Thank You For Everything

📅 Published on June 6, 2020

“Thank You For Everything”

Written by Erik Peabody
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Erik Peabody

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. Erik Peabody)

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 22 minutes

Rating: 7.33/10. From 3 votes.
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Oh, looks like someone’s waking up a bit.  That’s real good.  I was getting a little worried that I might have given you a bit too much… oh, hey. No, no, no, don’t try to be sitting up.  You’re far too… well, you just don’t want to tax yourself.  You know.  In your current state.  Just wanna relax and keep your head back on the pillow there.  I mean, you probably can’t feel the pillow, but trust me, it’s there.  Don’t you worry about that.  Just keep your head back and don’t try to move or anything.  Lay back, and keep those peepers pointed up at the ceiling.

Now, I bet you’ve got all sorts of questions, or rather, you will in a bit when you get your head back together.  Waking up from this shit is always disorienting as hell.  Trust me; I’ve seen it a buncha times.  Never tried it myself, but most folks I’ve seen go through about the same process.  I can tell exactly what you’re thinking right now.  Well, if you can call it thinking.  I’m guessing it’s more like popcorn right now.  You know, those bags of that gross fucking popcorn you can heat up in the microwave?  You toss that paper bag in and start nuking it and for the first while there’s nothing.  Just that drone of the microwave and that plastic or Pyrex or whatever-the-fuck plate spinning round and round.  The lights are on, but nobody’s home, like they say.  But after a bit, you get that first pop, and then a few more.  They just bounce around in that bag for a bit like they’re the only ones in there, spinning around with that humming noise.  That’s what I bet you’re feeling like right now.  Probably just got to, “I can’t feel anything,” and “I can’t move,” but I suppose that’s about it for the moment.  You got your lights back on, but no one’s home except for those few lonely kernels of popcorn in there.  But trust me, my friend, from the outside, I know that the rest of the bag is just waiting to pop.  You’ll get there.  I’m counting on it.

Hell, you might not even be catching most of what I’m saying.  I always end up rushing this part, but I guess that’s just how I am.  I’m a pretty friendly guy, when it comes down to it, and I like chatting with people.  I don’t mind sitting and waiting, I guess.  In fact, I can be pretty patient when the situation calls for it.  I always try to bring a book or something to pass the time.  This time it’s… oh, here.  I’ll show you.  You just keep your head back and I’ll reach over and hold it up in front of your face.  There.  See that?  You probably can’t make out the words, but you can see the picture, right?  This is a collection of stories by Edgar Allen Poe.  I’m on “The Cask of Amontillado.”  Famous story, but I never read it before.  Anyway, my leg’s hurting me a bit, so I’m gonna head back over to my chair.  You just keep looking up at that ceiling.

Anyway, the book helps, but I guess I’m always just waiting for the guy to wake up.  I’ve tried books, magazines, crossword puzzles.  Never bring my phone with me because of the GPS tracking.  That wouldn’t be a smart thing to do, but I’ve tried just about everything else.  Hell, I even bought one of those Game Boy things about ten years ago.  That was pretty fun, but still, no matter what, I always start talking like a damn Chatty Cathy as soon as the guy wakes up.  Like I said, I’m a friendly guy.  I like people and people like me.  I even like you, even though you fetched me a pretty good one on the leg a little bit ago.  No hard feelings there.  You gotta do what you gotta do, just like I gotta do what I gotta do.

Oh, shit, man, you’re not gonna want to do that.  I know it’s a real bitch, but you’re not gonna be able to sit up.  I mean, have a blast and give it a try if you really want, but it’s not gonna work.  I got you tied down pretty good, there.  Sure, I’m not perfect, but this isn’t my first time doing this.  Not by a long shot.  I’ve seen bigger guys than you try to get out of these sorts of restraints, and all they end up doing is getting bruised and scraped up.  You’re trussed up better than a Thanksgiving turkey, buddy.  Your ankles, your calves, your thighs, one over each knee, your wrists, your forearms, your biceps, and a big fat one across your chest.  I even got one on your neck and another on your forehead.  Trust me, the best thing to do is just relax and take it as it comes.  We’ve got some work here to do, some stuff to talk about, and it’s gonna be a lot harder for you if you keep trying to wriggle around like you are.  I mean, you don’t need to worry, anyway.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but I can do whatever I want to you like this.  Struggling isn’t gonna accomplish anything.

