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The Long Lost Way of Things

Sometimes the light is too bright, and sometimes in the dark we can finally see.

Of course in the Gutter, fair and balanced means something entirely different to the unbalanced....

The Long Lost Way of Things by Craig T. McNeeley

I did not know where the door was. This was a problem because that door was the most important thing in all my life. It would help if I still had my eyes but my vision was just one of the things that the villain had stolen from me.

How long had it been since I was left entirely alone, free from the lash? At least two days for sure. Two days since my captor’s vile trickery rent my life asunder. Two days since the beginning of the deep dark night of my soul.

The wall. I’ve felt it before but always took it for granted. This time I knew that following it would eventually lead inexorably to my release. The door, that great and lost thing that my life literally depended on, would be found if I simply followed along the wall. 

I carried the axe that I used to free myself. Cutting the ropes that tied me down took some time since I could not see. I made the mistake once and was constantly reminded of the wound on my left foot as I searched the wall. I prayed that I would not one day have to amputate.

The smell. The smell was awful. Left with no other option, I have had to relieve myself in this very room. Others imprisoned before me have had to suffer the very same indignity. How many have there been? Incalculable!

The sound. It was the closest to pure silence that I have ever encountered. It was as though I was drifting in the void. No longer myself, no longer a part of anything. Of course, this was no different than how things had been before. God had simply chosen to no longer burden me with gazing upon his lesser, sinful creatures. I alone in this land acknowledged the long lost way of things, the true way, and I would set this world afire. 

Verily I would set things right. Upon my escape, I promised that I would visit vengeance upon my captors. The one that tossed me into this dank, dark, devilish place and left me to die would pay. I would find them and drag them back here. They would be left alone in this place with no light and no hope. The difference is that I would ensure that they could never escape! 

The door had to be overcome first. Once I found it, I railed against it, axe in hand, my heart sinking with each “thud!” I feared that I did not possess the strength to wield the axe anymore, to carry it to its righteous purpose. 

Thud! Thud! Thud! CRASH!

My hand reached through the broken section of the door and reached around. I opened the door and let it hit the wall violently as it swung. I relished the loud noise after so much silence, like the words of the angels urging me to my calling. The exhaustion was great but my willed myself to go on, thinking of nothing but the sweet serving of revenge that I would deliver. 

I could hear the voice calling me from far away but I could not run. I limped forward and out of the dungeon. It was oppressively hot. Hounds barked and growled but they must have still been chained because none of them attacked me. 

“It has been two painful days. . . .” the distant voice began. Yes, two days. Two long, agonizing days. I carried on. I had to get closer. 

Another door. I kicked it as hard as I could with my one good leg and it swung open. The stench of rotten food and the buzzing of flies hit me immediately. The voice was clearer—an angel, calling me, beckoning me to not lose hope and not forget my purpose. 

“She’s home now in Huntsville where she and her family are slowly trying to rebuild what was taken from them.” 

Home! My captor, the demon who blinded me and left me to die, enjoys freedom and luxury even while I suffer! I waited for the angel to tell me more.

“Authorities say that she was held for six long years by the so-called Hooded Axeman until she managed to overpower him and make her escape to her Huntsville home where her family and loved ones had been searching for her. The Hooded Axeman, unfortunately, remains at large. Stay tuned to KLQB News for more as this story develops.”

I have remained informed by Angel KLQB, my constant source of truth and light and The Best and Most Trusted News Team, and I shall slay the Demon of Huntsville! Beware The Hooded Axeman!

Craig T. McNeely is the Chief Editor of the pulp fiction magazine Dark Corners. He lives in the wilds of northern Arkansas where he is deeply suspicious of outsiders.