5:53 AM January 1, 1931

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Louisa Schuler had an eye for books.

I usually saw Louisa in Von Epp’s Books, shopping for a particular title. It was often one she knew nothing about.

“I have a feeling, Mr. Blood,” she would tell me with a knowing smile.

She would move among the shelves, hand gliding across the bindings, and invariably she would stop upon a title and pluck it from its brethren. The book could be a solitary copy, or it might be one of a dozen.

Whatever it was, the book was important to her.

On a Friday morning, I went into Von Epp’s and Kristoph von Epp was in a state. He’d not seen Louisa for the better part of the week, and this was unusual for her. I only succeeded in calming him down when I promised I would go directly to her home on Olive Street and make certain she was well.

When I reached her small, well-kept house, I saw that the situation was bad.

All the curtains were drawn, and there was no smoke coming from the chimney, despite the chill of the day. A knock on her door did not receive an answer, nor did the ringing of the bell.

I tried the handle, only to find it locked, and I drew my Colts as I went around the house. Every curtain was drawn, and only silence greeted me as I knocked upon the glass and called to her. The neighbors peered out, and I waved them away as I reached the back of the house.

The back door was locked too, but I did not hesitate to force it open.

The smell of death smashed into me, trying to shove me out.

I pushed my way into the kitchen, past an unfinished meal and a stack of books on the table’s center. In the dim light of the hallway, I followed the stench to the parlor and found Louisa on the floor.

She was dead, stripped bare and bound by thread to the floor. Her slight frame was pierced a thousand times, and miniature boots had left bloody prints from her corpse to the book at her side.

Gulliver’s Travels.

As I lifted the book from the floor, a single Lilliputian tumbled out, rapier in hand.

I ground him beneath my heel.

The book is with me now, and every year or so, I give it a shake. When a Lilliputian emerges, they meet the same fate as the first.

Little bastards.

#books #horrorstories #supernatural

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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