• Twenty-six. Yes, that was it. Twenty-six letters in the mailman's bag. Twenty-four. Yes, Nathan had counted twenty-four brown shoes, nineteen blue jeans, and eight jackets on his way to work that morning. There were only eight jackets, it was a rather warm day, therefore an extra layer proved unnecessary. Nathan sat at his small desk in his small corner of the room. He was surrounded by exactly fourteen other small desks. Cubicle was the more appropriate term of course. Out of the fourteen people, nine of them had been wearing jackets. Why were they wearing jackets? It was far too hot for jackets. Nathan stared back down at his work, finding it difficult to focus. Why were so many people wearing jackets? He didn't wear a jacket, he didn't need one. It was far too hot to be wearing a jacket.

    Nathan scratched his head exactly three times. He had a thing for numbers. He was very good at memorizing dates and times and all sorts of different things. Nathan quickly turned at the sound of a bang. He stared at one of his co-workers, who mistakenly bumped into the wall. One bang. Only one. Why didn't he see the wall? Nathan went back down to his list full of numbers. Nathan Hartford, twenty-six years old, worked as an accountant for a local cooperation. He was good with numbers. Seventeen jackets altogether, counting the ones that he'd counted on his way to work. That wasn't a good number. That wasn't a good number at all.

    Nathan had seen the twelve flyers as he walked to the office. Twelve missing persons flyers. Why not just put them on a milk carton? No, that wouldn't be good, many people drank milk. In fact, thirteen people in the office drank milk. Excluding of course, the two lactose-intolerant workers. Then there was Alan Hanson, who of course, just preferred water to milk. Nathan wiped his sweaty brow. It was the second wipe in a row. Why was he sweating so profusely? Did someone know? Someone knew.

    How could they? He was ever-so careful, ever-so sure. No one had seen him do it. He had padded his cellar, no one could have heard. But the flyers, there were flyers. Nathan recalled the flyers. Twelve flyers, now twelve was a good number. Yes, that was why he stopped at twelve. He wanted to stop, oh for so long he wanted to. But, he couldn't stop. Nathan's eyes rose up abruptly at the sound of two gentlemen entering his floor. They were police officers. He watched as they walked to his boss's office. This wasn't good. Two was a good number, but they were police officers. It was a coincidence, of course, yes this was so. Nathan rapidly tapped his shaking fingers onto the desk. Four taps with each finger making twenty taps in total. Yes, twenty was a very good, very fine number. Nathan watched carefully as the two policemen and his superior looked his way. They knew. He had been so careful, so precise. But, they knew.

    But, Nathan had to do it. All of those people had done awful things. Nathan knew. All kinds of various sins and terrible deeds were committed. He had to stop them, he just had to. Twelve people, twelve was a good number after-all. That's why he'd done it. They were bad people, nasty people. He had taken care of it. All twelve of them. The first one was easy and was hardly a mess to clean up. The others would scream. Some would try to escape. Nathan lightly scratched the fresh cut on his right arm. Four scratches, four was a good number. His OCD, his paranoid delusions. Yes, that was what the doctor's referred to his counting as. They were all wrong, Nathan had done what was necessary, he didn’t have a problem. He had to stop those people. And he did. It was easy. He has taken care of them and then disposed of what vile was left. Nathan watched in panic as the three gentlemen walked towards his desk.

    Hands on the clock. The time was 2:15. Two subtracted from Fifteen was thirteen. Thirteen was an absolutely terrible number. That was why he stopped at twelve. Nathan wore a mask, he had hid his face. But people were nosy, poking around. They put up flyers near his house. Nineteen steps to his desk, nineteen was a bad number. He had seen evil in those people; he had taken care of them. The Policemen knew, did they know? Nathan's entire body was shaking uncontrollably. The policemen stopped at his desk. "Mr. Nathan Hartford, is that correct?" The first man asked him. Six words used, which was an even number. Six was a good, safe number. "Yes, how may I assist you?" Nathan said in response. Nathan had also said six words. Nathan's entire body began to shake. He wasn't calm. In fact, one could say that he was freaking out.

    They knew. They had found the bodies. They must have found the bodies. Were his fingerprints on them? No, that wasn't possible. "Could my friend and I talk to you about something?" The policemen said. Ten words, that was good. Ten was safe. "Of course you can, what about may I ask?" Nathan said nervously. He had said nine words, that wasn't good at all. "We'd like you to come with us. We have a few questions to ask you about the disappearance of Rachael Dolan” The first policemen said. The two looked down at the sitting Nathan, motioning for him to come with them. Twenty-one words used. Twenty-one was a bad number. Twenty-one was a particularly bad number.