There, that’s better.  You kinda tuckered yourself out a bit, didn’t you?  I see you breathing pretty hard, there!  I said this a bit earlier, but you might not have understood at the time.  It’s gonna take a bit for you to start feeling a little normal again.  You know when you wake up from a deep sleep and sometimes you have trouble moving around and you can’t clench your hands that tight and that sorta thing?  This is kinda like that, but way worse.  I’m not that good with numbers, but if you held a gun to my head, I’d say you’re probably at about twenty or thirty percent your normal strength.  Hell, even if you were wide awake and spun up on some killer shit, you wouldn’t be able to get out of those ties.  You’re just gonna hurt yourself.  Just stay back on the pillow and try to catch your breath.  I know the gag probably isn’t helping with that, but I’m afraid that’s how it is. I’ve tried this without the gag before and, good fucking god, it is way more trouble than it’s worth.  Trust me, I’m a regular Chatty Cathy, just like I said, but even I know that passing on the gag is a bad idea.

Well, I guess the good news is that, if you’re struggling, you’re coming around a bit.  Probably moved past the “I can’t feel anything” stage to the “where am I” stage.  That’s good!  That means we can start talking our business in just a bit.  We’re not quite there yet, but your brain has a bit more popcorn than it did a few minutes ago.  So, let’s start with the basics.

I know you’ve been staring at that ceiling for a bit now, but why don’t you take a good long look at it?  You can’t move your head, but you can move those eyes, so let them crawl across every inch of that thing.  It’s one ugly motherfucker, isn’t it?  One of those disgusting drop-ceilings with the crunchy fiber tiles.  Believe it or not, these used to be white.  Or, rather, I’m guessing they were white.  I wasn’t ever here when this place was new, but I can’t imagine they looked this bad when they were installed.  They were probably white and clean, not water-stained and moldy like they are now.  I know you can’t see it from where you are, but there are a few fluorescent lights mounted up there, too, just down past where your feet are.  They’re not turned on right now.  This place doesn’t even have electricity any more, but I’ve got this little Coleman lantern over here by me on a table.  That’s why you can see anything at all.

So, what do you think this place used to be?  I know you don’t have much to go on, but I want to get that brain of yours working a bit better, and this is as good a way as any.  It’s like one of those little brain exercises where you look at a picture and try to find all the monkeys or some fucking thing like that.  Doesn’t really do anything, but revs up the old synapses just a bit.  Kinda like after you break a leg real bad or something and need to start doing small little exercises to get your strength back.  Rehabilitation.  In fact, that’s kinda why we’re here in the first place.  Rehabilitation.

Anyway, I guess I can just go ahead and tell you where you are.  It’s not like you can talk right now, anyway.  This used to be a hospital.  Four floors above ground, and four below.  We’re down at the bottom right now, which probably explains how that damn mold and damp got into the tiles you’re looking at.  I know you can’t see it, but there are puddles on the floor here and there.  Believe it or not, this is one of the cleaner rooms!  Yeah, the whole place is kinda gross, but it’s just perfect for what we need, you and me.  I’ve used other places in the past, but once I found this old building, I knew I’d found what I was always looking for.

Having something out of the way is always essential.  There’s sometimes some noise involved in this, and the last thing we need is someone passing by and deciding to stick their nose in my beeswax.  The problem is that so many places that are out of the way for most people aren’t really out of the way for others.  Warehouses and abandoned homes and that sort of thing can be tricky, because once the owners shut it down and move on, you’ve got your vags to contend with.  I actually… heh, you’ll get a kick out of this.  I actually had one time where I was sitting in a room in an abandoned house with a guy, just like you and me are sitting here now, and we were… well, we were taking care of what our business was, and I look up to see some fucking junkie just standing in the doorway, looking in at us!  That son of a bitch was skinny as hell, and I’m sure that didn’t help none, but still, it looked like his eyes were about to pop right out of his head!  Startled me so bad that I actually fell out of my chair.  I don’t know who was more scared, him or me!  Anyway, he turned and ran and it took me fifteen minutes of chasing the guy down and taking care of him before I got back to the room and back to the actual work at hand.

