In the darkness of the third and deepest level, the Butcher lurks. It is not always there, and when present it does not always react to the presence of others. But when it does, the consequences are almost invariably fatal.

No photographs exist of the Butcher, and the few who have survived their encounter with it describe a humanoid, ghostly white, with no face. Its head has been described as being like a blank sackcloth pulled over a real, hidden face, but no one has ever seen any movement from that organ.

Even when it speaks.

One thing that accounts unanimously agree on is that the Butcher carries a large blade of some kind, a carving knife in most tellings. Everything from a short filleting knife to a full sword has been described, leading some to surmise that the Butcher simply digs through the refuse until it finds something sharp.

Whatever the exact nature of its weapon, the Butcher will become aware of intruders when both it and they are present, and it will more unerringly toward the closest. If it is close enough to be seen, the Butcher will speak that person’s name. It seems to do this even if the person does not see it, or cannot hear it, and the Butcher always uses the name that a person prefers–it does not reach back to birthnames and deadnames, for whatever reason.

Once the name is spoken, the Butcher will move toward that person at high speed, which some have compared to a brisk run. Upon reaching them, it will stab repeatedly with its weapon until they perish, leaving the body where it falls. The Butcher has been known to quickly find weaknesses in armor, and those who have attempted to fight back have been unable to wound it in any meaningful way.

Fleeing seems to be the best option, and it is how all known survivors of a Butcher attack have escaped. However, the Butcher will follow its quarry to the second floor if necessary, and was even once seen on the first floor. A quarry which makes it to the foyer is safe, and those few survivors that have reentered the third floor have reported that the Butcher has not seemed to remember them.

One reason the second floor is still fraught with danger is that the Butcher has been known to speak the names of those it encounters there, should its quarry escape, and attempt to kill them as well.

Otherwise, it simply walks back to the third floor and disappears.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!