Department 29 - Chpt 1

Department 29 - Chpt 1

A Chapter by Tegon Maus

Looking back on it now, I have no idea how it all began, the madness I mean. Of course there had been little clues that pointed to bigger things were on the way but I didn't connect those dots.



Chapter 1


         Looking back on it now, I have no idea how it all began, the madness I mean. Of course there had been little clues that pointed to bigger things were on the way but I didn't connect those dots.

        My life had been as ordinary as any... more so by comparison I would have guessed. If you looked up average in the dictionary you would find my picture. At twenty seven, I never stepped outside the line of expectation, never late for work, never late paying the bills, everything was planned out, every I dotted, every T crossed, a place for everything and everything in its place. Life was neat and orderly, just as it was meant to be.

        That is until, one day, I was home sick with the flu.

         I had spent the night wracked with fever, my throat ravaged with multiple trips to the bathroom to empty an already empty stomach.

Exhausted from a restless night, I stumbled to the kitchen for a glass of water and a few aspirin. To my surprise, my black dress shirt lay in the middle of the kitchen floor.

       A small thing mind you. It was just a shirt in a loose, rumpled pile... lying on the floor but it unnerved me. I stood there for a moment, staring at it.

       "How the hell?" I said aloud, pushing it with my foot, fearful I was hallucinating.

        I looked about, half expecting God only knew what.

       The house was empty. It was always empty.

       After Brittany moved out more than five years ago, I had lived alone. I had no explanation as to how it could possibly be on the floor in the first place but there it was.

      "I must have dropped it when I took the clothes out of the dryer, that's all," I lied to myself.

       It was a lie I wanted to believe. I had taken the clothes out of the dryer two days earlier but I had no other explanation.

       I tried to put it out of my mind.

       A couple of weeks had gone by and I had all but forgotten about it. I would have been happy to live in that thought but when I came home late Wednesday night I found the refrigerator door open. Spilt milk, held in place by a ring of mustard, had created a puddle at its base. Laying on the floor in front of it... my black shirt. Sitting dead center of it, a half eaten bowl of cereal and a large wooden spoon.

       Someone had been inside my house.

       My heart jumped to my throat, the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. I grabbed a knife and crept from room to room but to no avail.

       I was alone.

       I was angry at the thought of it, violated for lack of a better description.

       I didn't know what upset me more... that someone had been in my house or that they had used my shirt as a place mat. What prayed on my mind for days afterward was the fact that I didn't even own a wooden spoon.

       After the police left that night, I had gone through every item I owned. My head swam with panic, fearful half of everything I own had been stolen as I frantically took inventory.


       To my astonishment nothing had been touched. To me it felt as though the world was no longer civilized , for the police it was just matter of fact and for them a small matter at that.

       The company I worked for immediately changed my pass codes for the office and brought in the top of the line alarm company for my house.

       For the next month the instant I turned the key in the door I rushed to the refrigerator only to discover all was as I had left it that morning.

       I had taken my black shirt to the cleaners to be cleaned... twice. Both times I left it on the hanger, safely incased in the store wrapper. Invariably, I checked on it right after the fridge, eyeing it suspiciously for any tell-tell remnants of an intruder.

       As hard as I tried, I couldn't get over the spoon. I had come to terms with the idea someone had broken into my house, opened my fridge and ate my food. What I had trouble with was the idea that they thought about it far enough in advance that they brought their own eating utensils. They had to know that they would have something to eat as they burglarized my house. It was that or they ate at all the houses they stole from. Neither thought offered any comfort.

        At first, I was tempted to throw it away, be done with it. As often as I had placed it in the trash I found myself retrieving it every time. I carried it around the house as if looking for just the right place to put it. More often than not it wound up sticking out of my back pocket.

        As the weeks went by I carried the damn thing everywhere, many times without realizing it. It found its way to work with me, in the car, under my pillow, in the microwave and in all the little nooks and crannies it could fit. It had reached the point it would be in my pocket before my car keys.

       I tried to break its hold on me, but could not. Somehow, having it in my  possession kept my house and refrigerator, safe from a second break-in... or at least, in the beginning, so I hoped.



© 2016 Tegon Maus

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Interesting story, pretty creepy.

Posted 2 Years Ago

Well, that would certainly unnerve me. Very creepy. Well written.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Nice work. I loved the use of common metaphors that people use everyday. It was great.

Posted 4 Years Ago

I liked it. I love how you make the reader FEEL the slow insanity in this piece. But, again, i think you mistook my meaning for CREATE A WORLD. I'll make sure to read all the rest of the submissions, and see if it was I who was being unclear. This writing is a fantastic write, hands down without a doubt.

Posted 5 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

5 Years Ago

Hi Dragonheart... my mistake. What you want is my story First Contact. I'll change it

5 Years Ago

I really like the irrational chaining going on here. Nicely done.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

6 Years Ago

Hi Alex... chaining ?? Can't say as I've heard that before. thanks for the read. Send something you.. read more

6 Years Ago

I meant to say "chaining behaviors"
This is interesting in that it takes a look at Obsession and Compulsion. It seems your character is obsessed and compelled by order which means somewhere in his subconscious there is a chaos pole as well (read my piece "On Sexual Deviancy" and you'll see what I mean in terms of complexes), and when that order breaks, it gets interesting. This piece is good in that sticks to that "ordered" mold; still, I'd like to see a bit more character and neurotic development here. Feel free to submit another chapter :)

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

I reviewed it because it's a contest entry, still it's very good. The obsessive side of psychoticism.. read more
Tegon Maus

6 Years Ago

Maybe so ! Maybe he's in over his head and its his way to cope. Read Chpt 2 and let me know.... a.. read more

6 Years Ago

You're quite right sir. It wouldn't be a bell curve if we all didn't hit somewhere on it. Will read .. read more
Excellent structure and you seem to really know what you're doing and where you are going with this piece, just make sure not to overdo it with the cliches.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Tegon Maus

6 Years Ago

Thanks for the read ! That was fast ! Send me something you want to share... Tegon
Well gee, Tegon, you've got me started on another of your books and I haven't even finished the last one. You are such a prolific writer, I'm never going to catch up with you. But I can't not read them either, I'm addicted to your writing!

Posted 6 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow! Very intruding!

Posted 6 Years Ago

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A very good start to what seems is going to be an interesting story. This first chapter does it's job by making me want to read further. Overall, the chapter was well written, but some of paragraphs seem to be missing a indention in front of them. It is nothing important really. Just figured I mention it.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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11 Reviews
Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on September 28, 2011
Last Updated on December 4, 2016


Tegon Maus
Tegon Maus


Dearheart, my wife of forty nine years and I live in Cherry Valley, a little town of 8,200 in Southern California. In that time, I've built a successful remodeling /contracting business. But th.. more..