“Whenever he closed his eyes he could see the image of a bloody handprint, like it was burned into his eyelids. The doctors said there was nothing wrong, that it was all in his head. He tried to ignore it, but it was always there, like the spots you see when you stare at a light for too long.”

Ralph made a show of yawning and stretching.

“Then, one day, he came home to find his house empty and his family missing. The door were locked and nothing had been disturbed…aside from one bloody handprint near the basement door–his wife’s.”

“That’s it?” Ralph said. “That’s the best you can do? Give me the flashlight.”

Arnie, who thought that his tale had been a masterpiece of horror, grudgingly surrendered the torch to his competitor and slunk off toward the latrine with only his measly pocket light in hand.

When he got there, Arnie played the light over the whitewashed metal, looking for the handle. Instead, it alighted on something that hadn’t been there in the daylight.

A bloody child-sized handprint.