October 28, 1937

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What the hell?

I’d heard Panpipes after spending the night holed up in the house so recently abandoned by the murderers from Miskatonic.

I found the musician, or whatever the hell he thought he was, sitting and wearing naught more than a pair of house slippers and pants. He was playing a furious tune.

When he saw me, the music stopped, and he lowered the pipes.

I cocked my head to one side, rested my hands on the Colts and asked, “Who are you, and where are you from?”

“Doctor Roland Redd, from Philadelphia. Why do you ask?”

“Didn’t think they made them as stupid as you in Philadelphia. ‘Course, I’ve not been there in some time.”

I drew one of the Colts and cocked the hammer back.

Redd’s eyes grew to an impossible size, and his hands shook as he brought the pipes up fast enough to strike himself in the lips. His lips were mashed against his teeth, and he coughed, whimpered, and then spat blood onto his white pants.

“Look what you’ve made me do,” he whispered. “Oh, my lips and my pants.”

Those were the least of his worries as far as I was concerned.

Bringing the Colt up, I leveled it on his chest and then stopped.

The grasses and the weeds snaked around his legs. They pushed the slipper off one foot and burrowed through the pants. Redd gasped, tried to slap the animated flora with one hand, and only succeeded in allowing it to become trapped by an ambitious vine. A moment later, the other hand was caught, pinching his fingers against the pipe before pulling the entire arm crosswise over his chest. Roots snarled up through the earth and formed a frame behind him, and the vines and weeds strapped him to it.

“Blood.”

The voice that spoke my name reverberated through the forest, and despite its power, I could hear the drunkenness in it.

“Aye,” I replied.

“Those are my pipes he’s playing.”

I nodded, eased the hammer back on my Colt and slid the pistol into its holster.

“What’s happening?” Red asked, his voice rising in panic.

“It’s the Hollow,” I answered. “What do you think is happening?”

I left, and behind me, the earth trembled beneath Pan’s cloven hooves.

#horrorstories #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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