Stories from the Sentinel: 1872


Possession can happen to the best of us.

This was not the case with the Widow Claudette Joyce.

She was a wretch of a human being, and despite her wearing the black of a widow, she was more than pleased the day her husband, Jack, blew his brains out in front of her.

He had left her with a tidy sum. Enough to keep her comfortable into her golden years. He had made certain, however, that her own burial plot was on the other side of the cemetery from his.

Jack needn’t have worried.

It was the Widow’s habit to have her footman harness the horse to the dog-cart, and then, she would take it out to North Road. Once there, she proceeded to race along the road until the horse was foaming at the mouth, his eyes rolling in his head.

On more than one occasion, she nearly ran a person down, and I suspect she was responsible for at least one boy’s death in 1871.

I was returning from a late dinner with a friend one evening, and I saw the Widow sitting atop the stonewall, looking out into the depths of the Hollow. Neither the horse nor the dog-cart was anywhere to be seen, and it was curious to see the woman without them.

Keeping a fair distance back, I called out to her, and she turned and smiled at me.

The Widow was not herself.

“Duncan,” my sister said, her voice strained against the harsh vocal cords of the Widow. “You’ve grown up.”

It took a moment for me to speak. “I have.”

She smiled, and despite the wretchedness of the Widow’s features, it was my sister’s smile which shined upon me.

“I don’t like this woman,” she said after a moment. “She’s foul.”

“That she is.”

“She thinks a great deal of herself.”

I nodded. “I’m not surprised.”

She turned away and looked into the Hollow. “I’m trapped here.”

I remained silent.

She shook her head. “Beaten and murdered, and I still can find no peace.”

A smile formed on her lips again. “I love you, brother, dear.”

I went to answer, and Widow Joyce screamed.

I was covered in a fine mist of blood a moment later, my sister having exploded out of the Widow’s chest.

As the body toppled over the wall and into the Hollow, I wondered why my sweet sister was condemned to Hell.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

2 thoughts on “Stories from the Sentinel: 1872”

  1. This is very stunning and vivid writing. It’s not often I’m taken aback by an opener:

    “…she was more than pleased the day her husband, Jack, blew his brains out in front of her.”

    I mean, that is a banger (pun intended, whoops). But, this is a true definition of a horror story, the ending, wow! I can imagine all that blood and the aperture on the widow’s chest. This is also very reminiscent to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; two sides to the person, one is what we see, one is the monster. The question that remains is which side is real.

    I enjoyed reading your story. It’s well-written and engaging. 🙂

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