Ivy, 1936


In 1857, Lucy Stone had eaten her daughter.

Like so many of my memories, I could picture it perfectly. The smell of roses wafting from the Hollow still brought a foul taste to my mouth, and often only a good, strong bourbon could wash it out.

Lucy’s husband, Francis, had remained in Cross, and his descendants occupied the family homestead still.

The house itself stands on North Road, close to the intersection with Washington Street, and it faces north, toward the Hollow. I can well recall seeing Francis Stone standing in his yard, worn with age and staring off at where his family had died.

The Stone House is three-quarters of a mile from the Hollow, and I was on North Road, walking towards town when I heard the whispers. They came from beneath my feet, vibrating up and penetrating the road. There was a disturbing familiarity to the voices, and I hastened my steps.

It wasn’t until I reached the Stone House that I understood what had happened.

The building, immaculately kept, had a heavy unkempt growth of unknown vines on it. The vines were new and had not been there when last I had seen the home.

The Harbors weren’t fools. They knew better than to remove anything from the Hollow.

The vines had found their way to the building.

When I approached the house, the whispering stopped, and the door opened. I did not bother with the Colts. They’d be useless against whatever I might find within.

The lights flickered into life as I crossed the threshold and looked with disgust upon the scene of butchery before me. The Harbor family, all six of them, were dead on the hall floor, laid out end to end. They had been stripped bare, and their bodies were sunken in and little more than husks. The walls were covered with roses, and as I looked, a mouth formed at the far end and the voice that emanated from it was Lucy Stone’s, full of madness and hunger and remorse.

When she finished, I nodded and left. I stopped in the garage for an ax and then made my way to the Hollow, where Lucy’s spirit remained trapped in a small rose bush and begged for release.

The ax was heavy in my hands.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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