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Myron Sleishangermann loved all mystery, crime, and police stories, whether they are in print or video format.  In fact, his very first toy when he was still a toddler was “The U.S. Top Fugitive” game.  It did not matter whether it was Edgar Allen Poe, Phillip Marlow, Masterpiece Theater’s Mystery, and, or everything in-between, he had an insatiable appetite for this genre.  But as an adolescent, Myron urgently needed to be more than just a passive observer of others, but needed to emulate Tom Swift, solving the world’s crimes.  The reality was, as the authorities rudely told him, that unlike Nursing Homes, they did not take volunteer help.  Today, as a college student he aspired to be like Sherlock Holmes, albeit in a 21st Century style, as the Seventh Percent Solution was so Old School.  He would break the big case, and then they would listen!

Not even considering his next plan to be in the realm of science fiction, Myron also set out, by intense study, to augment his mental abilities to guess where a perpetrator would strike next, or better yet, to discern individuals for their potential, and maybe he could prevent some horrific tragedy.  Using the help of the Technology and Psychology Departments, he soon had a headset utilizing the latest discovery, Zeta brain waves.  This breakthrough actually allowed Wi-Fi hardware and software to bridge the gap between computer and thought processes.  Now, he just had to wait until his turn to use the new Cray computers donated by a rich alumni of Sassafras State University on the pretext, in not too much of a stretch,  of finalizing his Master’s in Criminology.

Tuesday was his big night at Babbage Hall, and as luck would have it, a serial killer was loose in Paladin City, about a half hour’s drive up the interstate.  Could he intercept the very neurological interchanges and figure out what this guy, dubbed by the press, “The Postcard Puncture Person” was going to do next He (or she, in this PC, {no not Personal Computer}, but Politically Correct era) earned this disjointed moniker by leaving an ice pick pushed through a happy vacation postcard in the victim’s chest.  When he helps catch Triple P, (as the new nickname became circulated), he will be on his way to be every department’s consultant.  Heck, I bet he could work for the FBI, the CIA, NSA, or Sacre Bleu, the Deuxième Bureau: name your price!

Entering his key code to enter the graduate student entrance, he furtively made his way to the lab.  Myron was hopeful that headset was there, made by the only person that ever came close to being a friend, Stagg, and the software on a thumb drive by the latter’s girlfriend, Lois - a double major in psychology and programming.  In a locked aluminum case on the desk was the fulfillment of his wishes.  Without any wasting of time, he logged on the computer, found the email from his friends, obtained the combination, opened the case, put the flash drive in, and put on the headset. The USB device then accessed all the computers on the World Wide Web; his head was literally in the Cloud Computing Consciousness.  Now, he had to focus his mind on the perp running around their area. He started with concentrating on the postcard that was unceremoniously, (or maybe it was a ritual), left stuck to poor Sally Reiger’s sternum. It was the Eiffel Tower, of course, in Paris, and uh duh, in France.  But as his neurons began to fire in sync with thousands of CPU’s and memory, he knew that a deflection was in place here.  People would be looking for some deranged Francophobe, or “…we'll always have Paris…” memory, but there was something more subtle, deeper, though no less sinister.

Next, like a dream, he was walking the streets in the Tramayne Township; he could feel the cracked sidewalks beneath his Birkenstock soles.  However his soul was now directed beyond his control.  He now was at a doorstep, the door opened, and he went on in a dark, musky, small, foyer in a house, whose one-time charm had faded.  And what quality in woodwork it had was re-muddled with cheap white paint.  Not being able to stop himself, he was drawn up the narrow creaking stairs.  He had this notion that this house once housed the Ice Man -- from the old days when a wagon brought huge chunks of ice into town.  The guy would have been handy with an ice pick:  Fear started to penetrate the haze. 

Who lived in the house now? 

The image of the first postcard impaled on Randy Mackelbee’s body came to mind: Ice floating down the semi-frozen river in Glacier National Park.  As these thoughts were being assessed, he found himself in a bedroom – a woman’s.  He looked in the mirror, but instead of his reflection, it was Lois’!  Panic permeated his being, but, in this disembodied state, and captive of electronics and diabolical software, he could do nothing but go along with his “body” which was now going downstairs.  He needed to get out of this place, and back to reality.  Nevertheless, that part of his will that had obsessed with profiling this latest killer and becoming the hero was preeminent.  He was crossing the threshold of the kitchen, and much further….

Why was he opening that cabinet drawer?

He could hear it clang as it slid towards him, knives and other utensils clattering, almost in a taunting banter. As his hand reached in, he tried to forcibly stop it, unfortunately he was basically only an observer of his puppet self, and he knew seconds before what he was going to grab: an ice pick!  Its handle a miniature of the Eiffel Tower.  His prayers to a neglected God were not any help either, and helplessly, he found his way down to the basement, the needle sharp tool clutched in his should-be trembling hand.

Oh, thank Heaven, Stagg was down here!

 “Stagg! Man, you gotta do something to help me come to back in the lab!” He cried, but sounds seemed to just echo inside his skull. 

Please listen.

Stagg seemed to turn around to face him, but there was no recognition, no response.  What was reality, now?  Is he still back in his house up in his attic room in Sashwaken?  The mold on the peeling wallpaper giving him nightmares?  Or, is he crashed out sleeping after his first attempt at partying with the chess club after their national championships?

Yeah, just a bad dream

“Come on Stagg, wake me up, I’m so tired and confused, what the hell is happening?”  Instead, he found himself approaching Stagg, and developing a growing kind of indignation whereby he wanted to plunge the ice pick deep into his friend’s chest, with a picture of the Chambersburg Ice Sculpture Festival to give it some real Mojo.  Then, Stagg turned around, and with a sardonic grimace just smiled.  The hand holding the ice pick piercing a postcard ready to strike moved, though not outwardly, but steadily, firmly, in kind of a slow-mo effect towards his breast!  Like some unwanting aware comatose patient, he could feel the point cracking bone and cartilage, and then the agony of soft tissue and his ventricles hemorrhaging, pushing on nerves never meant to feel such things.  There was no ‘push esc’ to end this full screen and beyond of excruciation, but only the sensation of alternating spirals of light and dark fading….


They found Myron the next morning when the class came in.  When the Professor tapped Myron on the shoulder, and there was no response, he swirled his desk chair around, and the hapless student had his mouth wide open, and nothing apparently wrong, except after thorough CPR trained examination, there was no breathing.  Lois and Stagg volunteered to call 911


An autopsy a few days later found heart failure cause of death, reason unknown.  They did however find a postcard in his breast pocket of his jacket that said: “Wish you were here!”  


The Nodegel from Yuggoth: The 2011 Halloween Horrorquest

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