The Bloody Axe is a scary story about a young boy who suspects his father may be a murderer. It is based on an old horror comic that is considered one of the scariest comics ever made.
I remember that Christmas when I was 8 years old as if it had happened yesterday. I remember how I would lie very still under the old moth-eaten quilt my mother made. I was wide awake and listening for those familiar sounds.
The Thump! of the front door closing… The Clomp! Clomp! Clomp! of my father’s mud-caked boots on the stairs… and the sound that to this day still fills me with revulsion and horror… Drip! Drip! Drip!
Then my father would pass by my doorway and the light from the hallway would cast his shadow on my bedroom wall… and the shadow of the bloody axe he carried in his hands.
The next morning, I would eat my watery oatmeal in the wintry chill of our kitchen and ask my mother, very slowly and carefully, “Where was Daddy last night?”
She would just look at me with her sad, grey eyes. I will never forget the pain and torment in those eyes, but she never said a word.
After breakfast, I would set about doing the chores on our little farm. My father never did much work on the farm. He always seemed to be busy with other matters.
On those chill, windy mornings, as the snow began to fall, I had a lot of time to think. At school, I couldn’t pay much attention to my lessons. I was always lost in my own troubling thoughts.
When I got home in the evening, I would arrive just in time to see my father leaving, his axe clutched tightly in his hands. I rarely saw my father during daylight hours and at night, all I ever saw was his shadow.
I can still vividly recall that terrible night when I was awakened by the sound of the shutters on my bedroom window clattering in the screaming December winds.
When I got up to close the shutters, I happened to glance over at the barn and noticed a shadow in the darkness. It was my father and he was putting something into the feed box we used for the cattle.
I returned to bed and lay awake long into the night, puzzled by just what I had seen. Eventually, I fell into a tortured and troubled sleep.
The next day, my curiosity got the better of me. I took the key that hung on a hook in the kitchen and opened the feed box.
I remember standing and staring for several seconds at the foul-smelling, bloody pulp inside, trying to understand why my father woulf put parts of a slaughtered animal into the feed box. Then I noticed something that struck horror into the put of my soul.
Justting up out of the bloody offal was a severed human hand.
From that moment, I was filled with a nameless dread. I no longer looked at my parents with trust, but with a dark, creeping suspicion.
I began to notice things that had previously escaped my attention… Newspaper headlines that spoke about brutal murders and discovered bodies… Overheard converations about a blood-thirsty fiend on the loose.
Finally, I heard a boy at school utter two words that repeated over and over in my tortured mind… Axe murderer.
That night, my sleep was invaded by shapless horrors. In these nightmares, I saw two images that haunted me constantly… The face of my father and an axe dripping with blood.
Unable to sleep, I got out of bed and crept downstairs. Taking my father’s axe from the fireplace, I dimmed the lights and crouched in the darkness at the top of the stairs.
It seemed an eternity before I heard the key in the lock and the front door swing open, then close.
I listened for those familiar footsteps on the stairs.
Clomp! Clomp! Clomp!
Stepping out of the darkness, I raised the axe above my head and brought it crashing down.
In the eerie silence that followed, I listened for the sound of any movement from my parents’ bedroom. I hoped against hope that my mother had heard nothing. The only sound I heard was the creaking of the floorboards beneath my feet and the pounding of my heart.
I looked for the last time at the headless body that lay crumpled at the bottom of the stairs, then quietly tip-toed back to my bed.
Early the next morning, I was awakened by the sound of strange voices in our hallway. Silently, I crept to the top of the stairs and peered down at the scene below.
A group of policemen were crowded around my father’s bloody corpse. My mother was standing beside them, watching silently. No one was paying any attention, but when she glanced up, she noticed me.
Then, very briefly, very discreetly… she gave me a knowing wink.