Sunday: June 1, 2025
3:02 AM; CLINSTONE, THE BONE KEEPER’S SHED
The woman walked into the shed, humming the tune to the Mother Goose nursery rhyme, This is the Way We Wash Our Hands, a song stuck for days within her head. She shut the door and pulled the chain to turn on the light, scaring away the dark of the night. It was warm in the shed, a full eighty degrees Fahrenheit, something she guaranteed with a heating and cooling system sealed in airtight. She walked across the creaky floorboards, setting a cardboard box on the work table, a wooden creation made from two old head and footboards. At the table, she adjusted the cotton batting at the bottom of a clear tub, watching the dermestid beetles scramble away from her touch, wanting nothing more than their morning grub.
On top of the batting, she laid down a small piece of cardboard before reaching into the box she had carried in with her, one that used to be filled with stacks upon stacks of paperboard. She pulled out a human head, setting it gently on the cardboard piece, the batting beneath it serving as a bed. Smiling faintly, she changed the words to the nursery rhyme, a new frame of mind that reflected upon her strangely.
“This is the way I destroy your flesh,
Destroy your flesh, destroy your flesh.
This is the way I destroy your flesh
So early in the morning.”
She stared at the head for a moment, its brown eyes staring back at her, the expression of fear on its face permanently frozen. Lightly, she tapped her finger against the end of its nose, an action that made her smile brightly. Going back to humming, she placed the cardboard box over the head, beginning a process of cleaning that most would find unbecoming. She pulled the chain to turn off the light, opened the door, and stepped out into the night.
Casting one final look at the shed, she headed back to the house and climbed down to the basement, where her victim already lay dead. She walked across the basement, snagging a pair of pliers from the small table, her shoes slapping heavily across the cement. With the pliers, she grasped the victim’s first fingernail, and with a slow tug, she ripped it from its bed without fail.
The brunette had scratched her, and the woman didn’t plan on going to jail because of some DNA technicality, no, sir. Humming the tune that was oh so light, the woman would continue to work deep into the night.
BOOK EIGHT: END
BOOK NINE: THE BONEKEEPER
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