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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
After a gruesome murder, the constable, Donner, must find the culprit.

Submitted: October 25, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 25, 2018




A sharp scream cut through the wintry air, sending an icy chill down Lizzie’s spine. The young girl spun from the fireplace and dropped the ladle in the pot of boiling stew. She eased over to the wooden door. Wind blew through the bottom crack with a whine mimicking the shrill cry from outside. As she reached her small hand out, the door opened.

Donner hurried inside. He shivered while brushing the snow from his shoulders.

“Poppa, what is going on out there?” Lizzie asked.

After unwinding his scarf, Donner bent at the waist and planted a warm kiss on his daughter’s forehead. “I don’t know, but I wanted to check on you before finding out.”

“The town needs their constable.”

“I know, dear.” Donner knelt in her line of sight. “But, I promised your mother that I’d look after you before anything…”

Lizzie stared blankly into her father’s droopy eyes. “What’s wrong, poppa?”

Donner pinched his lips together and swallowed the grief. He forced a thin-lipped smile and embraced the small child in his arms. “I promised I’d take care of you before anything else… before anything else.”

Donner!” a voice shouted from outside.


With his head down, Donner followed the rumblings of worried residents. The snow crunched beneath his worn boots. Snowflakes crashed against his long coat and piled along the brim of his bowler hat. Before entering the crowded area, he peered out of the corner of his eye.

To his left, a malnourished man sat near a dying fire, a raggedy Victorian ballgown fitted over his dirty long-johns. His arm draped over a boney dog while the other pulled the battered boot from his foot.

“What has happened, Gein…” Donner muttered to himself. His eyes fixed on the sick figure as though looking into a crystal ball, which foretold his own inevitable future.

With his barefoot in the snow, Gein bit into the tongue of his leather boot and yanked his head back in hopes of tearing off a piece. At his side, the hungry dog paced with a low growl.

Donner looked away, sighed. His breath reached out in the cold air like a gentle hand, pushing the crowd aside.

Noticing their constable, the residents quieted and stared back with hopelessness. Their jaws poked through their cheeks. Their clothes, dirty and torn, hung from their bodies as if previously worn by giants. Tears bubbled from their eyelids and acted as tiny mirrors for Donner, reflecting his own poor self as well.

The lane of solemn faces led to a woman named Dahlia. The raven-haired woman lay dead in the snow with her eyes wide open, staring toward her destination in the starry night sky. Her face appeared peaceful, calm, in contrast with her mutilated body. Her severed legs and detached left arm were piled next to her corpse. A strip of muscle kept her right arm dangling from the shoulder. Blood transformed the cold white snow into a warm red blanket.

Questions and accusations flooded Donner’s ears. He raised his hand, silencing the crowd. His eyes scanned the faces. “One at a time! Who found her?”

“I did.” Bundy stepped forward with his shoulders squared and chin in the air. Even in the mangled clothes of a peasant and a scraggly beard over his dirty face, he presented himself before the listeners with grace. He combed his fingers through his oily hair, straightened his wrinkled coat. “Hopefully, my heroic deed of scaring off the killer will not turn me into a suspect—”

“You saw who did this?” Donner asked.

“Well…” Mr. Bundy eyed the faces in the crowd. “It was dark, but I found her behind Gacy’s cabin.”

Gacy stepped forward. His round belly jiggled as he said, “Just because she died in the alley—”

“Shut up!” Bundy exploded in anger, breaking the shell of his gentlemanly act. “Everyone knows the rumors about you back in the old world, rumors about you sodomizing young boys.”

The onlookers gasped.

Bundy grabbed the pedophile’s collar and reared his fist.

Gacy cowered. “What does that have to do with me killing someone?”

“It shows that your mind is as warped as Gein’s.” Bundy shot a glance to the crazy man by the campfire.

Gacy freed himself from Bundy’s clutch. “Since you’re gonna accuse me, what were you doing out this late?”

“I did it?” Bundy asked. “I’m the one that alerted everyone.”

Good way to throw the attention off,” a voice said.

