October 15, 1937

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The ship rode low in the water.

The ravens informed me of a new vessel out on Blood Lake, and I found it anchored on the lee side of an island, her masts hidden by the tall pines.

The ship was large and looked as though she had carried at least thirty guns. I can only imagine how they managed to get it onto my lake. There are too many places where the waters touch upon the Hollow, and I wondered for a short time if my mother had shoved it through before the god sealed her in.

I rowed up to the side of the ship, climbed up, and slipped aboard with a Colt in hand.

The spars creaked, and the rigging groaned as I made my way down and found the captain’s quarters.

It smelled of pipe tobacco and the sea.

I pushed through a door into a library and realized I had found their room.

The books on the shelves had bindings of human skin, and there was a whispering in the walls that spoke of pain and anguish.

Stepping up to the shelves, I saw most of the titles were written in Latin, the words themselves leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

There was no mistaking what was done on this ship, the only question was how many had been sacrificed. What might I find in the holds? What did the bastards use as ballast?

I did not want to know, nor did I want them to come back to their floating sanctuary.

In my youth, I burned more than a few ships. Usually, it was when the crew was still aboard.

Not now.

I doubted any of the original crew were left alive. Those that had commandeered the ship, well, I knew a fair few of them were still hiding in the confines of Cross.

I went back to the top deck, found a good supply of kerosene, and doused the planks with it. Finally, I poured the last of the liquid onto a pile of sail left in a corner and set the whole thing ablaze.

I clambered down to the canoe, rowed out a way, shipped the oars, and in the setting sun, I watched the flames creep up the rigging and down towards the waterline.

The ship stank of roasting flesh, and there was a sigh of content as the wind shifted, carrying the smoke up towards the darkening sky.

Smiling, I lit my pipe and watched the ship burn.

#fear #horrorstories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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