In Gods’ Hollow: May 3, 1912

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The world beneath the chapel was grim and foul.

I have no way to track the days, and even the raven has confessed ignorance as to when we are.

I will write in my journal when I am able and when I must.

Today, today, it is both.

Following the murder of the clergyman, I climbed down a set of stairs and entered a long corridor. I could smell the ocean and hear the cries of seabirds through the windows set high in the walls above the cell doors.

The air was warm and heavy, and beneath the smell of the ocean was the sharp scent of blood.

The hallway had 44 doors, and each was closed. I approached each door in turn and listened. From some came the sounds of voices, others were silent, and a few rumbled with the noises of machines.

Each door made me feel uneasy, and I drew one of my Colts.

I walked to the nearest door, grasped the handle, and pushed down. There was a long squeal as metal ground against metal, and the door opened inward. Beyond the threshold was darkness, and it took a moment for my eyes to become adjusted to the lack of light.

I could make out shapes, that of a chair and a table, a bucket and a bed.

And standing with its back to the wall, was a child.

I did not know if it was male or female or how old. The child was clad in a blanket of unbleached wool, and its hair was long and unkempt. Its eyes were pale, its mouth absent of teeth. The lips were cracked and bled black blood. It moved, and the blanket fell to the floor. The child was genderless and had not one set of arms but two. The fingers, long and tipped with black, broken nails, stretched and then curled in as it took a shuddering step toward me.

“Shoot,” the raven whispered. “Shoot or be damned.”

There was no time to argue.

The child sprang at me, and the reflexes of a lifetime took over. I put two rounds into the child’s chest, and a third into its head. Yet even as it stumbled back, I saw the wounds closing.

I slammed the door shut and threw the bolt, reloading my pistol as the creature in the cell screamed and pounded on the door.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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