The night we found our father dead in his bed was the night our lives began to come to an end.
I remember it clearly. It was a Friday night and it was raining. My sister Alana was crying uncontrollably. I was still in shock. We had warned our father that living alone at his age wasn’t the best idea, now we wished we had insisted.
We found him with his skull bashed in and a cable cord around his neck. His face was bloody and his eyes were wide with terror. His blankets were wet and smelled like urine. His frail body was splayed out all across his bed, the blankets disheveled.
The place had been ransacked. It was plain to see that someone had come for the goods and wasn’t going to let some old man ruin his fun. My hands were cramping from holding them in fists for so long. I was angry. My father was just a weak old man, he couldn’t have stopped anyone if he tried. Why couldn’t they have left him alone?
I walk out of the room to call the cops. I couldn’t look at him anymore, I couldn’t listen to Alana crying anymore. I walked to my car. The phone call was short, to the point. I hung up and waited for the authorities to arrive. I looked out at the empty land that surrounded my father’s house. I looked over to the stables that stood behind it. The horses were silent, as if they too were mourning the loss of my father.
I walked over to the stables to check if they were even in the stable, they were being eerily quiet. When I got around I noticed that the grill was gone. They literally had taken everything. I peeked into the stable and saw both horses sleeping. The female, Nightingale was on the far wall. Max was closest to me. At least they left the animals. The horses were my father’s most prized possessions. Sometimes Alana and I would joke that he loved those horses more than he loved us. These two were the last ones he would ever own so they were extra special. Neither I nor Alana could take care of them, they would have to be sold. It made my chest hurt to think about.
Alana came out, her face red and puffy. “There’s a couple cops at the door. We should talk to them together.” She didn’t wait for me to follow, she went back into the house covering her face. I went inside the house and greeted the officers. They started asking questions. Soon the coroner showed up and did his job. They took my father’s body out in a bag. I stood in his room, staring at the bed where he had lain. Alana went with my father.
As I was getting ready to leave I heard a knock at the door. I went to the door and looked through the peephole. I couldn’t really see who it was so I opened the door. Standing on my father’s front porch was a man, at least he was shaped like a man. His skin was so white he looked like a corpse. His hair was long and dark but he had a very noticeable receding hairline. His nose was pointy, as were his ears. His lips were thin, wet and bright red. His body was emaciated and his hands were much too big for his body. His eyes were so dark and large, there was barely any whites left to them at all. When he saw me he smiled, revealing brown pointed teeth. His smile gave the impression of a hungry lion who was ready to gobble me up. “Hello,” he said, “My name is Mr. Good. I am here to help you.” He put out his hand to shake.
I stood there perplexed just staring at his hand. “Did you know my father?” I finally ask.
“Not directly. I knew his wife. We met quite a few years ago. I didn’t know she had a son, that is…such a pleasant surprise…” He made a satisfied noise like a purr as he said this. He continued to look at me hungrily.
“Well I’m sorry but my father has died and I am just leaving. If you would like to attend his funeral we will be having a memorial service for him in a few days time. Feel free to check the paper.” I tried to push past him but he stopped me.
“I had heard about your father’s incident. That is why I am here. I’m here to help you in your time of grief.”
“How did you know about my father’s death? He died only last night. My sister and I had only found out about it just a few hours ago.” I eyed him suspiciously. “Did you see something happen here last night? Did you see who did this to my father?!” I was beginning to lose control of my anger.
“Calm down, child. I was not here last night, I saw nothing. I only heard from others who are aware. News travels fast out here, bad news even faster. Did you say you have a sister as well?”
“Yes, a twin sister. Her name is Alana. I don’t see why that is relevant at the moment. I’m sorry but I need to be going now. I have a lot to see to.”
“I understand. Here’s my card. Please give me a call. I will be waiting to hear when his memorial service is.” I grabbed the card and took a look at it. It read:
Financier, Investments, Retribution
I looked back up at him and he tilted his head in good-bye. He turned and walked away. I looked back at the card to see if the card actually read what I thought I saw. Sure enough it did. I looked up to get a last look at him but he was gone.
My father’s outlook on life was a pretty simple one. Be kind to others and you’ll have a good life. He was always positive, always upbeat. Always made a friend wherever he went. To think that he died the way he did, it questions everything I had ever believed in. I was angry with the world. My existential judgement was all out of whack. How can a man as pure and kind as my father die so horribly and violently? How can a person just get away with something so vile? What was the point of being kind to others when evil always seems to win?
I stood there pondering all this as it began to rain again. I was standing outside the church and the funeral was over. My father’s body was in his coffin loaded onto a hearse ready to be taken to his final resting place.
We delivered him to his grave and as the priest said his last words I looked up beyond the edge of the cemetery. I saw a man standing under a tree with his hands clasped in front of him. It was Mr. Good. I thought about what his card said again.
After it was all over, Alana and I stood over our father’s grave and sobbed. It was over. He was gone. I was so angry. Alana left but I stayed a bit longer. As I stood there Mr. Good approached me. “It’s hard to lose a loved one, especially in such a horrible and violent way.” He stared at me as he said this. “You want to make things right. I know. I can make it all better for you.”
