4:30 AM January 1, 1931


She became proficient in seduction.

Charlotte Giles had always been an attractive young woman. At the ripe age of seventeen, she was wed, and by eighteen, she was miserable.

Charlotte began spending a good portion of her time at Von Epps Books. Her husband, Malachi Evers, was as handsome as she was attractive, and he was a right bastard. He wanted a wife for the sake of having one, and he kept her as one might keep an unwanted dog. Malachi gave her a small bit of money to keep her out of his presence, and he was quite pleased that she was at the bookstore.

He shouldn’t have been.

By the age of nineteen, Charlotte realized that what she truly wanted was power and that her appearance and knowledge would enable her to be as powerful as she desired.

She managed to get her hands on a volume that taught her the art of seduction. Rumor reached me that there was something living in the book, a creature feeding off her passions. The more passion she enjoyed, the stronger it became, and the stronger the creature became, Charlotte’s power grew.

She no longer visited the bookstore. Instead, she used her allowance for tickets into Boston, where she seduced men – regardless of age – and butchered them at their climax.

I learned of her activity when she turned twenty-one, and the creature in the book told Charlotte to try her hand with me. It told her that I was worth more than all of the others combined.

She came to me on a cool October evening, inviting herself inside with a surety that she’d not had only a few years earlier.

She mistook my appearance, as so many did, and thought I would be easy to take to bed.

I was not.

We were in my parlor when she tried to take me by force, and I placed the muzzle of a Colt against her temple. She reached for the pistol, and I blew her brains out.

I took her body to her home and found Malachi drunk in bed. I laid Charlotte beside him and bound him to the corpse. I retrieved the book and then set the bed on fire.

Malachi’s screams drowned out the angry complaints of the book, and even now, as I drink my bourbon, the book continues to complain.

Oh well.

 #books #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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