Anyway, that’s part of what makes this place so great.  There are a few towns around, but the nearest is five miles away.  No one really wanders out this direction.  On top of that, the building’s in pretty good shape, when it comes down to it.  Oh, sure, it’s not much to look at, but at least the structure is sound.  Turns out that the place was built, but before it opened there was some lawsuit with the parent company and they just cut their losses and rolled out to greener pastures.  Didn’t bother demoing the building or anything.  I looked it up.  That was about twenty years ago, and I guess the location isn’t worth enough for anyone else to have ever taken over.  On top of that, we’ve got all sorts of useful stuff in here, like the hospital bed you’re in right now.  All sorts of other fun little tools and things sitting around as well.  I really struck the jackpot on this one.  I’ve used it a bunch of times.  In fact, just a few months ago, I was using the room right next to this one.

Anyway, the isolation and the fun little extras are all fine and dandy, but the main thing is that this place has a certain… oh, I don’t know.  It has a feel about it.  An atmosphere.  You can’t see all of it right now, but you can see those ceiling tiles, and you can probably figure out the rest.  Water on the floor, mold on the walls.  Every once in a while, you’re gonna hear something scuttle around out in the hallway or in the walls.  Rats, or bugs, or something or other.  The whole thing really has an impact on a person’s mind.  Kinda gets them in the right headspace to have a serious conversation, just like you and I are gonna have here pretty soon.

In fact, here, this might help things a bit.  I think I want to drive home just how much this place can get to you.  You just stay where you are for a minute.  I know you can’t really see me.  In fact, you probably don’t even know what I look like.  I try to be pretty careful with that sort of thing, but you maybe caught a glimpse when I was showing you the book.  In any case, you can imagine I look any way you like, but I know you can at least see my shadow as I’m moving around between you and that little lamp on the table.  You see, I’m a little worried that you’re maybe grasping the full situation that you’re in.  So how about we just turn this light off for a little bit.

There.

* * * * * *

That really brings out the other senses, doesn’t it?  Just listen.  It’s so quiet in here that you might not think there’s anything to listen to, but you can hear some of it, now, can’t you?  The occasional drip, sometimes into a puddle, sometimes onto the linoleum.  Maybe some slight creaking somewhere from down the hall as the building shifts a bit.  Maybe just the air as it moves around in whatever little movements there are to push it.  Listening like this kinda gives a… a sense of space, doesn’t it?  You can hear how some things are distant, others are a little closer.  More than that, you can hear everything between the sounds, can’t you?  It really drives home how big this place is, and just how empty.  With that light on, you can tell that you’re in a room, but with the light out… with the silence… well, the whole size of the building really sinks in.  Sorta makes you realize that you’re in this place, this unknown place in the middle of nowhere, and there isn’t anything going on in here.  You don’t know why you’re here, but you do know that you’re strapped to a bed.  Strapped to a bed, all alone in a place where no one would find you for days, or weeks.  Maybe even months.  All alone, with me.

You’re probably hearing me move around a bit.  Nothing much, but you can tell from my voice when I’m looking at you and when I’m facing away.  The slight rustling of my clothes as I shift in the chair.  There are some other sounds I’m sure you’ve heard that you might not be able to place.  I bet you’re curious as hell as to what I’m doing.  Don’t worry about it.  We’ll get to that.

I’m pretty sure that shot I gave you hasn’t fully worn off yet.  You might be feeling some aching here and there.  I know you’re not feeling everything yet, because some of those sounds you’ve been hearing are your own clothes shifting around.  I’ve been rubbing your legs off and on for a couple of minutes now, just to see if you could feel it, and you haven’t jumped out of your skin and started to try to scream, so parts of you, at least, are still sorta numb.  Then again, by the way your breath just sped up when I told you that, I know that your brain isn’t fully numb, so maybe we can start with what we need to do.  You’re probably out of most of the mental fog by now, so I bet what you’re thinking right at this instant is, “if he can touch me and I can’t feel it, what else can he do without me knowing?”  Yeah, that’s a real son-of-a-bitch of a thought to have.  Well, like I said earlier, you really shouldn’t worry too much about it.  I can do whatever the hell I want to do to you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it, so why be concerned?  Let go and let God, they say.