The townsfolk swung their heads to the accuser.

“After all, Bundy, don’t they call ya a lady-killer?” Dr. H. H. pushed his way through the crowd to Dahlia’s body and crouched at the victim’s side. After rubbing her soft cheek, he rolled his sleeves up and reached inside the girl’s gutted abdomen. “She’s missing a liver and…” He felt around some more. “…heart.”

Bundy charged the doctor. “I will not let you desecrate her body!”

“Hold on!” Donner stepped in Bundy’s path and looked back to the doc. “Why would the killer take that?”

“Whoever it may be… is, uh…” Doc shook his head at the disgusting truth. “…eating her.”

Murmurs rustled. In the back, an elder shrieked before fainting to the icy bed below.

“Now…” Donner patted down the crowd noise. “…hold on a sec—”

“No!” Bundy shouted. “Something has to be done!”

“I say we string up the one that obviously did it.” Gacy pointed to the crazy man near the small fire.

Gein laughed aloud while smacking on the rubbery texture of his boot. His dog howled at his side as if in on his master’s joke.

“It’s not Gein,” Donner said. “For Christ-sakes, he’s eating his boot. According to the doc, if he killed poor Dahlia, he’d be eating something different.”

Gacy frowned at the constable. “I’ve seen him dig up graves.”

“You’ve seen him?” Donner challenged the pedophile with a heightened brow.

“Well…” Gacy paused. “I’ve noticed graves unearthed.”

“Then how do you know he did it?”

“Could’ve been animals,” Doc said, “depending on how deep you bury them.”

“He talks to his dog!” Gacy flung his arms in the air and turned to the crowd, confounded. “I have seen that! And if I know anything about crazy—”

High-heels clunked on a wooden porch, gathering everyone’s attention.

On the staircase, a homely woman watched as the community swung open like a wooden gate, allowing a pathway to the body. She strutted over and glanced down upon her deceased friend. “I know who did it.”

Donner placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Who did it, Aileen?”

Aileen’s baggy eyes darted to Bundy. “You said you spotted the killer doing this tonight?”

Bundy nodded.

“Well, to make those cuts in the dark, to find the vital organs in a swipe…” Aileen’s eyes settled on the doctor. “…it must come from a practiced hand.”

The crowd inhaled a collective breath.

Doc hurried to his feet. Blood covered up to his elbow and dripped from his fingertips. “Say, what now?”

“Just stating the obvious,” Aileen said. “We know what you do in that inn of yours.”

Doc creased his brows.

“He dissects animals,” Bundy said to the townsfolk, “simply for the pleasure of it!”

Doc narrowed his eyes at Bundy. “You half-wit, you’ll thank me someday for practicing on these rodents!”

Bundy started after Doc, but Donner stepped between them once more.

“Yes, yes… that’s it.” Doc motioned to Bundy but spoke to the crowd. “Everyone knows Bundy’s wife left him before setting sail!” Doc then leveled Bundy with a cold stare. “She dropped you for a fuckin’ deckhand. A man like you, of high regard, dropped for a schmuck who makes peanuts. Must be embarrassing, soul crushing even. Ask me? You’ve been taking out your anger on lustful women ever since.”

“Dahlia wasn’t anything like my ex!” Bundy struggled to move past Donner.

“She was,” Doc said, “and she was known for it.”

“You’ve accused me twice now!” Bundy reached over Donner’s shoulder and pointed at the doctor. “Do it again and I will—”

“The doc is right,” Aileen said, cutting Bundy off. “Dahlia had a free spirit.”

A smile graced Doc’s face. He motioned toward Aileen as though seconding her sudden honesty. He relaxed his posture.

“And our beloved physician was known to visit Dahlia late in the evening…”

Doc’s smile lost its luster. He rolled his eyes, scoffed.

“I know. I lived with her. As I lay awake at night, I’d hear the window open and the quiet whispers of affection,” Aileen said. “Ask me, our doc became jealous with her ‘freedom’ and killed her. He’s the one who should hang for this!”

