To whoever reads this: I feel that I must apologize if what you find on these pieces of
paper appears to be nothing more than a collection of near-indecipherable words. I can assure
you that I have tried everything I can think of, and yet I cannot keep my hands from trembling.
This, however, is only a symptom of my much greater problems.
I cannot eat, or sleep, or even close my eyes for longer than the briefest of moments. I
feel as if I’m about to lose my mind, but I’m clear enough to realize that I have to get this story
off my chest, before it consumes whatever sanity I have left. Unfortunately, the only recipient I
can trust with a story as bizarre and horrible as this are the same pieces of paper upon which
these words are written.
For officers of the Eldritch City Police Department, no two days are alike. Even with this
in mind, yesterday morning would still single itself out as peculiar. As I entered the precinct to
begin my shift, I met a man who I realized was from out of town. It was clear that he was
uncomfortable since he was constantly scratching his arm and shifting his gaze. It was as if he
was trying to view the entire room at once.
There are many things that can be said of Eldritch City, but the one thing people always
remember is the air. It’s not that it has a particular smell, but it has a way of sticking to your skin,
like wet clothes on a rainy day. Us locals usually say that it is due to the humidity that comes
with being in a warm coastal city, but humid air does not leave you with a feeling of being
watched, or that something terrible is about to happen. Given time, one learns to hide this
discomfort. People from out of town, however, usually haven’t learnt the knack.
The man introduced himself as Deputy Swanson of the Heartbrook Sheriff’s office. Upon
learning my name, he raised his eyebrows in surprise. “It would seem I am in luck,” he said. “It
is in fact you that I have come here to see.”
Before continuing the conversation, I invited Swanson back to my desk — I have yet to
earn my own office — and offered him a choice of coffee or tea, of which he chose the latter.
When we were both sitting comfortably, I asked what had brought him all the way here from
Heartbrook. To this he responded by handing me a newspaper article, dating back nine years.
The article was an interview with a younger me regarding a murder case out by Mirkwood. I
knew the article well, not just because I was the subject of the interview, but also because the
case in question had been troubling me ever since I had been assigned to it.
Nine years earlier, for their summer-break, the Phillips family had gone out to their newly
built cabin in Mirkwood, on the outskirts of the city. Only a day into their vacation, Mr. Phillips
and his daughter, Julia, were brutally murdered. Their bodies had been mutilated to the point of
being barely recognizable — large portions of flesh were missing. It was almost as if something
had fed on them. The coroner couldn’t rule out an animal attack, but thought it unlikely since the
wounds were inconsistent with the bite of any species known to be living in Mirkwood.