July 1, 1938

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I hate Gods’ Hollow.

I’m not overly fond of my dog Turk at the moment, either.

He’s a hound, and – on a good day – he’s a hell of a hunter.

Today was not a good dog.

I don’t know what scared him, but when the wind shifted, the hackles on his back stood up straight, and then he lit out like a shot right down North Road and cleared the stonewall as if it wasn’t any bigger than an anthill.

I called after him, and I confess my language was a little raw, but it’s damned hot to be chasing after a scared dog.

I didn’t have much of a choice after he landed in the Hollow and kept on running.

He’d no sooner gotten a good thirty or forty feet away when the building appeared, and he ran right into the damned thing. I took off after him as soon as I saw him disappear.

I didn’t want to lose him.

I don’t like to lose any dog, especially not when there’s something I can do about it.

In a moment, I was over the wall and running hell-bent for leather, worried that the building would vanish before I could reach him. From its depths, I heard laughter and merry-making, and the sound caused my stomach to churn.

Few good things have come out of the Hollow in the past three hundred years, and I doubted that anything good was going to come out of the building.

When I reached the entrance, I went followed Turk’s example and went through the lower door, my Colts drawn and the hammers cocked.

I came to a stop just over the threshold and listened for him. I could neither see nor hear him, and the smell of the place was foul, the air heavy and unnaturally moist.

My eyes adjusted to the dimness, and I clenched my jaw.

Bodies hung from the rafters. Dozens of them in various stages of decay. They’d all been gutted, the eyes removed, and the lips shorn off as well. The flesh around the wounds charred.

The dead had all been men, and written on the left thigh of each was the ‘Age’ and a number beside all of them falling between 30 and 39.

Beneath the number was a single word.

Blood.

The building shuddered, and I knew the Hollow had shifted. I was no longer in my Cross.

Above me, Turk howled, and I went looking for the stairs.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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