“Please. Don’t believe her.” Doc held his hand over his heart. “It is true. I did come to their cabin at night, but to say I was in love, or anything of the sort, is ridiculous.”

Aileen shook her head, not believing a word from him.

“What about you?” Doc inched closer to the woman. “Everyone knows you were abused as a child. What psychological damage that must’ve done.”

Aileen crossed her arms. “What does that prove?”

“That alone… nothing.” Doc looked to the crowd. “But! Combined with the fact that Aileen already murdered one of our residents…”

The words acted as a poker to the fire, and the crowd ignited with roars.

“That man tried to rape me!” Aileen shouted over the uproar. “And I did what was necessary to preserve my innocence.”

“Ha!” Doc cackled.

“I was acquitted by our dear constable,” Aileen yelled back.

“Everyone calm!” Donner tried to quiet them, but his voice blended with the loud buzz. He stepped to the center of the circle. “Calm… CALM!”

The noise died down into soft whispers.

“How can we be calm?” Bundy asked. “Several people have either moved, disappeared, or starved to death. Tell me, how are we to stay calm?”

“Our settlement is dwindling,” Gacy seconded.

“That’s why we should’ve brought seeds and farming utensils.” Doc aimed his finger at each individual in the group. “…instead of your confounding contraptions for digging gold!”

The crowd’s scattered animosity became unified and directed on the doctor.

“Am I wrong?” Doc asked. “What’s the point of finding riches when you can’t buy food with it? Over here things are different!”

“Enough!” Donner silenced them once again. “You’re right, doctor. We underestimated the living conditions of this new world. But there is nothing we can do about it now. We must carry on with the hand we have.”

“And, how are we to do that?” Aileen asked. “Not only are we fighting cold and starvation, now we have a killer on the loose.”

“I need to take her back,” Doc grumbled, staring into Dahlia’s light-green eyes. He nodded as if agreeing to her soul’s request before raising his gaze to the strange glares from surrounding faces. “I need to perform some tests, but I believe it will help find her killer.”

“No way, in hell, am I letting you perform experiments on her body, you sick bastard!” Bundy’s fingertips tickled the handle of his Snaphaunce firearm, dug into his waistband.

Gacy sharpened his eyes at Bundy and dropped his hand to the Matchlock gun on his hip. “Don’t you dare draw-down on our only doc!”

“Are you afraid I might discover something?” Doc asked Bundy.

“I told you not to accuse me again!” Bundy shoved Donner aside, withdrew his Snaphaunce, and fired. The black powder emitted a dark cloud, but Bundy stepped through the smoke and snarled at his wounded foe.

Doc’s distended eyes sailed downward to the crimson liquid oozing through his shirt. He palmed the chest wound and collapsed to his knees. He raised his bloody hand in the air as if trying to say one final peace. Before he could speak, his soul vacated the vessel, and his body crumpled face-first to the snow like a used wardrobe.

As the smoke cleared around Bundy’s head, Gacy raised his Matchlock and pulled the trigger. The bullet exited the steel tube and collided into Bundy’s temple, blowing a hole in his head. Blood sprayed the townsfolk and bits of brain hailed upon them.

The six-shooter dropped from Bundy’s loose grasp. His body teetered as the red life-source spurted from the bullet-hole and trickled down his cheeks. He blinked and fell backward onto the frozen ground with a loud thump.

With the echo of gunfire still ringing in the air, Donner drew his Flintlock and aimed it at Gacy. He sighed and squeezed the hammer, putting to rest Gacy’s weary soul as well.

The shot blew Gacy’s right ear clean off and exited through the left side of his neck. He clutched his wound. Blood trickled through the spaces of his fingers. He gasped, gargled, and collapsed to his side.

Donner walked over. He pointed his gun once again and released another and then another. The second one shattered Gacy’s jaw, but the third shot blasted open his forehead and put him to sleep.

The crowd stepped back in awe with looks of disgust toward their constable. However, one voice came to his defense, which silenced all others.

