by Kerr Cole
A short story about a small town dealing with a little bit of murder.
THURSDAY the 12th
Diva Foreman was out for an evening run. Listening to her local news podcast through her ear pods.
It was mid autumn, foggy and chilly. She stops to take a breath as the breeze kicked up knocking colorful leaves off the trees.
She took in her surroundings. Realizing she was out front of Tillman Cemetery, and night was approaching.
In her ears the news was broadcasting the devastating news that another body was found.
It would seem that there could be a serial killer in their little neck of the woods.
They are calling him “The Madness Terror”.
“Of, course a killer would want to cause havoc in a town named Madness” she thought.
Diva was afraid that if she ran around the cemetery it would be completely dark before getting home.
So, she decided to cut through the cemetery.
She removed her ear pods so she can hear clearly. She began to walk through carefully watching her every step.
Her apple watch alerted a spike in her heart rate.
It was so quiet all she could hear was whistling from the wind.
A loud sound made her tense. She looked over relieved realizing the wind knocked the metal lids off the trash cans.
“Get a hold of yourself” she said out loud.
She began to pick up her pace.
“It’s literally okay” she kept reminding herself.
But then…she started hearing foot steps. The crackling of dead leaves behind her. Every step sounded closer and closer.
Goosebumps over took her entire body mucking up the courage to…
“AHHH” she screamed as she turned around to see.
She scanned the whole cemetery, and there was not a soul in sight.
So, she continued on. Than a ghostly figure popped out from behind mausoleum watching her walk away.
Diva saw the exit, and became instantly relieved. She began speeding up jogging somewhat when the ghostly figure jumped out from behind a tree trying to grab her.
She screamed piercing the entire night sky. She lost her balance almost falling, but she catches herself running the rest of the way home.
She reached her front door screaming for her husband Darren. She struggled to lock her front door.
Her nerves were shot still screaming.
He came downstairs annoyed.
“I saw the killer”.
Seems like the only thing he can say.
“The killer! The Madness Terror. He was just after me” she was explaining still shaking.
Darren waves her off.
“Oh, please. Don’t live up to your name”.
“Your such an asshole. Why did I ever marry you” she asked?
He shrugged his shoulders.
“Cause you got knocked up” he fired shots as he arrogantly walked up stairs.
Diva calms herself down, and she goes to look out the window. She jumps.
There he is staring at her from across the street.
She grabs her phone, and walks away to call 911.
Madness town police showed up, and Diva kept trying to give her statement, but Darren continuously stepped in.
“You didn’t see anything. I’m so sorry for wasting your time officers” he said bouncing their baby up and down.
“She just listens to the news a little too much”.
Diva gets upset “give me my baby” she said snatching her from his arms.
Darren follows the officers out.
“She likes to cut through the Cemetery. That spooky place will play tricks with your head”.
The cops are understanding and leaves.
Darren shuts the door.
“I can’t believe you really embarrassed me like that. You don’t know what I saw.”
He argues with her “I know what you didn’t see. Mr. Tillman. Dead for a few years Mr. Tillman.”
He shakes his head. “I’m a respectable man of this town. You just embarrassed me.”
He began to walk up the steps.
“Respectable. Please… your just the god damn mailman” she said. She held her baby girl tight and walked away.
That night she laid awake in bed holding the baby monitor tight to her chest. Darren was asleep on the couch. Tree branches blew in the wind scratching at the window.
Diva looked at the clock.
2:15 it read.
She huffed, and turned to try to get some sleep. Then static started to come through the monitor. Her eye opened.
She heard whispering, but she couldn’t quite make it out. She placed the monitor closer to her ear to hear better.
The whispering continued while fear slowly crept in.
“GET OUT. GET OUT” repeated loudly in her ear. She threw the baby monitor against the wall breaking it.
The sound woke the baby and she cried. Diva quickly rushed to her room.
She switched on the light, but there was no one there. She tried to calm her before checking the rest of the house.
Darren was still dead asleep.
