Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear Collection’
He finally placed the last piece.
For years he had worked on this puzzle. He had bought it at a yard sale, that had some of the most strange antiques. Henry had always been a fan of puzzles. He couldn’t resist when the woman told him it would take a lifetime to put together.
He was surprised and amused when she handed him a large paper bag full of puzzle pieces. He had to dedicate a table only to this puzzle, it was so big.
For the longest time, he barely touched it, having no idea what the picture was, without the box it was nearly impossible to get started.
As time wore on and Henry became less active, the puzzle held more interest for him. He began to make progress on it and soon had it more than half done.
The strange thing was sometimes it seemed like the picture on the puzzle was different from one day to the next. Still, he kept at it. It had become an obsession now. He had to know what was in the picture.
When his wrinkled, arthritic hand put the last piece in, he leaned back to take a look and a chill ran through him. It was a picture of him as a younger man. He was sitting at that very same table and putting together that very same puzzle.
As if that wasn’t unnerving enough, over his shoulder, in the window behind him was a shadowy figure. He leaned closer to the puzzle to get a better look.
The figure was robed entirely in black with a hood covering its face. A skeletal hand held a scythe beside it.
Henry’s eyes grew wide with fear. For what seemed like eternity, he sat as still as a tombstone.
This can’t be real. There’s some logical explanation, but for the life of me, I can’t think of it.
Finally, Henry’s curiosity devoured him like a starving predator. He slowly turned and looked at the window.
Three days later the paramedics found his decaying body hunched over, with his head laying on the table. Bodily fluids had pooled on the puzzle, ruining it.
They never saw the picture of the man or the now empty window.
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