October 2, 1937

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An uninvited mourner hung back from the procession.

We placed all eleven skulls into a single white casket, and then the town buried its dead.

It was a solemn procession, one that started from the First Congregationalist Church of Cross and ended just off of Blood Road.

I followed along at a fair distance, observing those who had come and wondering who might come to watch the burial.

I don’t know who the young woman was, but she was neither weepy-eyed nor was she curious. She kept herself removed from the others, her eyes never leaving the casket for long. When the pastor began his graveside service for the dead children, she hid behind a tree and jotted down notes.

It wasn’t difficult to creep up behind her and to peer over her shoulder at what she was writing.

It was a sketch of the cemetery and detailed notes on the exact words of the pastor. When he finished speaking, she wrote down a sentence and underlined it several times.

The sentence read, No need for incantations.

As she went to put her notepad and pencil away, I leaned forward and whispered, “Yell, and you’ll die slow.”

She stiffened and stifled a scream. Slowly, the young woman turned around, her eyes wide as she stared at me.

“Who sent you here?”

She shook her head, and I drew my knife.

“Who sent you here?”

“Professor Lucas.” Her voice was little more than a croak. “He said we needed to know where they were buried.”

“Why?”

She pressed her lips together.

The mourners passed by on the left, and when the pastor saw us, the young woman called out to him for help.

The mourners stopped as one, and the pastor’s expression was stern. “Mr. Blood, are you seeking answers?”

“I am.”

The pastor nodded and led the people on. None of them looked at us.

The young woman shuddered and tried to step away, but I caught her arm and twisted it hard enough to tear it out of the socket. Pain robbed her of her voice as she sagged to the ground, her arm useless at her side.

“Tell me why or I’ll start cutting.”

When she refused again, I scalped her, lifting it easily from her skull. As I dangled it in front of her, she managed a single word before she collapsed.

“Mother.”

#fear #horrorstories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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