Recollections, 1960: Grayson’s Chapel

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Thom Grayson had once told me that God had called him to build a chapel on my island. My response was to drown him in Blood’s Lake.

The chapel stayed where it was simply because I had neither the desire nor the time to destroy it, and I can now say that I am pleased I did not.

The one-eyed raven and I tracked the last of the creatures to Grayson’s Chapel, where they had somehow managed to barricade themselves. It would be, I knew, a chore to go in and ferret them out. While I entertained the idea, merely because I was angry with the damned things for the trouble they had caused me for so many years, the one-eyed raven talked me out of such foolishness.

There was no need for me to be extravagant with my vengeance.

No need for me do to anything other than was necessary.

With the raven keeping watch on the chapel, I spent the better part of the day dragging deadfall to the building and blocking all exits except the main door. When I had done so, I laid kindling around the base of the chapel and set a match to it.

The creatures stayed within far longer than I expected them to, but in the end, they came out.

I killed them all as they fled the flames, and in the end, there were only five of them.

When the building was nothing more than a smoldering pile of embers, the one-eyed raven and I examined the corpses. In the end, they were exactly what they had been hunting: the weak and the infirm.

As night descended on the island, and the embers glowed, the raven bade me butcher the creatures, and so I did. When I finished and had the choicest cuts cooking, the fat sizzling as it struck the flames, I found myself seated across from an old man, his one good eye peering at me with mirth. Out of polite respect, I asked him his name, and he told me he had many.

We sat and ate the flesh of our enemies, and he told me each name and how he had earned it.

When he finished, I knew why the Hollow had heeded him.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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