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Text only mystery story - 1730 words - 10 minutes reading time.
Tim was found dead in his apartment. For the past week he had been telling friends that something was trying to kill him. Did he scare himself to death? Or was his death the result of some sort of curse? Was he suffering from paranoia or delusion? Could a sane man become utterly convinced that a force was out to get him?
Tim was a down-to-Earth, rational and, non-religious individual, who came to believe that he was being stalked by supernatural entities. And this changed the course of his life. A change which unfortunately led him to his untimely death.
Tim was a musician who had grown up in Inverness. He was a well-rounded individual; intelligent, sophisticated, and a bit of a fitness fanatic. He took vitamin supplements daily and exercised religiously. He was in his early thirties.
Tim decided to move to the United States to start a new career as a music executive. He worked for the Mesa Five Holdings Company. They produced the soft music people hear in lifts and waiting rooms all over the world.
Tim was a popular young man. He had made many good friends in this new role, and he still managed to keep in regular contact with his old friends back in the UK. But, despite this, he was a bit of a loner and had remained single for many years.
Tim's job required him to travel all over the United States and he had a real passion for music, in particular, compositions from the ancient world. His idea of a good time was sitting listening to his favourite tracks rather than going out socialising on any evening. He found comfort in the arrangements of musical notes and harmonies rather than in the company of others. He did not want for much, and he did not bother other people.
Tim did not make enemies. And so nobody, who knew him, has ever been able to understand that last week in his life which ultimately ended in tragedy.
He was found dead in his flat. And there was no sign of a struggle having taken place, or of any forced entry. His body was fully clothed, and sitting inside his empty bathtub, in a kneeling position, with his head resting against the wall. It appeared as though he had simply fallen asleep and passed away.
However, when police officers searched the apartment, they found a multitude of crucifixes, books on the occult, and they recorded that salt had been poured at the entrance to his home and along every single skirting-board inside his apartment. They noted that religious-type music was playing, quietly, in a number of rooms.
At the scene, the coroner was able to determine that Tim Galton had died of heart failure. He was just 35 years old.
The circumstances surrounding Tim’s death - and the state in which his apartment had been found - were odd, to say the least. But the story that transpired, after months of investigations, read like something straight out of a paranormal thriller.
Friends reported that, in the days leading up to his death, Tim had called them in a panic on numerous occasions, saying that something was after him, and that he feared for his life.
And he had told friends that he was certain he would be dead before the end of that week. This baffled the Authorities. What was originally thought to have been a death by natural causes took on a much more sinister twist.
After weeks of looking into the case, investigators discovered a very chilling side to the tragic story.
It turned out that seven days before his death, Tim had embarked on a business trip to San Rosa, California, to meet up with other executives within the music industry. At some point during this visit he had been introduced to an older woman who shared his passion for the music of the ancient world, particularly that of Egypt and other Mediterranean civilisations. They seemed to have a lot in common, and as their conversation progressed, it became clear to Tim that this woman wished to pursue a romantic relationship with him.
Much later on it was revealed that this woman practiced 'spirit' cooking and was a friend of the most powerful US politicians, who she “cooked” for. She even appeared live on BBC radio Five Live in 2015 to talk about her black magic rituals. But Tim did not know of any of this at the time.
On that business-trip to San Rosa the woman made no secret of her feelings and she had asked Tim to take her home on more than one occasion. Being a man of integrity, he politely declined her requests. She was an attractive lady, but her intensity had unnerved the young executive. And so this, coupled with the fact that she was at least twenty years his senior, led Tim to suggest that they go their separate ways. This seemed to anger her.
When the older woman experienced the full force of Tim’s rejection she said something strange; she told him that she was a witch, and that she would put a curse on him and he would be sorry. She bluntly told him that he would be dead within a week.
Tim, who thought of himself as a rational individual, simply shrugged this off. He did not believe in the paranormal or supernatural and he was not religious in any sense of the word, and so he disregarded her threats and travelled back home the next day. Upon his return, he related this tale to his friend, Katy, who also dismissed it with the same rationality.
And so, for the first few days after his return home, Tim completely forgot about the entire incident. But, on the morning of 14th May, Tim called Katy in a panic, saying that he had been kept awake all night by the sound of whispering voices coming from somewhere inside his apartment, though he could not find the source. Tim also went on to say how he had seen shadows moving around his flat, even though he was the only one there, and that he felt like he was being watched during the night.
This conversation was the first of three frantic telephone-calls that Tim made to his friend Katy over the next few days. On the 16th, he called to tell her that something had attacked him during the night. He had woken to find himself paralysed, and being throttled by unseen hands. The attack, he said, was particularly intense and violent, with the force of it lifting him off of his mattress before releasing him and throwing him back on to his bed. And afterwards Tim had noticed tiny cuts on the ends of each one of his fingers and that his bed sheets were stained with his blood.
This instance would prove to be too much for Tim and so, in the morning he visited a religious book-store called Evangelica. The store manager, Robert Higgins, described to the police how Chris had entered the store, walked over to one of the displays, and then picked up a handful of crucifixes. Mr Higgins asked him how he intended to use them and Tim told him what he believed to be truth of the matter; that he was being attacked by paranormal entities and that he needed to defend himself. Higgins assisted as best he could and recommended a number of books on the subject of fighting witchcraft.
With his visits to the bookstore, and his calls to concerned friends, Tim was making a determined effort to fend off the dark forces that were tormenting him. He placed a number of crucifixes around his apartment. He interspersed them with candles, and he poured lines of salt along the extremities of each room, leaving small piles in each corner. He had written many notes on methods of combating evil spirits, and they were scattered throughout his flat.
It was still less than a week since that meeting with the strange woman, but Tim was now a different man. He was barely recognisable, compared to the confident, rational young executive, he had been only days beforehand. He was an obsessed individual, determined to the point of it being detrimental to his health. He wasn't sleeping and he had not shown up for work in two days.
He called other friends, besides Katy, and they later described how they could hear, in his voice, how utterly afraid he was. And, unfortunately for Tim, the evening of the 16th would be his most harrowing experience to date. It is not exactly clear what happened during the course of the night, but something frightened him so much that he left his home in the early hours of the morning and stayed at a hotel.
Katy could not get through to Tim the next morning. Her only recourse was to call the local police department and ask them to do a check on Tim’s flat.
Upon arrival, they found the apartment locked and they were unable to get access. And so they left the scene and reported their findings back to Katy, who had no other choice but to wait to hear from Tim. Katy lived hundreds of miles away from Tim, on the other side of the country.
That evening, Katy came home to find a message stored on her answering machine. Little did she know that this would be the last time she would ever hear from Tim. To her surprise, there was an eerie calm to his voice, almost as if he had resigned himself to his fate. In the message, he spoke about how "they" had almost got him the night before and that he believed this would be his last night on Earth.
Katy would not be the only person to hear from Tim that day, however. He had also visited a Catholic priest in the afternoon, and later on, had returned to the Evangelical bookshop. On this occasion Mr Higgins described how Tim had looked exhausted, and desperate, and that he had asked for more advice on how to defend himself, which the store manager was only too happy to provide.
Tim would lose his life on the night of 17th May. A sudden and seemingly inexplicable stopping of the heart was the reported cause.