Dear Mr. Smythe,
I hope this finds you well and you’ve had a pleasant holiday. I don’t mean to disturb you unnecessarily, but the strangest thing has happened. Last night, I had trouble sleeping and heard scratching noises coming from the garden. I pulled back the draperies in the great room, and I swear to you that my mad cousin Edwin stared in at me. I nearly died of fright! Of course, I told myself not to be silly and it must have been a trick of light from the moon. But I can’t shake the feeling today that something is wrong. Would you be so kind as to ascertain that Edwin is still locked securely away in the asylum, under constant guard as the judge decreed? It would put my mind at ease if you would send me such a statement at your soonest convenience.
Thanks ever so,
Lady Jessica Tarleton
“I wish I had received this letter sooner,” Mr. Smythe said to his wife. “I certainly would have done as she had asked immediately. The poor woman.”
Mrs. Smythe shuddered. “Lucinda told me at tea that the maid was in hysterics and had to be sedated. I can’t even imagine finding a body in such a… state.”
Mr. Smythe reached for his brandy. “It is too horrific to be contemplated.”
“But they say…” Mrs. Smythe paused to take a deep breath. “That she had been partially… consumed? By her own cousin!”
“Yes.” Mr. Smythe confirmed. “Edwin somehow acquired the taste for human flesh. You know he traveled to odd corners of the world in his youth.”
“But where is he now?” Mrs. Smythe pulled the edges of her dressing gown closer together. “Why hasn’t he been captured?”
Mr. Smythe sighed. “No one knows.”
Image source unknown.
Written for Tourmaline’s Halloween Challenge.
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