1931: Conversation


He didn’t want to talk to me.

Before I left the woman’s office, I finished the tea and a few biscuits I found in a tin on her desk.

With her tongue wrapped in a bit of linen, I left the room and found myself in a hallway similar – though subtly different – the Miskatonic I was familiar with. A dozen doors stood on either side of the wide hall, and all were closed. Lamps, with dimly lit electric light bulbs, hung between each door. A runner, new from its appearance, ran the length of the hallway, inviting all who entered to travel its length.

Brass nameplates were affixed to each door, and below the nameplates stood knockers of various sorts. One was a Chinese dragon, another the head of a bull. A noxious odor hung in the air, and I was reminded more of disinterred corpses than I was of higher education. In the stillness of the hall, I waited and listened.

My patience was rewarded when I heard a muffled cough come from a closed-door halfway down the hall. I walked along the runner to the door, saw the name “Garfield, H.” in bold, gothic script, and the knocker beneath it was a closed fist.

I knocked twice with the fist, and a moment later, a sharp “Come!” greeted me.

I opened the door and found a man bent over a table, measuring the distance on a map. Without looking up, he snapped, “I’ve been waiting a damned long time, Jon, and I’d like to know why.”

I closed the door and threw the tongue onto the map. The linen opened, the tongue tumbled out, and blood smeared across the map.

H. Garfield straightened up and looked at me in horror, his face pale.

“I don’t like it when people won’t talk,” I told him.

His eyes went from me to the Colts to the tongue and back to me.

“I don’t know anything about her,” he whispered.

I raised an eyebrow. “Well, you seem to know why I’m here.”

His body convulsed, and he took a tottering step back. “No, no, I don’t.”

“Professor Garfield,” I said, drawing a revolver. “I don’t believe you.”

The man’s eyes rolled up into his head, and he pitched forward, striking the floor hard enough to shatter his nose.

Keeping the Colt aimed at him, I reached down and rolled him over.

The bastard had died.

#paranormal #mystery

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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