Stories from the Sentinel: 1861


The Hollow takes what it wants.

William Valiant wrote for the Sentinel for twelve years. He was a devoted father, an active participant of the community, and he had a knack for putting a story down to something completely mundane.

A short time before the War of Rebellion began, there was some evidence that a group of goblins was raiding from the Hollow.

William was concerned, of course, not only as a writer for the Sentinel but because the goblins had a tendency to try and snatch children. Whether it was to eat them or to keep them as prisoners of the Fey, no one knew. William, however, decided he needed to investigate fully before deciding on how best to write it up.

I wish he hadn’t.

An Elder God in the Hollow had taken a liking to William, and the goblins were nothing more than a ploy to bring William close enough to grab.

The Elder God knew that William, of all the writers, would be unable to resist. The Elder God knew too that I had stepped out of Cross for a short time. There was a man who needed killing in Boston, so I had taken the day to complete my chore.

When I came back, William was no more.

His wife and son were waiting for me, and they told me he had gone into the Hollow.

I armed myself and went to see what I could discover.

There, on North Road, I waited and managed to see and speak with the Elder God in question. The Elder God’s name is not one that bears repeating, even in the written word, and we had a testy conversation. I tried diplomacy, and I tried to cajole. I threatened, and the Elder God laughed. From the Elder God’s belly, I heard the wailing of William Valiant.

The Elder God smiled at me, winked, and stated, “He will write stories for me soon enough.”

“And if he doesn’t?” I asked.

“Then I wait, Duncan Blood,” the Elder God chuckled. “It is something I am good at.”

The Elder God stepped back into the tree-line, and the Hollow rippled around him. In a moment, not even the trees remained. I was looking at a long and barren stretch of land.

With my hands resting uselessly on the butts of the Colts, I turned and made my way home. I had to speak to a new widow and a now fatherless child.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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