Stories from the Sentinel: 1868

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The Hollow is never safe.

Behind even the most innocent of sights lurks a darkness best left unplumbed.

In 1868, a trio of young men from Nashua, New Hampshire made their way into Cross. Who knows how they heard about our town, or why they bothered to come when they did, but that is neither here nor there.

They came into Cross, followed North Road to the stonewall separating it from the Hollow, and decided it would be best to go over the wall and into the Hollow.

It was, of course, a poor decision.

One of the young men made it out of the Hollow and over the wall, crashing into a carriage driven by Pastor Vincent Elwood, newly arrived to Cross. He was dismayed by the young man’s story, and the fact that the man could stand there, his skin flayed from his body, and recount what had occurred.

The young man died a few moments after finishing his tale, and it was with this skinless corpse that the pastor drove pell-mell into town.

As some of the townsfolk tried to calm the pastor, Julius Rex, one of the senior writers at the Sentinel, set out for the Hollow.

I wish he had stopped to get me.

I found Julius’ hack on North Road, but there was no sign of the newspaperman.

With my Colts in my hands, I slipped into the Hollow and followed the bloody tracks of the young man who had escaped. They led back to a small copse of young fir trees, and it was there that I found the seamstress.

Three bodies lay cast aside to her left, clothing, and belongings to the right. In front of her, spread out on the ground, was a patchwork quilt the size of which could easily cover a giant. As I watched, she stitched Julius’ hide into place.

Her movements were quick and deft, not a single stitch out of place. I counted at least thirty skins, and I suspected she might need more. She looked like a woman with a purpose.

The wind shifted, and she paused, her nostrils flaring as she looked over at me.

Her lips curled into a snarl, and she vanished. Quilt and all.

Why she didn’t try and claim me for her quilt, I don’t know, but I’m thankful all the same.

I think I would have had a hell of a time killing her.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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