August 7, 1954

Conversations with the dead are often interesting. This is undeniably true here in this place.

He told me his name was Maddox. Whether it was his first name, last name, or his only name, he didn’t say. I found him wandering outside the building, and when I did, he asked me if my name was Thomas, and if I doubted what I saw. I replied in the negative to both.

We walked back into the building together, and he brought me to his room. It was small and compact, dust-covered and forgotten.

When we had each gotten comfortable, he asked me if I was a soldier. I told him I had been a soldier, a sailor, and a Marine at various times in my life. I told him of how I had fought with the British and against them, and that I had killed more people than I cared to remember.

Maddox had been a Marine, and he had been hit at a place called Belleau Wood in France during the Great War. He didn’t remember what had hit him, only that cool, calm sensation of crashing into the wheat.

When he awoke, he was in the US again, and soon found himself in Cross. He suspected he might have been born in Cross, but I assured him he had not. I knew every person who had been born in Cross since the mid-1600s. Maddox had not been one of them.

He shrugged at the information and then asked if I had ever seen a wound as terrible as his. I told him I had.

He nodded and asked if I had seen worse.

I had.

At that, Maddox smiled, reached his hand into his chest to scratch an itch, and bade me a pleasant goodnight.

I’ve yet to fall asleep because for the life of me I don’t know what in the hell he had to scratch.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #asylum #insane

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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