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News & Features » February 2018 » “The Butcher of Pensacola” by James Glass

“The Butcher of Pensacola” by James Glass

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

This week, Detective Mark Wheeler faces down his ghosts . . .

The Butcher of Pensacola
by James Glass
Pensacola, Florida

Detective Mark Wheeler lay on the grass. The ground chilled his bones as the fog rolled in. Stand up! Get up and leave this place. It was a place he’d seen many times—field of the damned.

Out from the mist, the bodies of those he killed or captured moved toward him. There were so many faces—Jack Spielman, the Anderson twins, Henry Lee Fines, Wendy Fisher. Bobby Poe, also known as the Butcher of Pensacola, led the pack, wielding an ax in his right hand.

Almost twenty years earlier, Mark stumbled upon the Butcher by accident when he went to question the man about an incident. When he arrived at Poe’s home, the front door was ajar. He knocked and announced himself. When no one answered, he entered the premises. Once inside, the foul stench of death and decay filled his nostrils. He radioed for backup, pulled his gun from its holster, and began to clear each room.

The smell grew stronger when he opened the door leading to a makeshift basement. He saw Bobby standing next to a large metal drum placed at the edge of a pit, his back to the detective. Sneaking up would be almost impossible since he didn’t have anywhere to conceal himself. He could go back and wait for backup, but if this man was in the middle of killing someone and Mark didn’t act, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

The stairs squeaked as he stepped onto the bottom rung.

Shit!

Bobby turned around, a white smock spattered in bloodstains. The man raised the ax in his right hand, his face flush with anger. His cold black eyes pierced Mark. At that moment, he realized Poe and the Butcher were one and the same.

“Drop the ax, turn around, and kneel on the ground. Lace your hands behind your head.”

Poe ignored the order and rushed at him, his steps quick and jagged.

“Stop or I’ll—”

Mark fired three shots in rapid succession into the chest of the Butcher of Pensacola. The man dropped to one leg, his head slumped, the ax still in his hands. Blood gushed from his body and pooled onto the dirt floor. Poe gasped for air, attempted one final lunge but fell forward instead into a crimson puddle.

Mark walked past the dead man and approached the drum. His face twisted at the remains of a dismembered body inside—two arms, two legs, and a head. Bile crept up the back of his throat but he managed to choke it down. A splashing sound caused him to look away. He stepped to the pit thinking someone might be down there trying to escape.

An alligator chewed on the torso of a human body. He dropped to his hands and knees and puked.

The faces of the many monsters continued to move closer to him from the fog. As he struggled to move, hands reached for him from under the ground, pulling at him. As he fought to get a foothold, hands dragged him into the abyss. Deep in the void where no light emitted, the darkness sank into every part of his being.

He struggled to get loose. Then all at once, the hands let go. Light emitted in the distance. Although he couldn’t move, paralyzed by the dirt, the light drew nearer. Silhouettes began to take form. As they moved closer, a young, female voice spoke in a frantic voice. “Please help us. You are the only one who can. If you find us we will be set free.”

His eyes focused on the figures as they moved closer. One by one, they came into view. A chill coursed through his blood as he recognized the victims of the Butcher of Pensacola.

Mark clinched his fists. He broke free of the dirt’s hold and started to walk away from the abyss. After several steps, he turned back to tell the girls he would find them, but they were gone.

His thoughts turned to the voice of the dead girl, pleading for him to find them. He knew he had to go back into the abyss. To explore it was to know it—to find his way through it. Mark acknowledged the fact that he was alone now. An acknowledgement he had waited a long time for and now could embrace it.

But where would the darkness lead him?

***

JAMES GLASS retired from the United States Navy after twenty-two years of service. After retiring, he exchanged his rifle for a pen. He and his family moved back to Florida. He’s been married for twenty-eight years and has two children and one grandson. James is also the President of the Panhandle Writer’s Group. His current published novels include Things Left Behind (DigiTerra Publishing 2017) and The Ultimate Chief Petty Officer Guidebook (Savas Beatie 2013). He also has three short stories previously published for Mondays are Murder (“Case Closed,” “The Body Farm,” and “The Fire Inside”) and five short stories published in Mystery Weekly. He is currently seeking representation for his unpublished crime thrillers Whisper Creek and The Silencer. Visit his website at jamescglass.com.

***

Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Feb 26, 2018

Category: Original Fiction, Mondays Are Murder, Original Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , ,



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