“Babe” she said trying to wake him.
“Go away” he responded turning over with not a care in the world.
She goes back to bed holding her daughter in her arms for the rest of the night.
FRIDAY the 13th
The next morning after Darren left for work; Diva brought the bassinet downstairs to keep an eye on the baby.
Some thing wasn’t sitting right with her so,
she went on the computer to do some research. Before going on maternity leave she was a reporter for the News Paper in the city.
Mr. Tillman died three years ago today. His death was ruled an accident. However, before his death there was another string of murders that occurred.
She had remembered because she came to town to investigate, but the murders stopped, and there has not been no leads since.
“It’s strange that the news had not reported that the murders occurring now have the same MO” she said.
She could not shake the feeling that there was more to the story. Natural curiosity was her forte.
Diva had an urge to revisit Tillman Cemetery again.
She cooked dinner, and waited for Darren to come home. The minute he comes in the door she hounds him.
“Oh, good your home”. She gives him a kiss on the cheek.
“Listen, the baby’s been feed, and is out cold. Your plate is in the microwave. I’m going to go for a run okay, bye”.
He thought she was acting strange, but really couldn’t care less. She grabbed her coat feeling that the temperature dropped, and walked to the cemetery.
Once she got to the the Tillman Cemetery she stood out front of it for a good five minutes before walking through.
The dead leaves crinkled under her feet, and the whistle blew so loud it was eerie.
She was half way through when she made a dead stop.
She was staring intensely over by the mausoleum.
There at the entrance was Mr. Tillman pointing for her to go inside.
Her blood ran cold, and had all the instincts to run away, but a small gut feeling to satisfy her curiosity.
She closes her eyes, and takes a deep breath when she opens them he was gone. She carefully walked over towards the building.
When she went inside it was pretty much what she expected a crypt to look like.
Dark. Dusty. Cob webs every where
She took her cell phone out to use the flash light.
There were carvings of the Tillman family line on the wall who died.
Old jars in a casing that she could only assume where preserved organs of the dead.
“Ew. How Egyptian of you? Is this placed cursed too?”
A loud groan scared her.
“Good god. I’m sorry” she said afraid she angered the spirits.
Finally, getting her attention she noticed the tomb in the center of the floor had been tampered with.
Everywhere else had been covered in dust.
She walked over, and had to use all her might to slide the heavy stone lid.
While she was opening it a huge rat jumped out at her, and she screamed falling backwards on the ground.
As she was trying to get herself together the door shut and locked.
She gets up quickly running to the door. It would not open so, she began banging on it, and screaming for help.
During all her screaming with no warning Mr. Tillman’s ghost popped through the wall.
Diva stumbles back.
“Jesus Christ, Tillman. Stop doing that”.
He points to the tomb.
Diva starts to feel way over her head now but, she goes to take a look.
She picks her phone up from when she fell and shines the light.
“Oh, my god.”
Next to a skeleton is the Madness Terror’s murder weapon. A bloody hatchet.
News paper clippings of all his victims.
There are what looks like scratch marks carved into the tomb that matches up with the number of his kills.
She comes across a folder that had classified information written on it.
When she opened it there were newspaper clippings, and documents on the Tillman’s.
There was a marriage license from the 1980s. It had seemed like Mr. Tillman’s daughter Julia married a man named:
She had a hard time processing the information until she found the last news paper clipping:
Young couple Mr. & Mrs. Foreman died in their home by an intruder. An obvious robbery gone wrong when the intruder was surprised that the occupants were home. Their son Darren was still asleep in his bed at the time of his parents murder. The bodies were found by Julia Foreman’s father Bud Tillman.
Now Diva is putting the pieces together.
She looks up, and Bud is floating in front of her.
“Save her” he cries.
She nods. She looks around, and finds a tree branch on the floor.
She swings knocking out the stained glass window.
It is a small space, but she climbs through cutting her leg on a piece of glass. Nothing is going to stop her from saving her daughter from her husband.
