Submitted into Contest #212 in response to: Set your story in a post office.... view prompt


Crime Mystery Fiction

This story contains sensitive content

***Trigger Warning: This story contains themes and descriptions of murder and violence that may be distressing for some readers.***

On Tuesday, Kade walked into his job at the local post office. The job suited him; it fit his personality. He stayed in the back sorting mail and occasionally got packages for the front clerk girl. 

Today, he planned to do extra cleaning around the back room. So he came in a little early. He wanted to prove to his boss that he was good at this job. 

Passing the clerk girl, Brandi, today, she gave him a wide smile as he passed through to the back. Kade didn't smile back; that is awkward. He did nod, though; that was polite. 

These young girls who consistently work the front desk usually pay him no mind. That is another thing about this job Kade liked. He was almost invisible; that's perfect.

He rolled up his sleeves in the back room and picked the long table he always referred to as his desk as his starting point for his little project. 

The back room was windowless, crowded with shelves and tables, and plenty of space for things to fall and become forgotten. Kade himself had lost dozens of pens under the tables. 

Looking at all the papers and containers on his 'desk' made the task daunting. Suddenly, Kade thought this could be a horrible idea. He could be signing his resignation letter by trying to do extra work. He never put himself out there for that exact reason. You never know how people will react to things. It's always better to err on the safe side. 

Kade squeezed his eyes shut and blocked out those thoughts. He had made this plan. He will stick to it. Nothing wrong with some extra cleaning. 

Kade spent an hour organizing the letters and paperwork on his desk. That is enough for today. He does not want to seem too ambitious. Turning away and aiming for the coffee station, he mentally patted himself on the back for a well-done job. 

With a mug of steaming coffee, Kade headed back to his desk. He will need to go over the list and sort through the letters. On his desk was a postcard that definitely was not there when he left for the coffee. Kade looked around, but no one was back there. 

Picking up the postcard, he went to ask Brandi if she had put it back for him. Kade stopped mid-stride; the postcard had his name on it. This card was addressed to him. Flipping the card over, he glanced at the image on its front, a generic postcard from his town of Gananoque. It showed little islands full of green trees surrounded by water. 

The message was written in a fancy cursive script and short:

'Uncover my ear on the island depicted within this card's frame.'

"The heck.." Kade blurted out as a chill ran down his spine. 

He read and reread the card. What was this person trying to tell him? They needed to be more clear. Ignoring the chill he got from the message, Kade folded it into the stack of random letters he kept on his desk. 

Kade returned to work, and within the next hour, he completely forgot about the weird postcard. 


The following day, Kade walked through the storefront. Brandi was working again. Again, she smiled at him, and again he nodded back. 

Kade did some extra cleaning; he moved the large metal tables today and swept out everything hiding underneath. He gathered all his new, slightly worse-for-ware pens and stashed them into his little pen cup. 

Brimming with pride, he treated himself to a well-deserved coffee. On his return to his desk, he noticed another postcard sitting with the picture up. He flipped the card over, and yes - it was addressed to him again. Flipping the card over to look at the image, it was a campground picture. He knew this place; he hadn't been camping since his youth, but he did recognize the site in the image. 

The message, in the same script as the first one, read: 

'Discover my tongue's silent testament under the fire pit.'

Kade was starting to feel sick. Bile was crawling up his throat. He rushed out to the storefront. 

"Brandi?" He said, his voice rough and a little sharper than he intended. 

Brandi was startled, and her reply was a squeaked "yes?"

"Who came into the back?" Kade demanded.

Brandi flinched, unused to him interacting with her. Or maybe he needed to fix the tone of his voice like he wanted. That is not even important right now. He only needs to know who put this on his desk. 

"No one," she replied. 

"Someone did." Kade booms back. 

Brandi's eyes grew wide. He may have lost all control of his voice at that time. So he repeated it but softer.

"I didn't see anyone go into the back." She looks at him questionably, a little squint to her eye. 

She wants to know what made him upset. Kade would not tell this child his business. The cards are addressed to him, not her. So he retreats to his desk. 

He lined up the two cards so they were together. The campsite was closer than that island. He will go there tonight to clear his mind from the creepy crawlies clinging to him now. 


After his day of work, Kade drove his pickup truck to the location he knew from the postcard. Kade opened his door and stepped out into the dusky night air. 

