Warnings, 1936


The house was bathed in sunlight and stank of death.

The building had been empty at least since the turn of the century. Still, I’d been past it more than once and never had it stunk the way it did this morning.

It was a bad smell, and given the circumstances, it needed investigating.

The front door and the windows on the first floor were boarded shut. ‘Round the back, the barn had collapsed in upon itself, and some rock doves took flight when I stepped into the overgrown backyard.

My eyes watered at the smell as I drew closer to the backdoor, and when I pushed it open, I saw why.

Entrails hung from the exposed rafters of the ceiling, and a trio of hearts was pinned to the wall with kitchen knives. On the stove was a kettle large enough to boil lambs’ heads. There weren’t any heads in it, though. Just shattered bones and a murky liquid I suspect had once been marrow.

I pushed open the door that led into a parlor, and I found a young girl sitting by the fireplace. For a heartbeat, I thought I had found my vampire, but when the child looked at me, I saw she was human.

I glanced around the room as she peered at me. The child was alone.

“Where’s your family?” I asked.

“Dead,” the girl replied.


She frowned, held up one hand and ticked off the days. “Four. They went in the kitchen and didn’t come out. Virginia told me to stay here, and so I stayed here.”

“Was Virginia your sister?”

“No, silly,” the little girl laughed. “Virginia’s the girl what come in four nights ago. She said I needs must stay here. Said it was for the best. Then, she come again last night,” the girl stated. “Said you might be here today, and I’m to give you a message.”

I nodded. “Give it then, child.”

“She said she’ll kill you,” the girl mumbled. “Like she killed my momma. But my momma and sisters was bad.”

“Were they?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yup,” the little girl whispered. “Virginia caught my momma and sisters whippin’ me for eatin’.”

I glanced at the kitchen and understood the butchery.

“Come on, child,” I said, holding out my hands.

She closed her eyes as we passed through the kitchen and back into the light of day.

#fear #horrorstories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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