Diva runs home, but she stops at the door. Her apple watch tells he to catch her breath. She wants to walk in calm showing no signs of distress.
When she walked in she was caught off guard. Darren was sitting on the couch waiting to greet her with some dessert and wine.
Confused she asked “what’s going on”?
“Dinner was great” he said with a flirtatious smile.
“Okay” she said cautiously looking around.
He notices her weird behavior, and begins to explain to try to ease her mind.
“Look. I know things haven’t been easy lately. I haven’t been putting a lot of effort into our marriage”.
He was playing with the glass of wine slowly running his finger on the rim during his explanation.
“It’s obviously been stressing you out. Causing you to see crazy things”.
She feels off walking toward the stairs.
“Where’s the baby” she asked her voice trembling?
“She’s in the room sleeping. She’s fine.”
Darren stood up, and walked the glass of wine to her. He tried handing it to her, but she hesitated to take it, but also didn’t want to look suspicious. So, she took the glass.
Darren took her other hand pulling her over to the couch. He sat her down, and than sat next to her staring into her eyes without blinking.
“Your too tense. Relax, sweet heart.”
He made himself comfortable.
“Did I ever tell you why I asked you out?”
She shook her head.
“Rumor had it. A hot shot reporter was coming to town to cover the mysterious murders. I gotta say being a reporter and all; you didn’t find it odd that after you got to town the murders just stopped.”
Diva was too afraid to speak.
“I thought it was genius. Marrying the reporter that was investigating…well me. I was controlling my own story.”
His tone changed.
“But then you had to get pregnant” he said angrily.
“I needed to express my frustrations somehow”.
Diva finally got out the words.
“You’re a Tillman”
He shrugged his shoulders “technically, in a way”.
“You killed your grandfather”.
Darren smiled “well, he figured out my secret” he said with no remorse.
“And now you know my secret” he said with a credulous smile.
The baby cried drawing his attention away, and when he turned back around all he saw was a glass of wine in his vision.
Diva had smacked the glass against his head. Shards of glass shattered every where, and he was dripping wet with red wine.
She got up running away trying to call 911 through her apple watch.
She gets up stairs to the baby’s room.
“911. What’s your emergency”?
Before she could get a sentence out Darren tackles her to the ground.
With all the commotion the baby’s cries become more intense.
Diva struggles to get up as Darren keeps knocking her feet out from under her.
The operator over hears the chaos.
“Hold on tight. We are sending help”.
Darren pulls out a knife.
“I guess this Knife from the set your parents gave us for a wedding present will have to do. Since, I had to lock you in the mausoleum with my things.”
Darren starts to charge and than stops. Diva looks over curious about what he was looking at.
It was Mr. Tillman.
“NO MORE” he screamed.
His ghost flew over to him forcing him out through the second floor window.
Diva got up shaking. She took her daughter in her arms. Comforting her.
“Shh. SHH. Shh.”
She limped over to the window. She heard police sirens getting close. The lights of the cop cars shined where broken glass, and wood were on the grass, but Darren was not there.
Diva was confused how he could get up, and walk away from that, but then a coo came from her daughter. A sense of relief came over her hugging her daughter tighter now that is was all over.
In the mean time Darren is dragging himself down the street. His legs were definitely broken but, he was using his arms stretching them out in front of him continuously pulling himself along.
“Let me go old man” he shouted.
“You must be punished” Mr. Tillman responded but, through Darren’s voice.
Mr. Tillman was inside Darren controlling his whole body. Pulling him back to the family Cemetery. Right into the same crypt. Right where Darren had left his grandfathers body.
Darren screamed. Screamed until his voice went hoarse.
“Go to hell old man” he barely got out.
“That’s where your going grandson” he said before using his grandson’s arms to close the lid on himself. Leaving Darren to die suffering alone in the dark.
Afterwards Mr. Tillman’s unfinished business was complete. A bright light lit up the mausoleum allowing Bud to cross over into the light, knowing his great grand daughter was safe, and his grand son could no longer hurt the people in his beloved town of Madness.