Kade had a smile on his face. The smells of decaying fish and algae hung in the air. It smelled of childhood memories spent out here in the wilderness. He would always leave the campsite whenever possible, while most people chose to hang around the designated spots where people paid to set up their tents. That was not fun to Kade; he preferred to be away from the other people. 

As he stood there, Kade took out the postcard. He brought them with him. That was the best thing to do now that there were two. He would not leave them on his desk for the nosy clerk Brandi to find. 

Kade grabbed his shovel out of the bed of his truck and walked to the fire pit. He held up the postcard, confirming the picture was of this spot. It was. 

Well, Kade needs to check under this fire pit. So he started digging. The top layer was all ashes. He fanned his scoops out when he dug them out. So, the dirt was in a single layer. So that nothing could hide from him. 

He paused and wiped his brow on his plaid button-up shirt sleeve. It had been a long time since he did anything resembling exercise. It is embarrassing that he broke a sweat already. 

Kade used to be able to run like a wild coyote. Streaming past trees like he was the wind. He was an older man now, and living in the past was useless. 

Kade dug and fanned the dirt out, repeating the process for twenty minutes. What was he expecting to find? Kade doesn't even know. He just knew that he needed to come and look. 

Well, that's enough of that; he needed to get back and go to sleep. 

He cursed under his breath at the waste of time this whole thing was. He did not even bother to try to return the firepit to its original condition. He got into his truck and turned it on. 

The lights beamed over the area. Kade had not even noticed it had gotten that dark out—an absolute waste of time. He started slowly pulling out, seeing a lump on the ground—the patch where he had been fanning the dirt. 

He stopped the truck and sat looking at that clump of dirt. From here, he could not tell if it was a rock or soil in a lump. Was it worth getting out of his truck again to look? 

Kade jammed the truck into the park and threw open the door. It protested with a sharp, crunching noise, but Kade had to see this through completely. He would wonder if he were to leave now, and Kade didn't want any other crap on his mind. 

Stamping over to the clump, and stood over it. It looks like a solid brown clump—just dirt. Kade gave it a quick toss with the toe of his boot. The lump of dirt did not collapse into nothing and did not roll smoothly away. It felt soft to his toed boot. Standing up straight, he looked around. 

That sick feeling was creeping back up his throat. Kade did not like this; what do you do in situations like this? Kade doesn't know. 

He needed to get help. He returned to his truck and grabbed a bag from the passenger side floor. Dumped out the garbage it held and then went back to the 'clump.' He picked it up with the pack, as you would pick up a pile of dog pooh. Then Kade tied the bag. 

He drove back into town but stopped at the police building before heading home. He had handed the lady at the desk the bag and the cards. He explained everything he could. 

Later, Kade decided he needed to call in for work in the morning. He had spent hours at the police station and could not escape the chilling feeling that gripped his heart. Maybe this is what a heart attack feels like. He will inform his boss and sleep all day tomorrow.


Kade had spent his sick day yesterday in bed until he received a call from a man investigating this new case Kade had brought in. He had asked a few more simple questions and had arranged a meeting. 

Today, Kade had gone to work like normal. He walked past the front clerk girl, not Brandi today, but someone new. She didn't smile at Kade, so he did not acknowledge her. 

Once in the back room, Kade noticed his boss, Ted, was locked away in the private office. That office was always kept locked unless Ted was in there. 

Ted turned as Kade walked by. It was too late for hellos, so Kade kept walking to his desk. Once there, he scanned the desk area without moving his head. Kade didn't need people to know he was looking for more postcards. 

Nothing new. So, Kade continued with his work. After his first break, Ted was waiting at Kade's desk. 

"Kade, I didn't expect you in today," Ted said sternly. 

Kade turned to the schedule tacked to the wall without replying. He scanned it and pointed at his shift marked for today. 

"I work today." He whispers out. 

"You have been gone for three days, Kade." Ted completely ignores Kade's figure, which points to his shift. So he drops his hand. 

Kade tried to recall the past three days. He might have slept through three complete days. He had been drained. So Kade ignored Ted and went back to organizing the mail. What did Ted want him to say? 

"Kade." Ted puts his hand on Kade's shoulder, pressing hard, indicating he wants Kade to turn around to face him.

Kade turns around and then gives the man a shrug. Ted was younger than Kade but had a family with three kids at home. His sentimental side had helped Kade land this job. Kade did not want to lose this job, so he had to think of something to say. 

"This is the last time you skip work days." Ted continues without letting Kade finish his thought. "You call no-show again, and I'll have to fire you."

