September 8, 1880


Well, that’s a kicker.

The pixies led me on a merry chase this morning, and if it hadn’t been more trouble than it’s worth, I would have killed a few of them just on general principle.

But if you kill one, then they tend to get irate, which leads to too much trouble.

Still, if I hadn’t followed them, I wouldn’t have found the doors.

The doors look as though they’ve been there for at least a century. But neither the doors nor the bunker they’re set in were there two years earlier.

Which means someone’s helping the Russians, and the only person that might be is my mother.

I tried the doors when I first saw them about two hours ago.

They were locked.

I’d considered putting a few rounds from the Colts, and even a couple from the coach gun, into the doors but then decided against it. It’d be a waste of ammunition, and I had a feeling I was going to need more of it rather than less.

So, I’d gone to work instead.

In the past two hours, I’d scoured the woods around the doors, dragging deadfall back and stacking it up against the intruding portal and packing it with kindling.

I smoked my pipe, looked at the doors, and wondered how many were hiding behind it. Were they the remaining crew members from the ship I’d sunk in the marina? Did they manage to find wives in the Hollow and breed?

What would I find waiting for me beyond those doors?

The fisher cat pixie appeared off to one side, and she crept close, her eyes watching me warily.

I took the pipe out of my mouth and asked, “Was that you I was chasing?”

Her smile told me it was.

“I almost put a bullet in your belly.”

She gave me a disgruntled expression. “I don’t like iron.”

“It’s lead.”

She snorted and settled down on her haunches, just out of arm’s reach. She shifted her attention from me to the doors, then back again. “Are you going in?”

I nodded.

“Should we help?”

“Just keep the fire from spreading,” I replied, getting to my feet and picking up my coach gun.

She frowned. “Fire?”

Without another word, I walked forward, lit a match from my pipe set the flame to the kindling. The fire devoured kindling, nipped at the deadfall, and made its way to the doors.

#horrorstories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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