Murder in Cross: December 21, 1927


There are times when I should leave well enough alone.

Today was one such day.

I came across a body this morning on the edge of Gods’ Hollow and the North Road. It was not there yesterday, but by all appearances, it seems to have lain there for the better part of a year.

So it goes in the Hollow.

I sat down beside the corpse and tried to see how it had played out. The stranger, from what I could see, had been shot in the back. He had been a soldier, though for what army and in what war I could not discern. His eyes were gone, whether from time or from the ravens who drift between this world and every other, I could not tell. With the absence of the orbs, so too went the chance to see whom the dead man might have been fighting or running from.

There was something about the body that struck me as curious. Something which itched at the back of my mind, and so I reached out in a way that, in retrospect, I should not have.

I refrain from blood rituals as much as possible. No matter how much skill I might have, there is a great deal of danger involved.

This was an occasion where I should have left the matter alone.

I did not.

Drawing my knife, I opened my palm and fed my blood into the empty eye-sockets as I whispered words older than any of my kin.

The dead man’s mouth opened, and he whispered in my own voice to run.

My mother’s voice exploded on the wind, which lifted me and hurled me across the road, slamming me into tall elm. As I fell to the ground, my breath knocked from me, I heard her lunatic laughter sing out as she told me the body was my own, another me from a world she had slipped into.

How long she had tortured this alternate of myself I did not know, but I could tell she didn’t think it was long enough.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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