1931: In the Chamber


I wonder how many he’s killed.

He never heard me enter the room, which was fine with me. I was tired and in no mood for any sort of conversation. Still, the apparatus and the equipment caught my eye, and I wondered whose skulls he’d decorated his laboratory with.

I didn’t know what any of the material might have been used for or if he was particularly attached to those skulls. Perhaps they were patients he had been fond of. Perhaps he had simply enjoyed watching them die.

As I stood in silence, the machinery of the room rattling and thrumming around me, I watched the man putter around the lab. Every so often, as the noise of the machines sank for a moment, I would catch a bit of a classical piece. I knew it, somehow, but couldn’t quite place it.

That, too, I found to be irksome.

I glanced about the room as the man went about his business, and off in one corner, I saw several notebooks. Whether they contained any information which might be useful, I didn’t know. But I planned on finding out.

Just as soon as I was done with the scientist.

I took a quiet step forward and paused as he lifted up a skull. He sang to it, kissed its brow and stated, “You were nearly there, my dear. Another month and you would have given birth to a live one.”

He returned the skull to its place and lifted another. “And you, sweet Gillian, you died in childbirth, as did your unnatural offspring. Its lungs collapsed even as yours exploded.”

The man placed Gillian’s skull down and clasped his hands behind his back. He lowered his chin to his chest.

“My dear ladies,” he whispered. “It is a sad sacrifice you make but a necessary one. I wish you could have understood this fact while still alive, but I hope, through the clarifying lens of death, that you know it now. I will continue. I will use your sacrifice to guide me to our salvation.”

The man was mad, not cruel.

A lunatic, not a sadist.

I stepped up behind him, clapped one hand over his nose and mouth, and pulled back as I cut his throat.

His blood spilled out and splattered on the floor, and I laid him on it. I waited with him while he died.

He was mad and deserved that kindness.

#paranormal #mystery

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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