Still, I think we’ll leave the light off for the time being.  I want you to hear what I have to say, and I don’t mind the dark.  I can still work in the dark.

Amnesia is almost always part of what this drug does to you.  You’ll start remembering the basics pretty soon, within a day or so, so I’m not going to bother going over any of that.  “Who am I,” “who are you,” “where am I,” “what are you going to do to me?”  Those are all the boring questions, and I’ve already answered some of them.  That’s part of the reason why the gag is standard practice.  All of that shit is so… tedious.  Everyone always asks that, even if they can’t talk.  I can see it on their faces.  Hell, I can practically hear it in their thoughts after all this time.  Standard shit, but there’s another one that always gets asked that IS interesting.  “Why am I here?”

I’ve tried doing this a bunch of different ways over the years, but what I’ve found works best is a… reframing.  It doesn’t matter that no one ever remembers things at this point, but they all start getting indignant nonetheless.  I can always tell.  No one ever believes that they could be a bad person, that what they did was wrong.  So that’s where the whole story thing comes in.  I don’t know what it is, but people seem to accept it a bit easier if there’s a degree of separation.  So, I’m gonna tell you a story.  You can believe it or not, but you’re sure as hell gonna listen to it.  Besides, I like to talk while I’m doing what I need to do here.

Once upon a time, there was a man.  His name isn’t important.  In fact, nothing about this man was particularly important.  He was just another normal man, in a normal town, working a normal, boring job.  But, there was something about this man that wasn’t normal.  This man had a hobby.  A very, very interesting hobby.

I can’t tell you when this man started with his hobby.  I can say that he was indulging it as early as five years back, which is when he crossed paths with a young woman named Patricia Rhinehart in Cleveland, Ohio.  He met her one day as he was purchasing some Aspirin from a drugstore.  Patricia had the misfortune of meeting this unimportant man as she rang him up at the checkout stand.  I know because I saw the receipt.  That was the first time that Patricia met this man, and she probably didn’t even remember him five minutes later, but this man sure remembered Patricia.  In fact, Patricia sort of stuck in his mind, you might say.  This man and Patricia ended up spending some time together a few months later.  Not a lot of time, but some very important time.  After that, Patricia didn’t spend time with anyone else ever again.

Like I said, I can’t say for sure that this man already had his hobby when he met Patricia, but I do know that he sure enjoyed his hobby.  He enjoyed it so much that he just had to share it with some other people.  Six other people, to the best of my knowledge.  Randy Blakemore was one.  He was a UPS driver.  He delivered a package to this unimportant man about six months before he suddenly stopped coming in to work.  That one must have been a bitch for the police.  So many people to look at.  Almost impossible, you might say.  Unless someone was particularly good at waiting, and liked to talk to people and hear what they had to say.

I gotta sit down for a minute.  My hands are getting tired here.  Besides, there’s no use in rushing things.  We still have lots to talk about.

Okay, that’s better.  Nothing like taking a load off for a little bit.

Well, after Randy, there was Anthony Carr.  Then Louise Connelly.  Wait… that’s not right.  It was Mary Rodriguez, then it was Louise.  After that was some poor bastard named Percival Entragian.  Who the fuck names their kid Percival?

Anyway, after poorly-named-Percival was Antoinette LeFavor.  She was the last.  After that, this unimportant man went missing, himself.  Who knows who might be looking for him?  Who knows who’s even noticed that he’s gone?  I’m sure someone has, but that’s not part of the story, I’m afraid.  In fact, before our story can go forward, we have to go back a little bit.  Past Antoinette, and back to Percival.  Percival Entragian, whose father is Reginald Entragian.  I guess old-fashioned names just sorta run in the family.  Well, it’s an old family, after all.  A proud family.

