In Gods’ Hollow: May 9, 1912

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The pungent odor of rotting vegetation hung in the air.

We were standing in the doorway to a massive greenhouse, the width and breadth of it nearly incomprehensible. The raven left my shoulder, his massive wings propelling him into the air. He alighted upon the branch of an unknown tree and scanned the greenhouse with his single eye. After several minutes of silence, he came back to me.

“There is but one path,” he stated. “We will make our way out soon enough.”

I nodded, stepped into the greenhouse fully, and listened to the all-too-familiar sound of a door closing and locking behind me.

The cloying odor of rot made the mucus thicken in my throat, and I wondered what types of creatures hid within the plants around me.

I found out within a matter of moments.

Blood seeped out from a bush, spilling over and down a set of marble steps. A moment later, a young girl, clad in white, pushed branches aside and stepped out. She peered at me, as if unsure if I was there. When she spoke, it was in a delicate French I had not heard in decades.

“Food is not usually alive when it is brought in,” she told me.

“I am not food,” I responded.

She smiled, an act which revealed far too many teeth. They were triangular and sharpened to fine points. “All men are food,” she told me.

“And the women?” I asked

“No women are foolish enough to come here,” she stated. The girl stepped down toward me, leaving bloody prints behind her. “I am always hungry. There is never enough for me to eat. Never enough for me to share with my friends. They must survive on my leavings.”

The girl was salivating, and when she licked her lips, her tongue was split in two. Her smile widened to an impossible size, and her eyes became red with blood.

“Come,” she whispered. “I’ve not eaten well today. You’ve arrived just in time.”

I drew my Colts, and the girl laughed.

When I shot her through the stomach, vines snaked out of the wounds and sealed them.

She grinned as I holstered the pistols. “Yes,” she whispered. “Let me feed.”

I drew my Bowie knife, and I fed her steel.

When I threw her severed head into the bushes, she was still screaming, hurling insults in her sweet and delicate French.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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