Look! Paladin said to his mother. A book with Grandpa’s handwriting!
Oh, my! Who would have known grandpa was a writer. And the name, “Tales of the Horror”. Haha! Your dark and sinister Grandpa…
They both laughed. Grandpa had been the funniest man alive, always cheerful and friendly. The only moment Paladin had seen him sad was the weeks after Grandma left him.
He sat down by the desk and started reading while his mother kept organising the old things in the attic. They would have to make a lot of trips out here the coming weeks, a lot of things had been piling up through a long life.
The first story was about a young man. It was a dark story, about how he murdered his little brother. Awesome, Paladin thought. He had always loved horror stories. He wish he’d known about this when his grandfather was still alive, they would have had even more to talk abut.
The next story was about a young woman bathing in the river. Someone was watching her from the shadows of the trees, lurking, waiting. Sneaking towards her as she was drying her naked body with her shirt. The knife cutting her skin. She was left floating face down in the river, the water flowing red.
He kept reading.
One story was about a man who murdered the neighbour’s kid. Lured him into his car with candy, drove him out into the countryside. Another about one who killed his wife, so beautiful, so gentle. He had murdered her because of her loving ways. Because he wanted to destroy a wonderful part of the world. He buried her in the garden by the apple tree. He had put a little stone on the grave, to remind him of the delicious, morbid murder. The apples hadn’t tasted the same since, it said. The murderer loved to give them to his grandson, thinking he was eating his grandma.
Paladin walked down the stairs, looked out the window. Stood there for a while. He went out.
Where are you going with the shovel? His mother was carrying some boxes out to the car. He didn’t answer.
He dug and he dug as the pile of dirt grew bigger, the hole deeper. He struck something. Something hard. He dug slower, more carefully. He could see something yellowish and round. He pulled it out of in the dirt. A scull. Bones.
His grandmother hadn’t left at all.