You see, Percival was a bit different than all of the other folks that this unimportant, stupid man crossed paths with.  Percival came from money.  Like everyone else that went missing, the police became involved with Percival’s disappearance, but when the police exhausted their investigative leads, old Reginald had the means to continue the search through… other avenues.  I guess you could say that the old man had a fire lit under his ass.  He really didn’t take too kindly to his son vanishing, and he was downright convinced that something suspicious was going on.  He knew that there was no way that his son would abandon a fortune and a life of luxury to just take off on his own.  Reginald talked to a man he knew, who talked to another man, and that man decided to meet me for coffee one day about a month ago.

Speaking of coffee, my own little coffee break here is about done.  Time to get back to work, I suppose.  Just focus on my voice, and not on the noise.

So, this man takes me out for coffee and tells me about Reginald and how distraught he is.  Beyond distraught, actually.  Destroyed.  The man’s old, and his son was his life.  In fact, he’s so destroyed that he’s sort of become consumed with finding out what happened.  My friend tells me that Reginald is actually a little frightening, like he’d do almost anything to find Percival, and that he WOULD do anything to anyone that had anything to do with his disappearance.  Being the friendly person that I am, I express my condolences, and tell my friend that I might be able to help out.  In fact, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve had some success with finding people in the past.  People that others haven’t been able to find.  I’ve also been pretty good at expressing to those people, when I found them, how much pain and heartache they’ve caused.  I’ve been so successful in that regard, that everyone I’ve met with has learned the error of their ways, and has never hurt anyone again.  Not once.

My friend tells me that old Mr. Entragian would be just so, so happy if I was able to help him, so I do what I do best: I start talking.  I talk to pretty much everyone I can come across that knew Percival, even if they just met him briefly.  After that, I talk to a few friends I have.  Old friends that I’ve known for years.  You see, that’s the real benefit of being a friendly person.  You end up meeting all sorts of people that like you and want to help out, want to do whatever they can.  Some of these people have access to certain databases.  And for a guy like me that’s patient, you can slowly build a pretty damn impressive network of information.  From that, you can find new people to talk to, and learn all sorts of interesting things.  Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to come across some names that raise an eyebrow.  For example, maybe Percival ran into a fellow that did some work on his car, and maybe that fellow’s coworker happened to remember the interaction.  And maybe, after checking some credit card records, it turns out that this person ordered something online, and that the delivery driver ended up vanishing a little while later.  Maybe, just maybe, this same person had a brief exchange with a young girl at a drugstore who also went missing.

It’s really funny how things like that come together.

Anyway, after that, it wasn’t too hard to find a good time for you and I to catch up.  It’s kinda ironic, actually.  For someone that’s spent so much time following other people, you sure didn’t have a clue when I started hanging around.  As I’m sure you know, it’s important to make sure that you have all your ducks in a row before you actually reach out and grab someone.  I’ve been keeping an eye on you for about two weeks now.  Like I said, I’m a patient guy.  You never even knew I was around.  I actually stood right behind you in line at that McDonald’s a few days back, kinda just for kicks!  I’m patient, but I like to have fun, too, you know.

So, I watch you for a bit, figure out when a good time would be to finally “introduce myself,” so to say, and then wham, bam, thank you ma’am, here we are!  Just like clockwork.  And, would you look at that, I think I’m just about done with the hard part here.  Time to wipe off my hands and sit back down.

Whew, that’s better.  I suppose none of us are getting any younger, but I swear that these last few years have really started to catch up with me.  I’ve been doing this for a while now.  Twenty-five years, between profession and recreation.  You learn a bunch when you do something that long, but ain’t it a bitch that your body starts to go on you right when you’ve got everything else down to a science.

* * * * * *

You know, old Reginald gave me a piece of paper.  He wrote some stuff on it and wanted to make sure that I read it to whoever took Percy, when I caught up with him.  I’ve got it in my pocket here, but I think we can skip it.  He’s a sentimental old fucker, and he’ll feel good thinking that I read it, but it’s some poorly-written shit when it comes down to it.  Same sorta stuff I’ve seen a few times before.  You see, when you get a reputation like I have, when people know you’re good at a certain thing, you start attracting similar types of folks.  All of them have vengeance on their minds, but more than you might expect write notes and stuff like that for me to read to the guy.  It’s always some version of the same thing.  Not worth wasting time on.  Besides, what’s more important is what he asked me to do to you.  Hell, I coulda skipped out on that too.  It’s not like the man’s ever gonna come down here to check, but this is the fun part.