Kade stands staring at this man who thinks it's okay to threaten him. 

"I will miss no more days." Kade agrees to the terms. He can never call in sick again. That's okay; he just needs to get Ted away from him so he can return to work. 

"I like this job," Kade says. Ted had already started to walk back to his office, so he was unlikely to hear his little remark. 


Later that day, Kade returns to his desk from one of his jaunts to the coffee stand. He hovers his coffee over the little coaster he made from a cardboard box; there is something on his coaster—another postcard. 

Kade backs up and gets away from the desk. His coffee was still held out in front of him. He will not read that card. 

Kade runs. He dropped his coffee, splattering it all over the floor, which caused Ted to emerge from his office, who then gave Kade a look of disgust. So Kade ran away from it all. He did not need any of those things in his life.

He went home. He packed his bag. He got into his truck, and he left.  


Kade sits in the back of a police car. He smiles to himself. He had been living out in the woods. No one had told him how long he had been gone yet. 

They were driving him back into town; he stumbled over someone's property who caught him on a security camera. That is how the police found him. They wanted to talk to him. He must have been gone for a while; his beard had grown entirely out. He scratched at it now. He didn't like beards; they itched. 

As Kade watched the police station pull into view, he thought about his time in the wilderness. Not too many memories came to mind; some boiling of water he did remember. Kade laughed to himself as he remembered how it tasted like crap anyways. The cop, who now walked with him into a room inside the building, gave him an odd look. 

Kade sat at a little metal table, the type of table his desk had been when he worked at the post office. They probably wouldn't want him back. Kade would ask anyway.

A lady cop comes into the room sometime after and sits on the other side of the table. Kade folds his arms on the table's edge as if this was his desk. He waits for her to talk. 

"Some time back, Mr. Kade," She starts, "You handed in an item at the front desk. Do you remember?"

Oh yes, he never really looked at the item clearly and just expected the police would know what to do with it. Kade nods in confirmation. 

"Do you mind reminding me how you came about the tongue?" She asks, ducking her eyes to scan some papers on the clipboard she grasped. 

Well, looks like it had been a tongue. Kade assumed obviously that it had been, or why would he have dropped it off at the police station? 

"Postcards came for me," Kade tells the officer, although he is positive she already knows the answer. 

She nods without looking up. She then proceeded with an examination of Kade. She asked millions of questions, saying she wanted to get a read on his mental health. Kade answered all her questions, and she left him alone with his metal desk. 

Kade was in this room for an impossibly long time. He stood up and paced the room. The door clicked open, and a male officer peeked his head in. He smiled at Kade and held out a small bag of plain lays chips. 

"There was no ketchup." He says with a shrug. Kade takes the chips. He was hungry and glad to shut his stomach up from its rumbling. He hated Ketchup chips, so he was happy to be given this one instead. 

"Just another moment for that, Dr. Pepper." The guy turns to leave, but Kade stops him. 

"Just a water." Kade hates the bubbles that are in fizzy pop drinks. He doesn't understand how people like to have their mouths assaulted like that. 

The officer gives him a strange look but nods and leaves. 

Later, when Kade is back to sitting at his desk, the female officer comes back for a visit. She doesn't bother sitting down. Instead, she slams down the two postcards he handed in with the tongue. 

Kade looks at them and then back at the lady. Seeking some guidance, he waits for her to talk. 

"These are the postcards you handed in, correct?" She asks. 

Kade looks at them again and then nods his head. Yes, these are the cards he remembered clearly. 

"Did you send these to yourself?" She barks out sharply. 

Kade recoils, "no." he states. 

She slams down a few more postcards. 

"What about these?" She asks; five more cards join his two. 

Kade looks at these new cards but does not recognize them, so he shakes his head slightly. 

"Your old boss found these cards stashed with some of your stuff." She steps back and crosses her arms, still standing over Kade. "He has a video of you writing these notes yourself."

Kade looks up at her in complete confusion. He never wrote on these cards. 

"You sent these to yourself, Kade!" She sounds exasperated.


Later, Kade sits in a cell. Alone. He is being charged with murder. 

One of his personalities had been skipping work to become a murderer. While another one seems to be a rat, sending Kade messages in the form of postcards. 

Typical really. 

He had been on a wild goose chase, running after himself. Following clues to uncover pieces of a person he had previously buried.

Kade let out an uncontrollable laugh.

August 24, 2023 03:38

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.