From down the stairs, the door buzzer made a startling loud chime. The noise sent his chest racing into overdrive. No fear took hold of him, only excitement that it was finally here.

He raced down the spiral staircase, brushing on the white wooden banister with little notice. At the bottom he could see the distorted vision from behind the frosted glass of a delivery guy dressed in red. The man opened the door and the courier presented him with a large square package to sign for.

He leapt back up the stairs to his workshop where he placed the box on his workstation. Dotted around the room was a shrine to vintage horror movies. Paraphernalia you could only imagine – latex masks inside glass cases, blood-caked weapons, killer clowns in their costumes and ominous parts of bodies placed in jars. Most had placards accompanying them. One had a glass case baring a severed head with a skewer through it and a tag with the words ‘From: The city of the Cannibal King – 1973.’

He grabbed a knife from the desk drawer and sliced into the cardboard box. Inside, was a polystyrene inner case for him to remove and add to his morbid collection as the latest artefact. He blinked in quick succession and scratched the skin underneath his left eye socket. This wasn’t what he ordered. Why did he have a headless bust with the head removed from the throat upwards? His face turned red and blotchy.

Angry, he pulled out his laptop and logged into his email inbox. After much bashing on the keyboard, he typed a disgruntled email to the seller. He was about to press ‘Send’ when the buzzer sounded downstairs. At last, he thought. It wasn’t a mistake after all. Maybe the seller just separated the order into two shipments.

Downstairs again, the buzzer vibrated like an alarm clock shaking inside a tin box. Buzzzz. Buzzzz. It sounded like a bumble bee trapped in a jar with amplified microphones. This delivery guy must have his finger glued to the button, yet he saw nobody when he got to the door.

Now he contemplated the events unfolding in-front of his eyes. How strange, he thought. His irises bulged, and his Adam’s apple expanded when he pushed opened his bedroom door. The adrenaline filtered through his veins like a premonition. Where was all his precious horror memorabilia? The masks, the murder weapons, the costumes? And the glass cases were empty. He felt his shoulders throb and leaned forward in the vomiting position, with his hands placed firmly on his head. His whole life was in that room.

He cried out irrationally. “Who’s fucking with me? You’re not the sharper knife. Do you hear me? You’ve no idea who you’re actually fucking with.”

This left him only one option – to search the rest of the house. When he checked his smartphone, he saw three missed calls. The last one was his mum, but he swiped it off the screen and put it in his back pocket. She could wait until later.

His final search brought him to the spare room. This was a sanctuary for his junk. Unwanted gadgets, obsolete computer game consoles, clothes that no longer fit him piled up in Sports Direct laundry bags. He tried to avoid here at all costs, if only to postpone the hassle of thinking how to remove all these superfluous belongings from his life. Last time he checked he did not remember storing a red wig in here. He winced at the tuft of red hair peaking over the top edge of the door. The index finger of his right hand trembled like a twig caught up in a blustery gale.

His neck muscles tensed. What was that behind him cooling the folds of flesh in his skull like an extractor fan on the lowest setting? Not daring to turn around, his eyes glimpsed the bottom of the door. His heart stopped for a moment when he recognized a shoe from his favourite movie. The breathing on his neck intensified as his ears twitched. Adrenaline forced him to turn around, but the man in the dark boiler suit and white mask had already raised his butcher’s knife before he could block it with his arm. One clean swipe skimmed his left cheekbone as he screwed up his face and retreated with a grimace. The muscles in his jaw failed him as he fell to the ground with mouth agape and his left hand cradling the laceration as blood filled up inside his mouth.

The next thing he saw were the feet of his attacker as the warm liquid seeped from his face and blurred his eyesight. Splashes of blood stung his nostrils like vinegar. His head throbbed, but his vision petered out like a light-saving switch.

Back in the bedroom, the masked home-intruder returned the paraphernalia to normal and added a new bust to the collection. He stood back for a second and squashed his chin into his neck and turned his head to the side. The young man’s head gleamed like a new museum exhibit. Now the collection was complete.


Disclaimer:Any resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Furthermore, any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.