February 8, 1936


The tower stank of death and fire.

At the edge of Gods’ Hollow, where it dipped down into a slight, curving embrace with the cusp of Duncan Blood’s land, they found the tower.

It was older than any structure still existing in Cross, and the three young women who found it on February 5, 1936, knew there was something wrong with it.

Several days later, on February 8, one of the young women – Annabelle Berkley – and her father, Malcolm, returned to the tower.

Malcolm noticed the smell, and Annabelle stated that her father’s face, “Went as white as a ghost, which I always thought was a rather mellow dramatic thing to say.”

But his face did pale, and with good reason.

Malcolm was a veteran of the Great War, and he had smelled his share of death. He knew what a rotting corpse smelled like, and he was too familiar with the stench of bodies unearthed from shallow graves.

Together, they drew closer to the tower, the odor of fire quickly adding its powerful scent to that of the unseen corpses.

At the entrance to the tower, Malcolm hesitated long enough to tell his daughter to wait outside for him.

Through the years people had gone missing near Gods’ Hollow, and he did not wish for his daughter to set eyes on anything unpleasant.

“I waited for him,” Annabelle later told her family. “I waited a long time. I called to him, yelled for him, and finally, when I had gathered up my courage and prepared myself to go after him, he returned.”

Malcolm stumbled out of the entrance, his face bloody and his eyes wild.

“Run,” he whispered, and then he smashed his head open against the wall.

Visits to the tower are discouraged.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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