July 21, 1938

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We drank all night.

Her name is Patience Blood, and she is my older sister.

Neither of us is certain whether my father – from my world – is her father or whether we are merely siblings by way of the convoluted timelines and realities which converge within the Hollow. Regardless of the how, we are both satisfied with the what.

We are kin.

Close to dawn, she opened a door that led into a bedroom and pointed out a sleeping man. He was dressed in hospital garb, seated in a cane-back wheelchair, and his hospital bed was behind him, undisturbed.

“Who’s that?” I asked as she handed me a fresh stein of beer.

“My husband,” she answered, lighting a fresh cigarette. “I’m not quite certain what they’ve done to him, but I told them if he dies, then I’ll tear this house down, brick by brick.”

I took a drink, raised an eyebrow and asked, “How did they respond?”

She shrugged, closed the door, and we returned to our seats. “They leave us be. Occasionally, I hear them creeping around outside the door, and I go out and have a word or two.”

“Hm. And what do they say?”

“Not much,” she grinned. “They yell for a moment or two.”

“Why’s that?”

“I throw them out the window across the hall. It’s a good five stories down,” Patience told me. “None of them survive.”

“How long will your man live like that?”

Sadness flitted across her face. “Too long, I’m afraid.”

“How long has it been?”

She frowned and considered the question. “Eighty-three years or so.”

We were quiet for a short time, and then she spoke again.

“I miss him,” she stated. “We could talk with one another. He didn’t mind me not growing old while he did.”

“How long can he live like that?”

“Too long,” she answered and finished her cigarette. She tossed the remnant into the fire before she lit another. “When you find Turk, you’ll find the speaking system they use. Let me know.”

“I will,” I told her. “Shall I come back for you?”

She shook her head. “No. I’ll kill my man and then destroy the house. I think I’ve been here long enough, and I know for damned sure that this place has.”

I nodded, raised my stein, and took a drink. There was nothing for me to say.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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