My Father’s History: Scratching

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The subtle, grating sound ate at his nerves.

‘I’m not certain when I became aware of I, but when I did, I could not block the sound from my mind.

‘It rooted itself deep within my thoughts, and I, who have ignored the screams of the dead and dying on fields of death across the old world and the new, became fixated upon the noise.

‘Soon, I found myself searching for the source of the sound, and to my regret, I found it.

‘I followed a wide, well-worn path, deep ruts from untold numbers of wagons leading me on. As I went, the sound increased in volume, and a new element joined in. It was a soft moan, reminiscent of the wind through trees and across open water.

‘It was a discomforting sound, and not for the first time in Gods’ Hollow did I feel the urge to stop and turn myself around.

‘Curiosity drove me forward.

‘The path rose up a slight incline, and then, as I reached the peak, I found a scene that chilled the blood.

‘I saw coffins for as far as I could see. Coffins draped in flags, the colors of which were those of the new Republic.

‘The coffins were laid over open graves, and from within the depths of the boxes came the scratching and the moaning. As I stood and stared, the rifle clutched uselessly in my hands, I could smell the dead. Rot hung heavy in the air, and I could picture, if not truly see, the sickening miasma lingering above the coffins.

‘I debated my next course of action, and as I did, the wind shifted, carrying my scent down into the massive burial ground.

‘When it did, the moans became howls.

‘The coffins rocked back and forth, and on more than a few of them, the flags fell and fluttered into the graves.

‘The dead could smell me, and from the howling, I knew they were hungry.

‘Without turning my back to the trapped monsters, I fled and sought sanctuary from the madness of the Hollow.’

#horror #fear #art #writing

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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