A new place, a ruthless anger, a butcher walks into a church...
prel·ude /ˈprelˌlo͞od/ noun
"something that comes before a more important event or action that introduces or prepares for it: often to introduce the theme or chief subject."
This is a Prelude to a new piece of our story.
Part 29 will release Feb 1st, 2023
However, more of this story is available now via subscribing to our Patreon.
Additionally, you get to make the choices as to what happens next.
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(The sound of muffled talking, rain pattering, people talking, and mechanical rumbling. Some noises break through the city din.
A tinny voice, as if over intercom: ‘... one year celebration of Prohibition ending.’
A gruff voice, NY accent: ‘Hey, fuck you!’ and ‘Come over here and I’ll show you!’
A small bell being rung.
Another voice, faintly pleading: ‘Any spare change?’
A car drives through a puddle.
A dog barking.
A voice, distant: ‘Hey, come on now!’
A church bell, being rung.
Church doors, slamming open.
A priest, giving a sermon amidst squeaking chairs and shushes: ‘ Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin! A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.’ The crowd boos. ‘But the wicked make –’
Another voice, breaking in: ‘Shut up!’
A priest, against growing rabble: ‘Excuse me? Excuse me, sir, do you mind?’
Over it all, an unknown voice whistles a tune and walks into the church. He moves and shuts a door: a confession booth. The voice speaks in an Irish accent.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. (A pause.) Earlier today, I ended a barber, in Longwood.
(The audio distorts slightly. A door opens, a bell rings. A radio croons a tune in the background (‘You Call It Madness’). Someone sweeps the floor.)
BARBER: Sorry, we’re closed. (The door shuts. A pause. Footsteps come closer.) Did you hear me? Come back tomorrow, I can give you a trim, but, eh. We’ve closed our doors for this evening.
UNKNOWN VOICE (narrating): I didn’t go there for a cut. (He barks out a laugh.) Funny word, that. Cut.
BARBER: Are you deaf or dumb, son? (He turns off the radio. A sad piano piece starts and continues throughout.) I’m not cutting your hair.
(The ‘shnng!’ of metal sliding together, and the barber makes a noise of pain. Something clangs to the floor.)
BARBER (begging, gurgling): No, please! Please, no.
UNKNOWN VOICE (narrating): I mind myself, looking for trouble, now. Sometimes, at least. My temper is… short. Thin. Thin, that’s the word.
(Audio distortion. Blood drips. The barber gags on his own blood.)
BARBER (pleading, weaker): Please! Please, no.
UNKNOWN VOICE (narrating): Used to use a gun. Still carry one of course, but. (Metal fidgeting.) It’s too loud. Too noisy. Too much to bring ‘em flatties in, and… (He scoffs.) What I’m good at, well. I needs to be left alone. Y’know? You’ll know.
(Audio distortion. The barber chokes on his own blood. He flails and knocks things to the floor. Audio distortion.)
UNKNOWN VOICE (narrating): So I used piano wire. It’s perfect, really. Fits right in my pocket, there. It’s quiet. (A pause.) Like me. Slices right through. They kick a lot when they’re going down, but. You drag ‘em backward, and they’re hanging by the neck, really. The only shame is the mess, when it bites into the flesh, but… well, in this case. They paid for a mess. So all I have to do is give a little… (He grunts, as if demonstrating.) Sawing motion, you know? Let the wire really get its teeth wet.
(Audio distortion. The barber yells in pain and continues to choke on his own blood.)
UNKNOWN VOICE (narrating): Being behind ‘em… most of the time, the blood doesn’t get on you. But with enough force, you could… cut a head clean off. But I just wanted to send a message. Make it really painful, for ‘em. And I made sure it was painful.
(Audio distortion. The barber chokes and slams into something that rattles. Blood continues to flow. Someone starts to whistle and walk while a clock ticks softly in the background. He opens the door. Audio distortion.)
UNKNOWN VOICE (sighing): Well, doesn’t that feel good? So, Father, how many Hail Marys do I have to do? (He shifts.) Or, uh, do you have something else in mind?
LARSON (muffled): There’s a man by the name of Arthur Lester. (A melancholic piano melody begins to play.)
UNKNOWN VOICE: Where?
LARSON: Currently? A train from Albany. Heading into the city.
UNKNOWN VOICE (scoff): When does it arrive?
LARSON: Tonight. But he won’t be getting off.
UNKNOWN VOICE: Understood.
LARSON: Get on at Peekskill. At 6. And make sure the body isn’t found.
UNKNOWN VOICE: Can do. (He shifts and opens the door.)
LARSON: Mr. Collins? Is it true what they say about you? About what they used to call you?
(The sliding of wood. Larson speaks much more clearly.)
LARSON: Well, then. ‘Butcher.’ (Suspenseful string music rises.) Make it painful.
COLLINS: Of course.
(A final dramatic beat.)