did so, his eyes never leaving mine.

I sat down across from him, pistol on my lap, barrel pointed toward him. A glance around the room showed a fine collection of antiquities, a great many of which should have been destroyed.

It was nothing less than I expected to find in a guest house on the property of Miskatonic’s Cross campus.

“Do you know who I am?”

He shook his head.

“I know who you are,” I told him, sliding the Colt into its holster and retrieving my pipe from my breast pocket. I took out my tobacco pouch, packed the briarwood bowl and struck a match on my bootheel. I paused long enough to get the tobacco going, then I shook out the match and dropped it into the ashtray on the table beside me.

Cautiously, the man lowered his hand from his swelling lips, and with a pained expression, asked, “Who are you?”

“Well, Mr. Vetchen, you’ve decided to try and bring my mother back to Cross.”

A large wet spot formed on the front of his trousers, and the stink of piss filled the air.

“I’m not going to tell you anything.” The words came out hoarse as though drawn across a washboard.

 “I don’t need you to.”

The man’s swollen mouth worked silently.

“The man you hired to kill me,” I continued, “he gave me your name, and the others, too.”

“What are you going to do to me?”

“You’re going to help me rebind a book,” I said, getting to my feet and drawing my knife.

He fought me and screamed like hell, but then again, it’s always hard to skin a man who’s alive.

Still, his back was wide enough, and the skin will cure just fine.

#fear #horrorstories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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