“That’s quite a rarity these days,” Dr. Stihlman said, as I picked it up. “What with the trade being outlawed now and all.”
It was a beautiful dagger, long and flowing and curved. The blade was spotless, with nigh a sign of rust nor a notch, but the handle was what intrigued me, and to what the Professor referred: it was carved ivory in a luxurious shade of creamy yellow-white. It fit snugly into my hand, the hilt ending just at the edges of my palm, and the intricate flowing curves and mystical-looking symbols carved into it gave it a strange textured feel beneath my skin.
“Yes, I’ll treasure that blade for as long as I live,” he said. “Got it when I was on the big expedition in Africa, just after Mildred died… God rest her soul.”
It wasn’t until years later when Stihlman himself passed away that I realized why the carved handle had felt so strange in my hand.
For when the executors of the Professor’s estate cleared out his belongings, they found buried beneath a trapdoor in the cellar a skeleton identified as none other than Mrs. Mildred Stilhman’s. The cause of death was uncertain, but even the newspaper noted one strange detail found in autopsy which could not be explained: a three-inch length of bone missing from the right femur.