Serial Saturday: The Dagger Part 5 by Scott Tierney

  1. Serial Saturday: The Dagger Part 1 by Scott Tierney
  2. Serial Saturday: The Dagger Part 2 by Scott Tierney
  3. Serial Saturday: The Dagger Part 3 by Scott Tierney
  4. Serial Saturday: The Dagger Part 4 by Scott Tierney
  5. Serial Saturday: The Dagger Part 5 by Scott Tierney
  6. Serial Saturday: The Dagger Part 6 by Scott Tierney




The Dagger: Part 5


Akin to the breaking of a sheet of ice which floats atop a lake’s surface, upon the penetration of the dagger’s tip the skin of the old man’s forehead sank below an up-pouring of blood.

Immobilized, it took a dazzling metallic glint from the dagger’s blade for Detective Pineclay to avert his eyes – when he turned back, he was aghast at what he saw.

Smiling, giggling, the kindly Andrew Walton Cane was pulling the dagger down, and through, the entire length of his face.

Like any officer who had dutifully served a long and consuming career, Pineclay had seen some things. Dark, horrible things…the horrors of which still haunted his waking, workless nights. Yet at this moment, face to face with an act of self-mutilation in its rawest form, Pineclay’s experience failed him. Without his knowing, his gun tumbled from his hand. It landed somewhere in the massing pool between him and the killer. Ears pricked by the clatter of metal against tile, only then did Pineclay summon the necessary bearings to intervene, to move and wrench the dagger from Cane’s hands before he disfigured himself any further.

But the detective found that Cane was in fact no longer holding the dagger, his soft pink hands having parted to his sides in the posture of the divine saint. Pineclay looked on with detached bewilderment as, somehow…the cutting continued. Somehow, a trick both sick and miraculous, the automated dagger ploughed downwards through its meadow of flesh, lengthening the immaculate furrow in Cane’s face inch by terrible inch. As though a anchor ushered only by gravity, never deviating nor slowing from its perpendicular trajectory, the dagger’s hook tore through chin then throat then breast then belly, all to a sound comparable with scissors being pushed through a sheet of wrapping paper.

And all the while, Cane’s glaze of harmonious serenity never waned. 

In stark contrast, Pineclay’s posture collapsed and he stumbled back against the wall.

After a time indeterminable the dagger reached its journey’s end, no further skin left to cut. With a final separation at the groin, having spliced clean through both trouser belt and buckle, it broke from the flesh, and like a rocket lifting off in reverse it landed handle-down on the bloodied floor, blade perfectly upright as though Excalibur emerging from a lake turned red by the delight of shepherds.

All-but down on his knees, Pineclay was ready to vomit – yet, dare he believe it, worse was still to come. 

Cane raised his hands to his face, took hold of the flaps of meat teetering above his eyes like the ears of a lop rabbit–

And tugged. 

Pineclay felt the colour depart from his own cheeks just as rapidly as the skin did depart from the Cane’s. He assumed, and willed, that he might faint.

Yet no escape into unconsciousness was granted, for it was the most curious thing – in spite of the act of ungodly dismemberment being undertaken solely for his audience, so much ripping and tearing and divorcing of sinew, the detective was struck at how at ease he was. He felt light, weightless, tranquil, warm as though hunkered within cotton. Maybe this unnatural and unbecoming equanimity was shock taking over, the mind’s way of inhibiting all comprehensible emotion when the neurons in one’s brain became overloaded? But no, Pineclay dismissed this theory. The sensation he was experiencing was something…other, something out of body – a sensation he had no choice in allowing to steer him. 

Thus, Pineclay righted, and observed with attention unflinching as the old man shed the remaining skin from his torso. Upon the completion of said parting, Pineclay did not witness a deluge of plasma and organs as one would expect – only the emergence of a strange, black, boundless opening akin to the hollow of a tree. He found himself stepping toward it, summoned, feeling himself bowing – it seemed as though the lamp-lit outline of Cane and the table and everything else within the room made up the stitching of a dense curtain, and only that revealed within the curtain’s parting–

“Seriously Nick, you don’t really have to go into the office today, do you?” he heard his wife. The morning sunlight played upon her reclined form as she fluttered her eyes awake.

Pineclay peered down to find that he was buttoning the sleeves of his uniform, a brand new tie, heavy with silver bar, already snug around his neck.

He was…home


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