Stories from the Sentinel: 1860

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His dedication to the obfuscation of the truth cost him his life.

More’s the pity.

Troy Lightfoot was not a native of Cross. Not even of the country. He was an Englishman who, after the loss of his family in a London fire, traveled across the Atlantic and stopped in the first place that caught his eye.

We were lucky that Cross intrigued him.

His first interaction with the Hollow, and the horrors that came from it, was in the winter of ’54 when he managed to gut a Wendigo that came creeping into town for a bite. When he understood what it was he had slain, and what it would mean to the world if word of such got out, he took up the writing habit.

He worked on a dozen of the most difficult cases. I helped him quiet down the murder of the Hatchets by walking skeletons, and the devouring of the Mitchells by darkness in the middle of a summer’s day. The man was fearless and focused, and a good companion so long as he wasn’t in his cups.

There are days when I allow myself the dream that he was too drunk to understand what was happening to him on New Year’s Day. Then, there’s the memory of the blood in the snow, his jagged and torn fingernails in the roadway, and his teeth scattered like so many seeds.

That image leaves no doubt as to his suffering and his undeniable knowledge of what was happening.

I don’t know what killed him, though I sorely wish I did.

I don’t know that even Troy knew what it was.

The man was out on the edge of town, about as far from the Hollow as one can get, investigating the disappearance of Martin Taft. Taft had vanished in the morning, and given that Taft had left everything behind, foul play was suspected.

And confirmed by Troy’s death.

I like to think Troy didn’t die. That he was only wounded and that, with some luck, he’ll one day return.

I think of him often, and when I do, I look to the gold container sitting on my desktop. In it are Troy’s teeth, and I like to think of the laugh we’ll have should he come back for them.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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