by Charles Ebert

By the time Edward found his old shackles and chains, the storm was almost over. He hurried to the third floor lavatory, with the hardware gathered up in his arms. Carefully, so they wouldn’t clank before he was ready, he arranged the chains on the tile floor.

Edward could hear the new occupant of the house showering in the second-floor lavatory below. The man was loudly singing an aria from Don Giovanni, and Edward had to admit that the occupant had a pleasant baritone—not professional quality, but any amateur operatic company would have prized him.

The realization gave Edward pause. There is good in everyone, he thought. Maybe I should give the occupant another chance.

No, insisted another part of his mind. Edward knew he must think of himself now. The house belonged to him. His father had designed and built it, Edward had lived in it all his life, and his mother had been an occupant for more than fifty years. Memories chained him to this place.

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