3:10 AM January 1, 1931


He deserved to die.

Ethan Sawyer’s appetite for books was as big as he was. He had no control, as far as I could see, and there were rumors from some of the dealers in other towns and cities about his behavior.

None of the rumors were good.

There was even word that he was associated with Miskatonic University in Arkham. I’ve a poor opinion of the school, one that’s gotten worse since they’ve established a branch here in Cross.

At the time, though, that wasn’t a worry. Merely his appetite.

Dan Reams was a small collector in Cross, a man who had plain, happy books. There were one or two gems in his collection, but they were few and far between. He didn’t brag about his books, but those who knew, knew, and I was one of them.

That’s why I was surprised when I saw Ethan Sawyer walking away from Dan’s small home, holding a book I knew Dan would never sell.

It was a history of Cross, written by his father and signed by every member of the Cross Historical Society. The book had been a gift from the society upon his father’s untimely death. There were three copies of the title, and in its leather binding, many of Cross’ mysteries were explained.

None of which Ethan Sawyer needed to know.

When I saw Sawyer, I hastened up to Dan’s and found the man dead, brained with a heavy brass candlestick.

I left Dan where he lay and chased after Ethan Sawyer.

Ethan hadn’t gotten far, and when he heard me, he broke into a shambling run.

But he was fat and ill, and he didn’t get more than a half dozen yards from me before I caught hold of him and snatched the book from his damp clutch.

Stuffing the book into my coat, I pushed Ethan down, and he fell onto his back, striking his head against the cobblestones. He stared up at me, face pale and eyes wide, lips trembling with fear.

“I only wanted the book,” he gasped.

“It wasn’t yours,” I answered, and I kicked the bastard to death.

Dan Reams had no family to pass the book on to. He was the last of them all.

His book is here now, with me, tucked in amongst the good and the bad, just as we all are.

#books #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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