“How do you plan to do that?” I said.
“Let me handle everything. I just need one thing from you.”
“And what is that?” I asked.
“One of your father’s horses should do nicely.” He gave me that grin again.
“Who are you? How do you know my mother?”
“We met a long time ago, when your mother was just a girl attending Spring Gardens Academy. I was a teacher there. She was such a lovely child, so…sweet. I saved her from a very brutal death. Now I am here to help you.” I eyed him suspiciously.
“What are you going to do with the horse?”
“I have my own needs for a horse. Don’t you worry, she’ll be well taken care of.”
That night Alana called. “Hey Eric, we need to decide how to divvy up dad’s stuff. Can I come over?”
“Yeah that’s fine, I’m in no condition to drive anyway.” I set the bottle down on the coffee table.
“Alright I’ll be over in a minute.” She hung up and I made myself tidy up a bit before she arrived. We went though everything, it didn’t take long. We were going to sell his house and the majority of his stuff. I was going to keep his car and she wanted to keep the horses.
“I kind of already promised one to someone.” I told her.
“What?! Who? And why?”
“A man named Mr. Good. He wanted one in exchange for his…services.” I felt foolish.
“I know this sounds crazy but he said he would take care of some things for us.” At the risk of sounding like a complete sucker I erred on the side of caution. I decided I wouldn’t say too much.
“Financial things. Legal things, ya know.” I took a swig of vodka to keep my mouth busy.
“Hmmm…” Was all she said. We sat in silence for a second when there was a knock at the door. I went to answer the door but before I opened it there was a loud, heavy thump on it. I opened the door and two bodies fell into my house at my feet. Their hands were bound and they laid stock still. I turned one over and discovered something horribly wrong. They were both dead. One man had had his eyes, ears and tongue removed. The other had what looked like claw marks all over his face, torn flesh just barely hanging on. Both men’s pockets had been gone through and they’re shoes had been taken. There were bloody hand prints all over them. On one man there was a note attached.
“Consider my services rendered. Lying before you are the two men who robbed and killed your father. I’ll expect payment no later than sundown tomorrow.”
Cordially, Mr. Good
Alana came to the door and screamed. “Who the hell are they and what happened to them?!” She had backed up against the wall, the farthest she could get away from the stiffs.
“Remember that guy I told you about?” I asked. “Well apparently this is what he meant by service.”
“You don’t mean…” she couldn’t even finish her question. She knew what she was looking at. “And he wants one of dad’s horses for this? What will he do to that horse?”
“You’re worried about a horse when there are two dead guys in my front doorway?!” I yelled. I was terrified. I felt like I was walking on a tightrope, one false move and I could plummet down to a place where there was no return. In this case it was insanity. Alana had started crying again. “We just need to talk to him, maybe he can be reasoned with.” I suggested.
“Yeah right.” She looked like she was about to start laughing but she couldn’t stop crying.
“Okay, okay. I’m going to meet with him tomorrow and straighten this whole thing out.”
“I’m going with you,” she said without hesitation. “You aren’t going out there alone.”
When we got to my father’s house the sun was just starting to set. We walked around to the stables, we could hear one of the horses causing a ruckus. When we opened the door we both stopped. What we saw could never be unseen. On the ground lay Nightingale with her stomach ripped open, her intestines spilled all over the ground. Her body was making jerking movements. We walked closer. Mr. Good raised his head away from the mutilated horse, his mouth covered in blood and he was chewing.
We tried to run but suddenly he was in front of us, blocking the door. “I’m sorry but you aren’t leaving here.” he told us.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” I screeched.
“I’ve come to settle a debt. A debt that has been denied me too long. You won’t taste as good you would have when you were tiny and tender but I can make due.”
“What are you talking about?!” Alana asked.
“When your mother promised to give me her first born child I stopped myself from devouring her. Little did she know I would indeed collect. I found her when she was pregnant but she escaped me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were two of you. Now I will finally have what is owed to me. I’ve been searching for you for years.” He came walked closer to us. Before I could blink he had Alana in his clutches. He dug his teeth into her neck. She screamed. I ran for them and pulled him off of her. We rolled over the floor trying to get the upper hand. I pinned him to the ground and glanced over at Alana. She lay on the ground unconscious, bleeding heavily. Mr. Good took the opportunity to flip me over and pin me down. His eyes were completely black, his mouth looked impossibly wide and his hands were claws at my neck. Just as he was about to sink his teeth into my neck something knocked him to the ground. Alana stood over me with a metal bat in her hand. She turned to Mr. Good and before he could strike her she slammed the bat against his skull. She pummeled him until his skull was completely caved in. His blood was everywhere and his head was in several pieces. She fell to her knees.
I got up and wrapped my arms around her. We sat there for a long time.
We sat in the house until the cops arrived. We sat in silence the whole time. When the cops finally showed up we took them to the stables. Nightingale still lay on her side. Where Mr. Good lay there was nothing. His body had disappeared. I walked over to the bloodstained ground and found a note.
“You can never hide from me. I will find you and when I do you’ll wish I had just eaten your mother instead. Until we meet again.”
Regards, Mr. Good