“The odds are…” Aileen gathered her voice after the shocking turn of events. She kept her eyes up and away from the gruesome bodies at her feet. “…one of these three was the killer. One was a quack doctor who experimented on dead bodies; the other, a deeply depressed man looking for vengeance against women who wronged him; the final one… a child molester. I say, we’re better off without them.”

Donner eyed Aileen, nodded at her with gratitude.

“We’ve been here for a year, and it was something none of us expected.” Aileen scanned the worried faces. Her voice gained strength as she continued. “But, who hunts? Who brings food every couple of days? Who has always been the rock for this ‘Plymouth?”

The townsfolk eased their stance.

“Who, you ask? Our constable.” Aileen gestured to Donner. “Nobody else is bringing food to the table. So I say his decisions are for the betterment of our settlement.”


At a table in the cozy cabin, Lizzie swirled the stew in her bowl with a wooden spoon. She just stared ahead. The flames in the fireplace danced and sparked in her absent gaze. The wet wood popped. As the door opened, she awoke from the daydream and spun in her seat.

Donner walked inside and stomped the snow from his boots.

“Everything okay, poppa?” Lizzie asked.

Donner nodded, but as he unraveled his scarf, he changed the topic. “How’s the stew, dear?”

Lizzie shrugged. “I should be thankful.”

“Yes. You should.” After removing his long coat, Donner twirled a chair around, sat backward, and rubbed his palms together for warmth. “Sometimes we have to do things that we’d rather not.”

“Like mother.” Lizzie dipped her spoon in the soup. “She was sick, and it was better that I just—”

“Stop…” Donner’s voice lacked energy. His eyes sparkled with tears as he caressed the side of her face.

Lizzie slurped the juices from her spoon and bit into the chewy organ.

“Let’s just—”

There was a knock at the door.

Donner twisted in her seat. “What do you want?”

The same thing, I think,” Aileen said from outside. “Can I come in?”

Donner sighed, scratched through his dark hair. He looked to his daughter. “Eat up.” He then stood from his seat and plodded over to the door.

As the door opened, Aileen scurried inside, holding herself close. She marched straight to the fire and leaned down in front of it. While warming her hands, she glanced over her shoulder at young Lizzie. “Is that good, child?”

Lizzie answered with a scowl.

“Do you know what you’re eating?” Aileen asked.

Lizzie’s fiery glare never strayed from Aileen as she scooped up another bite. After wiping her mouth on her sleeve, she lowered the utensil in the bowl, slouched back in her chair, and glanced to her father like a princess being bothered by a peasant.

“What are you tryin’ to say?” Donner asked Aileen.

“Please, constable, relax.” Aileen made her way to a small window in the back of the cabin. In the distance, snow blanketed a gloomy forest. “Most people might not notice. But, I do. Every time someone passes, after the funeral, you bring their bodies behind that tree line.”

“People watch me bury them.” Donner grabbed a butter knife from the tabletop.

“Like Gacy said, many graves have been unearthed. Sometimes it’s the day after a burial, but most times it’s the day before a big feast.” Aileen faced the window, but her eyes watched as Donner’s reflection crept closer. “That you so happen to provide.”

“If you don’t bury them deep, the snow on the graves will refrigerate the meat.” Donner inched closer with the blunt knife hidden behind his back. “Is that what you want to hear?”

“Yes, and I’m expecting a big feast tomorrow.” Aileen’s voice trembled as Donner’s heavy steps stopped right behind her. She closed her eyes and swallowed down her fear. “Some think our inner voice is just the devil poisoning our minds. Others, however, see it as God showing us a sign.”

“And, what do you think?” Donner’s grip tightened around the handle of the knife.

“Everyone must contribute… even the weak by way of food.” Aileen took in a sharp breath. “Yes. I think God has given us a way to survive.”

Donner relaxed his hold on the knife. “I think you’re right.”

Aileen’s eyelids fluttered. Relief rushed over her like a warm breeze. Her knees buckled. With a hand to her heart, she released a big breath. “Good… for a second there, I thought you—”

© Copyright 2019 MELEL. All rights reserved.

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