A Taste For Fear
A man is suspected of murder. The detective finds out what a monster he truly is … too late!
Tell Time: 5 minutes
Scare Rating: 3 of 5 Ghosts
The man on the other side of the two-way glass seemed very out of place. The crisp designer suit, thick, groomed silvery hair, and clean, ruddy complexion of the gentleman was not the normal type of suspect typically brought into the precinct.
A detective — “Jones,” by the name on his badge — burst into the room and slammed a large book onto the table between them. The man startled at the commotion, then allowed a small smirk to fill the corner of his mustachioed mouth.
“Alright ‘Butler,’ what’s this all about?” The detective didn’t care to know his perps’ real names and wasn’t inclined to make friends with the scumbags of his city, so he skipped the formalities of personal introductions..
“A Taste for Fear: A Seasoning Guide,” the man read aloud, somewhat sarcastically, as his fingers gently traced over the gold foiled letters. Aside from that untarnished gilt, the book was ancient and stained and reeked of sulfur and rot and mildew.
“We’ve already done basic forensics on it; there are various blood types on it.” Detective Jones pressed “We’ve also matched your handwriting to most of the thousands of handwritten notes in the margins; notes like” — at this, the detective flipped open the book and started to leaf through it.
“There’s a complete section on “‘Irrational Fears — and it has dozens of entries on the means of attack of various metaphysical creatures — ghosts and vampires and witches and werewolves and such. It tells how the haunts of each creature instills a different sort of fear in a person.
“Are these autographs on each page?” the detective asked. “It looks like you got people who think that they are these creatures to sign your sick little book for you. Many left notes of their own, I see, describing their … experiences with these …. Recipes?.”
“Oh yes, quite!” the man said, pleasantly nodding. The detective raised an eyebrow at the too-helpful response.
“What’s this all about?” he barked He’d flipped a few pages to a page titled Demon Haunt.
“The text reads ‘The slow anxiety, fear dread and loss of hope of a long demon haunt tenderizes the human soul, for a rich, succulent meal. With high notes and deep full richness this complex yet pure feast is quite satisfying.’
“Then, in pen and ink in the margin, one of your sick friends wrote, ”’Tis all quite true! A 47-year possession yielded my best meal ever! It’s quite impossible to overdo one of them in a slow-roast manner such as this. If only the hunger pangs hadn’t compelled me, I might have left him going for another decade or longer!'”
“That is some sick stuff, mister!”
The man nodded vigorously in agreement.
“And here’s another one just as disturbing: ‘Yummy!’ says the note. And the date ‘Dec, 14, 1967’ on the page titled Slow Torture. Isn’t that the date of the unsolved mutilation killing on the south side?”
The gentleman continued to cooperate, and nodded slowly as he reflected.
“Why yes, I believe it was ….” He had a faint smile on his mouth and a far-away look in his eyes, as if he was remembering; or more than remembering — almost reliving.
“What’s this Jump Scare section about?” The detective asked, but didn’t wait for an answer. “‘Reserved for amateur creatures who like a quick kill and don’t have a sophisticated palate. A deep, sweet satisfying taste flooded with adrenals and perfect for a snack or a dessert.'”
“When we found you with this book, you were just a block away from the crime scene of a gory, fresh murder. The victims’ blood is fresh on the cover of this book. You gave no resist and almost seem proud of everything that’s twisted and evil that’s found in this book.” The detective was naturally hard boiled, but looking into the relaxed, almost gleeful eyes of his perpetrator creeped him out There was something very wrong about this right-looking person across the table from him. As he relentlessly grilled his unperturbed suspect he was simultaneously connecting dots about the case.
“You’re in a lot of trouble, mister,” the detective said. He wanted to sound hard, firm, almost angry. But what came out was just a low mutter. His brain was racing, racing against time, but knowing already that the race was finished. “I hope you have a good lawyer,” he said.
The man smiled again, but all pretense of politeness was gone — this was the smile of a ravenous tiger. He stood up and stepped around the table toward the detective, who stood in shocked awe as the man’s form changed.
In an instant before him, instead of a man, a large, primordial, creature now stood, all gaping mouth, with catfish-like tendrils on its face that reached out and grabbed the detective.
The cop’s head went into the gaping maw first and fast, muffling any screams for help. The deed was quick, yet the taste; the taste of fear was intense and palpable and sweet to the gentleman.
“Realization fear,” he absentmindedly remarked as he dabbed at the corners of his mouth with his pocket square. “Coming to the intellectual conclusion that all of your irrational fears are indeed rational — and present at hand.. That’s quite a new one I hadn’t discovered until now. I’ll have to add that to the next edition.”
With that, he scooped up his book, strolled out of the room and out the door of the station.