Stories from the Sentinel: 1859

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From the Hollow, he came, and to the Hollow, he returned.

He called himself Choctaw, and whether he was of that tribe or the entirety of that tribe’s essence condensed into a single man, I’ll never know.

He came out of the Hollow in the middle of a thunderstorm. Lightning tore furrows in the earth and set the world ablaze. Thunder shook the buildings, and the rain smashed in roofs.

But Choc was untouched by all of it. Not a single drop of water had the audacity to strike him. The wind did not dare to push a strand of hair out of place.

When it came to writing, Choc’s specialty was women.

If there was a story with a woman in it, he was the one sent to have a chat with her. It didn’t matter if she was attractive or ugly, thick, or thin. All responded to Choc.

He never took advantage of a single one. Instead, he brought each into his confidence and learned the truth behind their stories. As they told their histories, the memories of the events faded. Soon, there was no one who believed the event occurred. This allowed him to write something reasonable in the paper.

Mrs. Collins’ prized dog was not carried off by a Naiad. No, according to Choc, the dog had slipped on a bit of wet rock, struck its head, and vanished beneath the sometimes turbulent waters of the Cross River.

In 1859, after Chock had been in town for several years, he asked me to go for a walk. I agreed, and the two of us strolled along until we came to the Hollow.

“Time for me to go,” Choc told me. “There are people that need killing.”

I nodded in understanding.

“One of them’s a relative, Duncan,” Choc continued. “Will you bear me, ill-will?”

“No,” I answered. “There’s a great many of us who need killing.”

Choc smiled, nodded, and whispered in my ear.

What he said I don’t know, but I sure as hell hope that it wasn’t important. Though, knowing the man, it probably was.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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