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Mystery Fiction Horror

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

It’s 90 degrees in the shade today, and even hotter in the middle of the city. This is the fourth bag of trash that Jay has taken outside. He doesn’t understand why anyone would eat this slop. His apron is stained, and his hair is greasy from the air inside the building. He hates this job. No one seems to out with a guy that always smells like food. He had dreams of becoming a great writer one day. Or even just a decent one. He was pushing 33 and wasn’t so sure that was going to work out for him now. Such is life. The job paid the bills and not having anyone around nagging all the time meant he was able to do whatever he wanted no questions asked. Three more hours and he was free for the day and the next two days that he had off.  He noticed something under the streetlight when he turned to go back inside. He looked both directions to see if anyone was around, and walked over to check it out. It was a small brown leather-bound book just laying there in the middle of the alley. He bent down to pick it up. It was pretty worn, and whoever owned it had had it for quite some time. He took it inside with him and set it on the shelf next to the exit door, so he would remember to grab it on his way out. Maybe there was a name or something inside and he could return it to who it belonged to. 

Once the clock struck 11:00, Jay punched the clock and grabbed the little book before he walked out the door. He had about four blocks to walk until he reached his apartment. This part of the city was getting worse, he thought. This area was a lot safer and a lot more fun when he was a kid. He knew the area well, though, and he knew what areas to avoid. On his walk home there was always a guy named Carl who hung out by one of the worse for wear apartment buildings. Jay always brought him a little something to eat on the nights that he worked. Tonight, he didn’t see Carl in his usual spot, though. He just kind of shrugged it off and kept heading for home. The elevator was always breaking in his building so these days he didn’t even check it anymore. He just headed straight to the stairs. He lived on the fourth floor, room 402. He’s been there for going on five years now. It wasn’t a great place, but it was his place and he was pretty proud of that. He tossed the book on the table in the living room as soon as he got inside. First thing first, a beer and a shower to try to wash the grease off. He liked the idea that he hadn’t opened the book yet. It was a mystery and he loved mysteries. Once he was all cleaned up, he could relax and really be curious if he wanted. Twenty minutes later he piled on the couch with another cold beer and opened the cover of the book. 

Property of Henry R. Filler

He flipped through the pages, and the book was practically full. There were dates above a lot of what was written, and he thought it may be a diary or journal of some kind. He closed the book and was starting to think twice about reading someone else’s musings. He laid his head back on the couch and scrunched his eyes, and he gave in. What’s the worse that could happen? Other than the owner’s name, there was no other way to see who it was or where to return it unless he maybe looked through it. He opened the book back, took a drink of his beer, and started at the first entry.

October 11, 1993

She didn’t even see me coming! It was the best day ever. I was very nervous at first, but I knew it was what I needed to do to cure that craving I have had for so many years. I had been planning for a while what I wanted to do with her. I have kept an eye on her for almost 6 months now. Made sure I knew when she worked and when she came home. She didn’t have any children or pets, which was very important. She was about 5’3 and didn’t weigh but maybe 100 pounds. Dark hair and eyes. She had a red scarf around her neck tonight. A beautiful red scarf. She had just gotten out of a movie that she went and watched alone, which she wasn’t alone. I was in the back row with her the entire time. I followed her to the exit and she never knew. She walked about 3 blocks until the streetlights ran out. I grabbed that pretty red scarf and pulled her into the dark. She never saw a thing. I think I am going to be very good at this. We’ll call her A.

Jay looked at the entry again and quick read over it again. “Is this for real?” He thought. The entry disturbed him a little, but he didn’t read too much into it. It did make him curious enough to read a couple more entries.

December 6, 1996

This guy really had it coming. I had been dealing with him for too long to take it anymore! I enjoyed this very much. I had my fill of the constant complaining of the smell coming from my place. He had even called the landlord about it, and I just can’t have that. Everything will have to be moved to a safer place now. He caused me a lot of unnecessary work! I will also be moving and he will no longer be an issue. After he was subdued, I put him in the trunk of my car. No one will think to look for him where he is now. He will not be coming with me like the rest. Wretched waste!

Jay skipped ahead several pages with a stunned look on his face. The entries were short and there were a lot of them.

May 22, 2021

This girl was not as easy to deal with. I had been watching her only a couple weeks and she spotted me a time or two. I tried to play it off as coincidence, but she was smarter than I gave her credit for. Feisty one, she was. I caught up with her at the park when she went into the wooded patch. No one saw or heard anything. I snuck up ever so slowly, and with her headphones in she never heard it coming. The crack on her head was louder than I had imagined. I never did it this way before. I placed the bag over her head and carried her to my car parked on the other side of the wooded patch and took her to where she needed to go. She will not be found.

January 5, 2022

Today was a close one. My age is going to get the best of me, if I am not careful. I let one get away out of my own need for survival. I played it off as she complained to the cop. I used the old I’m an old man bit. I’m confused. He bought it. He walked me home and told me to take care of myself, which I had to laugh at once I closed the door. She was a horrible woman. It all worked out for the best. 

