12:36 AM January 1, 1931


The book’s yelling at me.

This is nothing new. The damned thing’s been yelling at me on and off since 1715, ever since it arrived in Cross.

From what I’ve gathered over the centuries, the book was put together by Spanish missionaries to the Siona-speaking people sometime in the 1600s. How the damned thing made it to Cross, and how it became haunted, have not been shared with me, nor have I been able to learn.

There is some information the book keeps to itself.

During the years, I have learned more and more of what is being said to me. Mostly it’s insults, sometimes it’s curses. Occasionally, vulgarity spews forth from the pages, and that’s always interesting.

Tonight, well, tonight it’s yelling about the Spanish.

When it first came into Cross as part of a parcel mailed to my father, the first words out of the haunted book were complaints about the Spanish. It took my father and myself by surprise, but my father recovered quickly. He did his best to gather information, but he had less luck – and less time it would turn out – to spend with it.

As a young man, I would take the book out to the orchard and listen to it complain, try to converse with it, and then eventually give up the effort as a bad job.

Now, with the book open on my desk, it amuses me. Oh, not the obvious discomfort it feels for the situation, but its ability to swear consistently over two hundred years. That’s impressive, and it puts my own skills to shame.

For a short period, after my father vanished into the Hollow for the last time, I kept the book upstairs with me as a comfort. That was until the bookseller tried to steal it from me.

He was the first to ever try and take one of my books, and this volume didn’t want to go anywhere.

As soon as the bookseller plucked it off the table and tried to make for the front door, the book began yelling in Siona. I caught the man as he tried to run, and I retrieved the book and took his right hand for my troubles.

The book has a proper place on a bookcase, and beside it, stuffed and mounted, is the bastard bookseller’s hand.

That’s the only thing the book doesn’t complain about.

#books #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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