Child Eater –10th-anniversary edition Release Day

10 years ago today, on the 25th of January 2012, Child Eater was released. I’m celebrating this amazing event by releasing a special 10th Anniversary Edition! You can read chapters one, two, three, four, and five, or find chapter six below.

Child Eater: 10th Anniversary Edition

Chapter 6

Tabitha headed back in the direction they had come. She decided to stop back by the diner for a club sandwich and a coke before continuing on to the cemetery and beyond. It was after two when she selected a stool at the counter and placed her order. Most of the old timers were gone. The last of the gossips were now whispering in hushed tones. She couldn’t even catch snippets of their conversations.

She set the coleslaw aside. She never did understand why restaurants insisted on serving coleslaw with their club sandwiches. Somebody somewhere obviously thought they were a good compliment to each other. She, however, found it to be disgusting. The texture was enough to make her gag, which she almost did just thinking about it. She pushed it farther away from her plate and dove into her sandwich. She hadn’t realized just how hungry she was, until she had taken a couple bites.

She finished her meal, paid her bill, and left a generous tip for the waitress, who looked haggard from the lunch rush. She headed out to the street. She looked around, unsure of her surroundings in the strange town. She noticed a library on the corner. She wondered if, like many libraries, they would have transferred all their old newspapers to microfiche. She may be able to go back thirty or so years to the last disappearance.

Upon entering the library, Tabitha felt like she’d stepped backwards in time. Unlike the libraries she normally visited, this one did not have any computers. There was a card catalogue in the center of the main room. The shelving was built from a dark wood and looked to be custom. Everything looked like she expected it would have looked in the eighteen-hundreds. But that was just speculation based on her minimal experience with antiques. There was also no microfiche machine. Instead, she found herself faced with the daunting task of searching the newspapers hardcopy. They were kept in the “Newsroom,” which was right next door to the “Kiddy Korner.”

She settled in for the task, finding newspapers from twenty-eight to thirty-two years ago. She was glad that it was a small town, as the papers were no more than eight pages each. It didn’t take her long to find it. It was in July of nineteen-eighty. A little eight-year-old boy had been in town to visit his grandfather, a resident of Rested Meadows. He’d been staying with his parents at the local bed and breakfast. His parents had tucked him into bed, and then headed to the living room provided for guests at the bed and breakfast. They had played cards with some of the other guests. Hours later, when they headed upstairs to turn in for the night, they discovered his bed empty. The window, which had been closed when they’d tucked him in, was wide open, the screen completely gone.

Tabitha searched through the issues from the following months for more information. The story made its way from the front page to page two, then it was just a small corner on page four. Ultimately, he became a “Have you seen me?” picture on the final page of a newspaper printed in the first week of September. She wondered if they’d even tried to find this boy. She decided to check out the bed and breakfast while she was in town, too. She stopped and asked the librarian where she could find it.

“Oh, it closed years and years ago. Families didn’t feel safe there after that boy disappeared. Was a long time ago. The house has been empty ever since.”

“Oh,” Tabitha said in disappointment. “Well, perhaps you could point me in the right direction anyways. I love checking out old houses. Maybe I can just walk by there and have a look?”

“I don’t see why not. I used to peek in the windows when I was a girl. They say the boy still walks the halls, searching for his parents.”

The librarian gave Tabitha detailed directions and a description of the house. She told her to watch out for ghosts. “This old town is just full of them!” she quipped.

Tabitha headed in the direction of the old bed and breakfast. She found it easily enough. The house was in complete disrepair, but she could see that it once was a beautiful Victorian home. Once, there had been a walkway through gardens, they were now overrun by weeds. There was beautiful ivy climbing the walls of the house, but untended it had grown wildly, covering the doors and windows. The paint was chipped and peeling. It appeared to be the color of old dust, but she surmised that it had once been a bright and beautiful white. The shutters were either hanging loosely by their corners or had crashed to the ground below. The property backed up against the woods. She wondered if those were the same woods that Mrs. Peters had walked in.

She wandered around to the back of the house, peeking in windows where she could. When she came around the back, she noticed something strange. There was a window upstairs, left open to the elements. The screen was missing. That wasn’t the strange part though. The strange part was that the ivy that grew all over the house was brown and shriveled up in almost a perfectly straight line from the ground to that window. The ivy along the rest of the back of the house was green and wild. She decided she had to get up there, into that bedroom. She decided to come back after dark to investigate without being so exposed to the eyes of the neighboring homes.

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