Flowers, 1857


Picking flowers in Gods’ Hollow is never a wise decision.

Lucy Stone found this out in the worst of ways.

Lucy and her husband Francis came to Cross by way of Pepperell in 1854. By the winter of ’56, they welcomed the birth of their first child, Annabelle. Francis’ work often took him as a solicitor often took him as far afield as New York City, leaving the mother and young child alone for weeks on end.

Lucy was a strong woman and took this all in stride. Often, I would pass her on North Road close to the Hollow, where I would see her admiring the flowers growing beyond the stonewall that separated the Hollow from the rest of Cross. More than once, I told her that she would do well not to go after any blooms that she found interesting, and she assured me that she would refrain from such an activity.

This morning, I saw that she did not.

Her mad laughter ripped through the air, cutting through the fog as I stopped at the wall. The Hollow, sensing my presence, caused the mist to part and showed the woman and child to me.

That is, it showed me what was left of the child’s body and the woman’s sanity.

Lucy was seated beside a rose bush of incredible breadth and beauty, the roses had their petals spread wide, and each was disturbingly vibrant. Around Lucy and spread across what I took to be a pile of rags, dozens of the petals had fallen.

It took me a moment to realize that the rags were the remains of the child.

The clothes were torn and bloody, and scraps of flesh and bits of bone were scattered amid the roses. Lucy Stone’s face was smeared with her daughter’s blood, and she had clawed her own eyes out.

The wind shifted as I stood at the stonewall and brought my scent to the woman.

Her laughter stopped, and she crawled towards me, mewling like a sick kitten.

I stood my ground, the woman licking her lips in eager anticipation as she pulled herself up onto the stone wall.

In silence, I reached out, took hold of her head, and I snapped her neck.

As her body tumbled back into the Hollow and the fog closed over once more, I made my way home, hating the smell of roses.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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