1931: How Many


How many had they killed?

I had rested in the room of the madman. I’d even found a bit of food tucked away and some tepid tea. Neither had been particularly appetizing, but it’d done the trick. I’ve eaten worse, and I suspect I’ll do so again.

When I left the madman’s room, I passed through one nearly as large as a football field and found a flight of stairs that led down. The stairs were wider, and the stairwell itself was well-lit.

At the landing, I paused and listened, knife in hand. There was a bit of talk, and a quick glance around the corner showed a trio of soldiers walking away from me, chuckling and passing a small, brown paper bag back and forth. A door to the right clicked shut. On the center of the door was a single word.


That sure as hell didn’t sound like barracks.

Once the soldiers turned a corner, I crossed the hall and let myself in.

I found myself in a brightly lit room with shelves lining the walls. Some of the shelves were occupied by large jars, others by much smaller containers. A counter, much like one might find in a candy shop, stood across the room and was manned by a gentleman with a white uniform. He wore a neatly trimmed mustache, and sweat broke out upon his forehead when he caught sight of me.

There was a lock on the door, so I made good use of it.

He remained still and silent as I walked to him.

I went to speak, but my eyes caught the lettering on some of the larger containers.

H. Daily, 10/1/1889.

L. Bartleby, 9/3/1856.

My gaze went to the smaller jars.

Carried three months, uterine explosion.

Carried six months and two days, collapse of both lungs.

“Take one down,” I whispered.

The man nodded, took hold of a container marked A. Boone, 2/27/1901, and removed the lid.

“Dump it.”

He winced and did as I commanded.

White hard candy with black swirls tumbled and clattered across the counter.

“You should try one,” he said, voice shaking. “They’re quite good.”

I stared at him, the hatred rising.

“Every girl tastes different,” he continued. “No two are alike. I make sure of that.”

I broke every bone in my hands, beating him to death.

It was worth it.

#paranormal #mystery

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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