Before we get into that, though, what do you think of the story I told you?  Pretty crazy, isn’t it?  Here you are, brain all fucked up on drugs, you trying to piece it together like all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, don’t have the foggiest idea who you are, and I come in and tell you this yarn about how you’re an actual goddamn serial murderer!  I bet you’re starting to believe it.  I mean, what else could explain all of this?  You’re untethered, my friend, and having some explanation to grasp onto might be enough for you to start to take it as gospel.  I mean, people in extreme, terrifying situations are desperate for some order, some rationality.

In any case, I guess part of me telling it to you is mainly so I get a chance to hear it myself.  After all, you’re not really the main audience for that one.  That’s a story for Reginald.  I wanted to rehearse it a bit before telling him, because that particular party needs to believe it even more than you do.  I frankly don’t give much of a shit if you believe it or not.  You’re down here with me, and things for you are pretty much gonna go the way that they’re gonna go.  For Reginald, if he feels like something’s fishy, it might turn into a bit of a headache for me.

God damn, is it dark in here.  I can hear you squirming, though.  I’m guessing that the dope is wearing off a bit more and some of that aching is turning a bit sharper.  I’m done telling you not to struggle.  In a bit, once the pain really sets in, there’s not gonna be much you do about it, anyway.  You just do what you gotta do, buddy.

Like I said, I’ve been doing this a while.  It’s something I’m good at, but I don’t think I ever would have fallen into it unless it was something that I also enjoyed, you know?  There’s that old fucking platitude about doing what you love and never working a day in your life.  I think that a lot of people just tell themselves that to try to keep sane, but for me, it’s the damn truth.  I love every part of my job.  I love working the details.  I like talking to people, and watching people.  I like how every situation slowly builds to a head, and it always ends up here.  Not always, you know, this particular place, but always someplace like this.  I like the work I get to do once we’re here.

In fact, I like it so goddamn much that I sometimes do it even when there’s no client involved.  Doing it on my own is just as fun.  In fact, that’s how I got into it in the first place.  I had my floundering younger days, but got good at the basics pretty quickly.  Then, I stumbled into a situation where someone mentioned that they had someone that they wish wasn’t around anymore.  I figured, “oh, what the hell,” and helped that buddy out.  One thing led to another, and then I was doing a few jobs a year.  Just got lucky, I guess.  Still, it was never so much work that I didn’t like drumming up my own action on the side.  Gotta keep those skills up, and to be honest, it’s just so much fun that I can never say no when the inspiration strikes me, even if things sometimes don’t go as planned.  I’m pretty good at cleaning things up afterwards.

Oh, hey, did you hear that?  That little scratching, scuttling noise out in the hall?  That’s a rat, if I’m not mistaken.  I was wondering when they’d start coming around.  This place really is spooky as hell, isn’t it?  It sure does help drive home the gravity of the situation to the folks I bring here. I am so damn lucky that I found this place.  I love it every time I get to use it.  Did I mention that I was here just a few months ago?  In the room right next door?  That was a particularly fun time.  People can go through all sorts of different reactions when they wake up in here with me, but that time was special.  When I was in that room with Percy, I could tell that, even right up to the end, he didn’t believe that this could actually be happening to him.  After all, he was a rich kid, good looking, had his whole life stretching out in front of him.  He had that look on his face.  I actually checked on him a little bit ago, before you started to wake up.  He doesn’t have that look on his face anymore.  In fact, there’s no look there at all.

I gotta tell you, this is a strange world we live in.  Percy was one of my side-gigs.  Something I did just for fun.  Just for me.  You cannot believe my surprise when my buddy hits me up a while later to tell me that he has a job for me, and the client is the father of the same guy I had just worked on a month or so back.  It took everything I had to keep the shock off my face.  Hell, I’m still surprised!  I don’t know how many more years of work I have left in me, but this one will be one for the books, even if I do another twenty five years!  I went home after that coffee shop and laughed until I was crying.

