Joshua had begun to see the outline of the beast when he had read a study on deaths of Londoners during the Victorian era. It had compiled a list of the usual reasons; cholera, diphtheria, accidents (mostly industrial or horse related), violence. But he had been fascinated and horrified that the academic paper had also made reports of some people simply laying down in the streets to die. Men, women, sometimes in couples, people just giving up, unable to move forward.
It didn’t have a lurid interest for Joshua because it was strange or a mystery, but because he saw the same beast stalking his own life. His mom with her Oxycodone; Uncle Rob with the cigarettes, Wild Turkey, and diabetes; Jessie with her fascination of quick-fisted, violent men. All people who had given up, more intent on speeding their end rather than gaining the necessary velocity for escape.
But knowing that this killer had moved through time and geography, coming from Industrial Revolution London all the way to 21st century Ohio, made him all the more determined to dodge the claws he could feel hanging over him and those around him.
He was going to beat it. It couldn’t get everyone.
See the author’s published work here.
Image from Stalker (1979)