“Almost a hundred disappearances in the last month. The police have no lead. No trace of evidence. No way to find the killer, or the kidnapper, or whoever. But not long ago, just one note
shows up. Scrawled on it are five words. Five simple words. Written in red ink. ‘I know where they are.’
It arrived just a week ago, crumpled in an old, yellowed envelope. The corners were bent and worn and the rain had made the return address nearly illegible. A few letters were clear, but the rest lay smeared on the paper, the red ink turning orange on the yellowed envelope. We have no idea what to think of it. Is it a joke? A childish prank? Or is this really what we need to find the killer? Do we play it safe or take our chances? We talk this over every day, not sure what to do. But we are desperate. We need to find the source of the disappearances.
After talking for countless hours about it, we have come to a decision. You will go. You will be the one to talk with the one who knows where they are. Please go tomorrow, at dawn. Report back to us as soon as possible. We need to know everything. Please, Detective; don’t disappoint us.”
I stand outside of the house. The rain pelts down on me as the dreary, cloudy, dim morning sets in. I stare at the door as I begin to approach it. It has an eerie feel to it. Ivy climbs up the cracked brick walls, and the windows are crisscrossed by thick iron bars. The yard is sparse and grey, and a tall dead oak looms over the entire property. The bark peels off of the tree in thin sheets.
Trying my best to ignore the appearance of the yard, I approach the door and lift my hand to knock it. My knuckles hit the door and a crack echoes throughout the yard. I stand there for a few seconds, and soon the golden knob turns slowly, and the door opens.
It seems like I’m looking into another world as the door opens and I can begin to see inside. The house is pitch black, but yet, I can see the walls and the floor clearly. Only the edges of the floor where they meet the walls lie hidden in a shadow. The air is bitter and thick, causing my eyes to water. I wipe them with my hand, and then my gaze shifts to the man who opened the door.
His face is thin and bony. His cheeks are hollowed, and his lips sit thinly below a narrow crooked nose. His hair is white and closely cropped, but yet, he shows no sign of old age. Maybe 30 years old. But his eyes are what catch me off guard. They are bright, piercing blue. They shine brightly against his pale, flawless skin. It’s odd that he has eyes so interesting, while having other features so plain. He seems almost sickly in a way, but still stands tall and straight. He must be at least six feet tall, but he’s thin, making his height seem more than it really is. Though his appearance is quite alarming, a trace of attractiveness lines his face.
“Are you Detective Logan?” He asks. His voice is gravely, but a strong Russian accent envelops his speech.
“Yes,” I say slowly nodding my head and pulling out my ID, but not taking my eyes off of his shining sapphires.
He glances at the ID and then leads me inside, peering out the door to make sure no one is around. He closes it and the light dims more. It is not pitch black as I had thought before, but it is still dim. I can only make out simple shapes of things. The air is still bitter, but now tastes stale and rotten, and I try my best not to breathe.
“Please, talk off your coat and hat. Put them on the coat rack in the corner.” He says. I squint and can barely make out the shape of one. I walk to it and begin to slide my coat off. As I reach it, it nags at my curiosity. It’s misshapen and bent. It has an odd texture to it, but I don’t pay too much attention to it. Everything about this place is odd. After placing my coat and hat on the rack, I pace back to the man, who motions me to sit at a misshapen table. I slowly pull out a deformed chair and sit. It’s uncomfortable, but I don’t say anything. I wish I could see, but the room is so dim, that I can barely see my hand in front of my face.
“I know where they are.” He says blankly. I straighten up.
“Please, tell me.”
“All ninety-nine of them. I know where all of them are.”
“Where?” I ask intently.
“Don’t get too excited, they’re all dead.”
“A-all of them?”
“Every single one.”
“How do you know this?”
“I cannot tell.”
“Please, we need this information. It’s of great importance.”
“I will not tell.”
“Then please, tell us. Do you at least know who the killer is?”
“Oh yes, I know very well.”
The stale air begins to choke me. I ask to open a window, but he refuses it. I lay my hands on the deformed table and continue to question him.
“So you know who it is?”
“But, I suppose you won’t tell me.”
“Correct, at least, not yet.”
“Then why do you bring me here if you refuse to give me any information!?” I say, slamming my hands on the table. It gives a little and I quickly lift them off, startled by the texture.
“Do you collect anything?” He asks.
“Wh-what does this have to do with anything?” I yell back, more angered than before.
”Tell me, do you collect anything. Are you a collector?”
“Well, yes. I collect stamps from other countries. But what does this have to do with the urgent matter at hand?” I raise my voice.
“Oh you will understand soon. You see, I am a collector. But, a collector of very, let us say, strange things.” He says.
“W-what do you mean? Please tell me.”
“Why tell, when I can show?” And as he says that, his hands fly to a lamp above him and the room is filled with light. The blood immediately drains from my face, and I feel dizzy and weak. I fall to the ground, the sticky, red ground, and try to cover my eyes, but the picture is burned into my mind. I try to keep calm, but panic takes over quickly, and I find it hard to think.
All around me sit dead bodies. But not just as bodies.
“I see you have taken an interest in my collection.” I cannot even reply and I try to keep from passing out. The bodies around me sit still, as rigor mortis has frozen them in time. But they do not sit as just bodies.
“Ah you see, I use them as furniture. They have many uses around here.” He says.
My head still feels light, but I try to stand up from the blood covered floor. I look to where I was sitting before; a dead man’s stiff body is broken and bent into a crude form of a backless chair, and at least three decomposing, bloody bodied are twisted and broken to make the table. But the worst part is their faces. They sit staring up, frozen in a silent scream, their eyes, wide and cold. Above me is a man, twisted and mangled into a crude chandelier, a few lights jammed into his eyes and hands.
“Please look around for yourself.”
I have no interest to, but I know I must to be able to catch this man. I stand and walk uneasily to the coat rack where my hat and coat hang. It hangs on a man’s fingers, but there seems to be fingers from other bodies sewn on. The man’s face stares back at me, cold and dead, but seeming to plead for help. I stare at it in sadness, but also in fear. Behind me, my hand moves to a curtain. It’s made of skin, and tattoos decorate it. A few pieces of bloody flesh and bone still hang onto the ‘curtain’. I peel my eyes from it and walk unsteadily from it.
“You’re a mad man!” I scream, beginning to lose my sanity myself.
“Call me what you like,” He says blankly. I can no longer speak, so he does. “All ninety-nine of them are in here, in this house. The ninety-nine pieces of my collection. Some are beds, some are chairs, and some are lamps and tables or curtains. But you see it is not complete.”
I shake my head, and cover my eyes with my now blood covered hands.
He walks out of the room for a moment and then returns grasping a knife firmly in his hand.
“I need one hundred to complete my collection.”
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