In Gods’ Hollow: May 4, 1912

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How do we make peace with our dead?

I heard her voice when the child ceased its hammering upon the cell door.

For a long time, I stood in silence, listening to her sing. It was an old Celtic song, one sung in Gaelic, the words rising and falling among the other noises in the long hallway.

The raven on my shoulder remained silent, and he spoke neither encouragement nor recrimination as I advanced toward her voice. I don’t know that I could have stopped myself. It had been only a few years since I had last seen her. Since I had helped to dig her grave and place her in it.

She was a dear friend, and one I sorely missed. The idea that she might be trapped in a cell, unable to leave, horrified me.

As I passed by each door, the noises beyond them ceased, and soon, only her voice remained. I stood before her cell, and with a hand that trembled, I slid the bolt back and peered in.

She was in a room much the same as the one she had occupied in Cross. As the door came to a stop, she looked at me and smiled.

“Duncan,” she whispered. “Oh, it’s good to see you.”

“You as well, Elizabeth,” I replied, my voice tight. Her face was pale, thin blue veins marbling her fine features. She looked the same as when she had died.

“How do I look to you, Duncan Blood?” she asked, smiling and turning on her heel.

“As fine as ever,” I answered, blinking back the tears.

“Do you miss me so?” she asked, genuinely surprised.

I nodded, unable to speak.

“You should not.” Her voice became hard. “This is no good place, Duncan Blood, and I wish I was not here.”

She looked down at the warming dish on her dresser. Without looking at me, she asked, “Do you know what they feed me here?”

“No.”

“Good,” her chin sank a little. “Close the door, Duncan Blood, and find those that keep this place.”

“Will you not come with me?” I asked.

She smiled and raised her head. “Your one-eyed god knows the answer to that, do you not, Grimnir?”

The raven nodded.

“Go then,” Elizabeth sighed. “Let this child be my last meal here.”

I closed the door as she reached into the dish.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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