December 19, 1870


I knew this room.

I’d spent the night with my father and my cousin at the textile shop. Obadiah had put up a sign stating, Closed Until Further Notice, and we made the place our headquarters.

My father and cousin remained behind closed doors.

While I, as an unknown, could move about. There were none in town who knew me at my present age. I looked no older than sixteen and a young sixteen at that. No one would suspect I’d been alive for nearly two and a half centuries.

The previous evening, Obadiah had recommended the home of Mister Heinrich Lindt. He had, according to my cousin, a habit of speaking freely when plied with fine whiskey. And so, with a mouth full of lies, I knocked on the door to the Lindt home. In my free hand, I had a bottle of the man’s preferred drink, and my knife was tucked away.

When no one answered after the first knock, I tried once more, this time with a little more force.

The door opened of its own accord, and so did I.

The stench of death filled my nose, and I set the whiskey down on the floor and drew my knife.

I moved from room to room, keeping to the edges and listening for anything.

There was nothing.

I entered the last room on the first floor and felt my heart hammer against my chest.

I had seen this room before. In 1864, in a small town just outside of Philadelphia. There’d been a man in the room at the time, or what was left of him. He’d murdered his wife and the maid and had been in the process of feeding on them both when I came in. It took all twelve rounds from the Colts to put him down, and I suspected the same might be true in this when.

To the left of the chimney was a narrow door, beneath which a dried puddle of blood had spread into the room.

I eased the door open and found Mister Lindt.

Or what was left of him.

His face, bearing an expression of unmistakable horror, was the only bit of skin remaining. The rest of his body had been stripped, the offal lying in a pile beneath his ankles. I know not where his feet had been taken.

His hands were missing, too.

I sighed as I closed the door.

There were no answers here. Only more questions.

#paranormal #christmas

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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