The hardest part about the whole thing was that I had so many damn options!  This was like sitting down at a huge buffet, and it all looks delicious, but you know there’s no way you can sample everything before you’re too full to eat anymore.  But I knew that I had all of the time in the world.  I wasn’t going to have to do the research and all that stuff this time.  After all, I didn’t have to find THE guy, I just had to find A guy.  Then I got the idea that I could really sell this to the old man, and figured, “how goddamn funny would it be to use some of my other personal jobs in the process?”  I think that Reginald figured this was some kidnapping or something.  Something to bribe some money out of him and his family, but it went wrong and Percival ended up dead.  The thought of convincing him that some fucking serial killer took his son by mistake… that’s just too rich to pass up.

Patricia Rhinehart was mine, as was Randy Blakemore.  So was Anthony Carr, Mary Rodriguez, and Louise Connelly.  They were all mine, buddy.  And all of them will stand up to some scrutiny if Reginald decides to look up the names I give him.  They’re all missing, and there’s no reason at all for him to question the story further.  The whole thing is absolutely, poetically perfect.

So, instead of spending a few months investigating, like I usually do, I just did the first parts.  Talked to all of Percy’s friends.  I did just enough so that word would get back to the old man that I was poking around, which is exactly what he wanted.  I cannot tell you how hard it was to keep from laughing the whole goddamn time.  There I was, talking to Percy’s friends about who he’s been talking to, where he’s been, what he’s been doing, did anyone see anything suspicious, and the whole time I’m waiting for one of them to say something that points back to me, but no one ever did!  I gotta say, that is the most validating shit you can imagine.  Here I am, investigating my own crime, and no one’s the wiser.  After that, do you know what I did?  I went on vacation!  I spent two weeks in sunny California, just enjoying the weather and the beaches.

After that, I came back and just picked someone that I knew had crossed paths with Percy.  It wasn’t hard.  I had talked to everyone he knew, and could pick from a hundred people that had chance interactions with him in the right time frame.  You were easy to find.  A small-town schmoe with a small-town life.  Someone that wouldn’t be looked for too much, and just enough of a loner that I could make up any story I wanted, and the old man would buy it.  And now here we are!  Everything wrapped up nice and tight.

I actually have to thank you.  Doing what I do, you don’t get many chances to talk about your work, and even if I did, I doubt this is one that I could ever tell anyone.  You’ve been the perfect companion for this weird journey, my friend.  This is truly one that will stay with me forever.

But, I’m afraid that I’ve gotta get running.  I’m hearing more rats out in the halls.  They’re skittish, but I know that they’re also hungry, and the smell of the blood has gotta be driving them out of their little rat minds.  They would have finished with Percy a long time back, and there’s not much else around here to eat.  Besides, once the rest of that shot wears off, you’re gonna start feeling the rest of your body.  That’s not gonna be pleasant for either of us, and I’d just as soon be on my way by that point.  You’re just gonna have to deal with that.

I’m not gonna lie to you: it’s going to take a while for all of it to be over.  I’ve got most of your toes and fingers around the base of the hospital bed there, with just a few leading out towards the door to the hall.  Just enough to help those furry little guys find their way to you without any trouble.  There’s some blood pooling around your legs from the other incisions, and some of that dripping you’ve been hearing is the sound of it running off the edge of the bed and onto the floor.  Don’t worry, though.  I’m good at working in the dark, and I know that nothing I did is fatal.  There’s not much chance you’ll pass out before they finish with the appetizers and get on to the main course.  With a little luck, you might even be able to remember your name before this is all over.

So, that’s it for me!  Like I said, this is one for the books.  Life’s a weird thing, isn’t it?  Best of luck with your new friends, and seriously, thank you for everything.

Rating: 7.33/10. From 3 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. Erik Peabody)


Written by Erik Peabody
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by Erik Peabody

🔔 More stories from author: Erik Peabody


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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