In Gods’ Hollow: May 7, 1912

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Whispered laughter caught my ear and chilled my blood.

I could not tell from whence the sounds came, but I suspected I was drawing closer to the source. There was a curious luminescence in the corridor, hinting at the walls and ceiling around me, lending an air of unreality to an already disturbing environment.

I had been in the building for nearly a week, and I could only guess at the miles I had traveled in that time. The sorrow I had encountered was far worse than the short, sharp bursts of brutality I was forced to dole out.

There was no choice but for me to continue. I had not forgotten the reason for my entrance into the building. Indeed, what little sleep I managed to gain was fraught with nightmares, each one regarding the safety of Johnny Coffin. Thus, when I awoke each time, I moved forward with a sense of purpose: save Johnny Coffin, and destroy whoever had taken him.

The light around me gradually increased, and the raven tightened his grip upon my shoulder.

“Courage now,” he whispered in my ear, and that alone caused my heart to skip a beat. What was I to see that the god of hanged men thought I best be prepared?

The tunnel widened, and a large crypt came into view. Skulls were stacked on either side, and a chair was set beside a desk. The faint scent of pipe tobacco hung in the air, and there was a sense of comfort about the place.

Yet even as that thought crossed my mind, I heard the laughter increase.

Voices joined in, and I realized I knew them.

I knew them all.

Men and women I had counted as friends. Some of the women I had loved.

All spoke to me.

They whispered about the joys of death, and they called to me to join them.

For the first time, I realized how truly alone I was in the world. The weight of it pressed down on me, and I knew that if I did not force myself forward, I would never leave.

My loves called out, begged me to stay with them. Through a veil of my own tears, I clamped my hands over my ears and stumbled forward.

I was not alone.

The Gallows god was with me, and we would find Jack Coffin’s boy.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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