The Exhibit 1: Normal Life

With a sense of triumph, Benjamin used a bold tipped permanent marker to cross out October 28, 2021. Over a year had passed since his capture, torture, and lone survival of the Double B killings. Ben didn’t know that the nickname stuck until after his interview with Officer Lyle. But, a murderer couldn’t complain from his eternal cell six feet below. Eight days after the anniversary. Ben tucked the marker back into his pen cup. Six tombstones decorated the calendar dates between October 1 to October 19, with confetti around the last one. A knock came from behind Ben that made him jump.

“Sorry to startle ya, Ben,” Rachel said. “Do you need anything before I leave?”

“No, I’m all good boss.”

“Well, don’t wait around too long. It’s Halloween weekend.” 

Rachel waved after Ben promised to leave soon. How can everyone look forward to the holiday I hate the most? It didn’t help that Ben’s research into The Artist led to him recognizing a terrible pattern. The Artist struck around Halloween on that first attack twenty years ago. Bradley Brown’s attack on the Donation center happened around Halloween. And then he claimed apprenticeship under The Artist. Social media erupted with a new adoration for the serial killer. The Artist contended no matter Double B’s claims; he disapproved of Bradley’s actions. How can you support cutting people up for art but not okay with torture? Ben zipped up his laptop bag when he felt his phone ring with Melody’s ringtone.


Ben tried to speak, but Melody cut him off.

“Babe!” Melody screamed on the phone. “Guess what I just got?”

Ben pulled his phone away from his ear until the ringing died down. Melody’s shriek was something that Ben loved and disliked. Ben felt his smile as he asked her what got her so excited.

“I just bought two tickets to this amazing art show that I’ve been on a waitlist for since last month. Will you please go with me? I think you’ll appreciate this show.”

Ben rubbed his forehead with his free hand, and the light sweat caused his dead skin to roll under his fingers. 

“Yeah, that sounds fun, but when is it? I might be working.”

“That’s what’s great is you won’t!” Melody said. “It’s on Halloween, which is a Sunday. I know you don’t like Halloween, but everyone’s wearing fancy dresses and suits. You haven’t ever worn that suit you keep in your closet, and it looks so nice.”

“Well, of course, we can go.”

He felt a knot form in his stomach. The suit spent a week straight at funerals before Ben hung it up in the back corner of his closet. Ben never told Melody about the events at the donation center. But he knew he would soon need to tell her. Maybe I could talk her out of this art show. Ben shook the thought from his mind.

“I’ll get my suit dry-cleaned,” Ben said. “I’m guessing this means we need to find you a new dress?”

“You’re right!” Melody said. “None of my dresses are Exploring Horizon’s level of fancy. We might even see Tom Clare there!”

The Exhibit Home                                                                                                                                                           Next Episode

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