Part 4 of My Horror Novel

Part 1, 2, and 3. To recap: Jessica and Stephen were attacked by an evil force after they moved into the old Saint Charles Berkeley Hospice for the Criminally Insane. Monte Carlo, Jessica’s twin sister, tried to hire Detective Bryan Mantis to investigate. However, this wasn’t the first time Bryan had crossed paths with Berkeley. It was the second.

Detective Bryan Mantis walked straight out of the police academy and saw a 1973 Ford Cortina and didn’t react because that was a very appropriate car to be driving in this time period. He pulled his iPhone 6 Plus out of his pocket and checked the year—1974. Bryan sighed and reminded himself he was living in the mid-seventies. The Beatles had just broken up, Richard Nixon had resigned as president, there was a gas shortage, and director John Singleton had just released 2 Fast 2 Furious to widespread critical acclaim.

Suddenly, Bryan’s pager lit up. It was a call. His first case! It was the old Berkeley Hospice for the Criminally insane—apparently it had been decommissioned and a young couple had moved in with their even younger son, who would grow up to be homeless. Everything had been fine for a couple hours, until there was some sort of disturbance. The RCMP investigated, and it looked like the wife had exploded the husband and then ran off herself. Bryan wasn’t so sure. He couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something missing, some part of the story that didn’t add up.

“This story doesn’t add up,” Bryan reminded himself.

*

“Your story doesn’t add up,” Bryan told no one in particular as he strode into the atrium of the house. It was a horrifying sight. It was like people were the green innards of the avocado, smashed by the great potato masher of fate.

Bryan took a moment to pray and, for a second, it seemed to banish away the evil of the house. He thought to his darling new wife Amy safe, home, alive, in the year 1974. He hoped she would never have to see this.

Bryan looked across the atrium. Aside from the general disorder of the crime scene and the strange meat hooks hanging from the ceiling and all the unsettling religious iconography (like a weird Roman Jesus covered in snakes) and the catatonic boy shaking in the corner and the strange unidentified body strapped to a surgical gurney that for some reason no one appeared to be investigating and the strange amount of knives just sort of lying around and the conspicuous maniacal laughter coming from the basement, the whole house seemed normal and quiet.

However, Bryan had a sneaking suspicion that something was amiss, and when Bryan had a sneaking suspicion he was never wrong.

“I have a sneaking suspicion something’s wrong,” Bryan exclaimed. Why would a wife explode her husband and then explode herself? To cover up the crime? It doesn’t make sense. What could make a human being explode like that?

*

Bryan finished examining the bodies. In addition to being a detective, Bryan was a trained doctor, mortician, and part-time lawyer. Upon examining the corpses, Bryan determined the cause of death to be explosion. However, something was amiss. It was clear from the atrium and the location data on the couple’s iPhones that they hadn’t died in the atrium, they’d been killed in the basement. Bryan knew whatever answers he would find were in that indifferent basement. Bryan sighed, pulled out his police-issued colt pistol-thingy and descended the stairs.

*

Bryan flicked the light switch on. It looked like a normal basement in the year 1974. An insuite washer and dryer, a MacBook pro with Retina Display, an inverted cross, a sacrificial mound, a bloody sac, a 1979 Ford Pinto, a bookshelf, and, of course, the requisite Apple EarPods. On first glance everything seemed in order. It was only when Bryan took a second and third look at the bookshelf and noticed there was only one book—The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton.

Bryan gasped.

It couldn’t be real. Bryan knew that The Wealthy Barber wouldn’t be released until the year 1989 and as you know the year was 1974 so this couldn’t be real. Bryan grabbed the book and, once again, gasped.

The bookshelf gave way to a secret passage-way and Bryan descended deeper into the house.

*

Bryan emerged into a large cobblestone chamber. Everything smelled like rotten meat and it looked like a Wikipedia page on medieval torture devices.

This smell is what happens if you leave avocados in the sun for days, but with people, Bryan thought to himself, not exactly landing the simile.

Bryan walked past the fiery brazen bull and the bloody iron maiden and the rusty guillotine into the center of the room. Behind him, Bryan heard footsteps and so he turned and fired his police issued pistol thingy eleven times. He heard laughing.

He looked to see an old man in a bloody lab coat picking bullets out of his chest.

“Oh Mr. Mantis, you should have known that wouldn’t work,” the old man said as he polished his monocle with his lab coat. But since his lab coat was covered in blood it just sort of smeared it. The old man would probably have to polish it again later, but this time with a high-grade industrial solvent to get all of the blood off.

“Charles Berkeley, I presume,” screamed Mantis.

“You presume,” the Old Man started before taking a long pause to skin an avocado and crush it into guacamole, “Correctly.”

Bryan screamed. No one had seen Doctor Saint Charles Berkeley alive for over a hundred years, excluding all of those people who had seen him fairly regularly in the interim.

Doctor Saint Charles Berkeley laughed maniacally and then checked his twitter feed and realized that he was late for a business luncheon at his country club and realized he had to leave.

“I tire of this,” Charles announced, snapping his fingers.

At this Bryan heard a quick step from something coming behind him and he spun around quickly enough to see Berkeley’s unspeakably monstrous hand swipe at Bryan’s face.

It was the last thing Bryan saw until he woke up screaming in the hospital ten years later.

Next Time: The overly-long flashback ends and Bryan and Monte Carlo go to the Regatta Gala, where things aren’t as they seem. What will they find there? Is Peter Gallagher there? Will Bryan’s codeine habit catch up to him? All this, and more!

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