In Gods’ Hollow: May 31, 1956

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The last boy is gone, and the world is worse for it.

For the past forty-four years, I referred to him as ‘Child.’ Only once, a few days after I had rescued the boys from the chapel in Gods’ Hollow, did I ask him for his name, and he told me it no longer mattered. The boy he had been was gone and dead, left behind in the charred remnants of his old hell.

I did not argue with him, nor did I press the issue. If he did not wish to be named, so be it.

Child took up residence on an island in Blood Lake. Unlike others, he preferred to be alone. I would check on him weekly, but the boy was entirely self-sufficient. He could hunt and fish, he knew what plants he could eat, and those which he could not. The boy even grew vegetables in the one decent spot.

Over the years, he grew to be a man, and he built his own home. It was a single-room structure, with windows all the way around. He could look out across the Lake and know if anyone was coming to his island.

There was a small pier, where I would tie up my boat, and before I had gotten halfway up the dock, he would emerge from the woods with a rifle and a smile.

We spent more than a few nights seated in his house, Child alert to the sounds and smells of his home. He would carve while I spoke or read to him. He never wanted to know of the world. Whenever I was to leave for any length of time, I would inform him, and he would nod.

Always, I found him waiting for me when I returned.

This morning, when I tied up at the dock, he did not come and greet me.

When I reached the path that led to his home, he was not there.

The island was silent. Not a bird sang, nor did ay animal call. Even the insects were mute.

I entered his home with trepidation and found Child dead on his bed. His eyes were open, his hands folded over his breast. In his hands, he held a pipe, and on it was carved a single word.

Blood.

It was his gift to me, and I smoke it as I write these words.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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