December 11, 1920


     Dane Young marched off to glory along with hundreds of his New England brethren when the call went out in 1917.

     By 1918, Dane was in France and regretting the decision that had thrust him deep into the horrors of warfare, but he fought on until he was wounded by an artillery shell.

     A piece of shrapnel tore away part of his skull, and left his brain exposed.

     Dane, who had been a quiet, unpresuming lad when he left Cross, returned as a discouraged man who rarely spoke. Slowly, Dane recuperated under the ministrations of his mother, and slowly a strangeness settled over their home.

     Without effort, Dane seemed to know what everyone in and near the house was thinking. He knew when people were coming to visit, and when death would claim a victim in the township.

     When people whispered of his new, curious ability, Dane would smile, and do nothing to set their minds at ease.

     On December 11, 1920, his mother prepared the home for a small gathering of friends. They were working out the niceties to help out some of the poorer citizens of Cross. Dane sat in a back corner of the parlor, eyes closed and smiling at thoughts only he and the thinkers were privy to.

     At 7:01 PM, the doorbell rang, and Dane’s eyes snapped open. He screamed at his mother not to answer it, but his cry went unheeded.

     When she opened the door, she later told her friends, cold air rushed past her, and Dane let out a terrified scream. Turning around, she saw her son slump in the chair, a rigid smile on his face.

     His healed head wound was torn open, his brain exposed to the world once more.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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