June 14, 2023

This homeless guy has been a nuisance to me for weeks. Always begging for something. I had it tonight. Can’t even walk in this city without these people bothering you. As soon as he started, I pulled the syringe out of my front pocket and put it straight in his neck. No one would be the wiser. I drug him into the alley by the building and covered him with some bags of trash. Homeless drug addict that took a little too much. That’s all.

Jay sat there on the couch dumbfounded. Surely, this is just someone’s attempt to make notes for a story or something. As an amateur writer himself, he had done similar things to try and keep story ideas fresh in his mind. He never dated anything like this though. These entries went back 30 years. He decided to close the book and head to bed. These were things he didn’t want to read anymore.

Jay returned to work two days later, and brought the book with him. He sat it on the shelf next to the exit door. On his first trip taking the trash out, he saw a man standing in the alley. He was about sixty or so with black slacks and a brown jacket. He had on running shoes and his hair was long and disheveled. He was in very good shape for his age. “Can I help you with something guy? Are you lost or something?” Jay started to approach the man. “No young man, I am not lost. I believe I may have misplaced something around here a couple days ago though. Did you happen to come across a little brown leather book?” Jay looked at him and the man just smiled. “I may have. What is your name sir?” The man approached Jay and put his hand on his shoulder and looked him straight in the eyes. “My name is Henry R. Filler and I would like my book back now.” A chill ran through Jay and he just slowly started to nod his head up and down. “I have been collecting short story ideas for over 30 years and it is very important that I have it back, you see?” The old man lowered his hand and stepped back a couple steps from Jay. Jay felt relieved. Thank goodness that’s all it was. This guy looked completely harmless. “Cool. I am a bit of a writer myself. Let me grab it for you, Mr. Filler.” The man stood there with his hands in his pockets while Jay retrieved the book. Jay walked out and handed it to him. “Some of that stuff is pretty dark man, and it seemed like real stuff that happened. It’ll be a hell of a book one day if you ever decide to do anything with it.” The old man looked at him and smiled. “Thank you, son, it’s been a long time but I could still do something with it, I guess. Thank you for letting me have it back. Take care now.” He acted as if he was tipping a hat that wasn’t there and turned and walked away. Jay just kind of shook his head and went back in to work. Quitting time rolled around and Jay headed out the door for his walk home with Carl’s food in a bag. Carl still wasn’t in his usual spot. Jay started to get concerned. What day was it, when he last saw him? It was June 14, he remembered. He hoped Carl was okay, he was a really nice guy. 

He turned the corner that came up to his building, when he suddenly bumped into someone. It was a man standing there “Sorry man. I didn’t see you there,” he apologized. The man just smiled. “Oh, it’s no trouble. I knew you were coming.” Jay looked at him thinking that was a strange thing for him to say. “Hey, you’re the guy from earlier, right? With the book of story ideas?” The man nodded, “Yes that was me. I knew you would remember. That’s why I wanted to run into you, again. Walk with me. You see, I can’t have someone walking around knowing my story ideas. What if you decided to steal them? I couldn’t have that.” Jay started to feel uneasy and tried to walk away. The man grabbed his arm and Jay felt a sharp pain in his ribcage. He collapsed and blacked out. When he woke, he knew he was inside of something. He heard a car start up, and realized he was in the trunk. He knew almost immediately that he would soon become the next entry in the leather-bound book of short story ideas.

May 24, 2023 18:36

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9 comments

Unknown User
09:52 Sep 14, 2023

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Shannon C.
16:57 Sep 14, 2023

Thank you so much Joe! Been in a bit of a drought lately.......I appreciate your kind words. The darker side is what I am drawn to. It's hard for me to tap into at times with the fear of what people may think.......I'm so happy you enjoyed it. I like when people enjoy the dark ones, they are the ones I enjoy writing the most.

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Unknown User
17:27 Sep 14, 2023

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Shannon C.
19:34 Sep 15, 2023

❤ - Thanks Joe!

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Matthew Guerrero
03:44 May 30, 2023

I loved this, and was also a little disappointed it ended. I feel this story could be fleshed out in a full length novella, because the limit here stopped its progression and made it out to be what it was just a short story, and the ending fell a little flat because of it. All around great read, kept me interested and wanting to know what was going to happen next.

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Shannon C.
11:46 May 30, 2023

Thanks so much for the feedback and the kind words.

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19:30 Jun 28, 2023

I completely agree with Matthew. I enjoyed this story and was on the edge of my seat. I would loved to have had there be more, but with that being said you nailed it. Gripping and nail biting.

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J. D. Lair
00:50 May 30, 2023

Very clever take on this prompt!

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Shannon C.
01:03 May 30, 2023

Thank you!

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RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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