Stories from the Sentinel: 1874


He was of the Hollow and mad.

The Soldier came stumbling out of the Hollow on a fine Spring day, screaming in a language none of us could understand. He was covered in blood and gore, and his body shook with that peculiar tremor that only a soldier can understand.

The man had seen too much, and it might well have been a mercy for him to have died before leaving the Hollow.

As it was, he didn’t.

A group of ladies from the Presbyterian Church had been out for a ride when they stumbled upon him, and they took it upon themselves to bring him into town.

He was brought to the doctor, where at least they were able to give him something to calm him for a bit. Unfortunately, the ladies discussed their discovery with everyone they met, and the men and women at the Sentinel had to scramble to contain the story.

They did a fine job of it, spinning a tale that made it seem as though he was an immigrant from Boston who had lost his way.

This was as far from the truth as one could get, and the ladies were adamant that they had found him.

They pressed the issue, and, with great effort, they managed to get into the doctor’s office just as the Soldier was coming out of the thickest part of his sedation. One woman, Mrs. Madeline Ruth, put a calming hand on his shoulder and lost her index and middle fingers.

The Soldier had bitten them clean off, and no one was able to get them out of his mouth before he swallowed them, bones and all.

I was called in at that point, and the ladies were finally convinced that they should forget the Soldier ever existed.

I brought him home and did what I could for him, but it wasn’t much. He lived in a small hut on an equally small island in Blood Lake, and he screamed every day for twelve more years.

When the ravens told me he was silent, I rowed out and checked on him, but the Soldier was dead. There wasn’t a mark on him, and he was propped upright against a tree, staring into the sunrise.

All of his fingers were gone, chewed down to naught but nubs.

The bones were scattered at his feet, and there was a broad, peaceful smile on his bloody, bearded face.

Well, at least he died happy.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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