3:30 AM January 1, 1931


The book is hard to hold.

She’s trapped inside it, and I’ve not been able to set her free.

It was 1853, and I was sweet on Charity Coffin. Despite my appearance of a lad of 15 years, I had more than two centuries behind me, and that woman fascinated me. She had a sharp wit and was a deft hand with a rifle. She could outshoot her sons and her husband, as well as most men in town.

Charity would flirt with me, but flirt and nothing more. I’d like to say I admired her for it, but I wanted the woman, plain and simple.

Still, I respected her, and so it never went beyond playful banter when we were alone.

1n 1853, Cross had suffered through a bad year with the crops. Winter would be tight, especially if we lost any more of our supplies to the weather. Charity found an old spellbook written in German in the Von Epp bookstore, and she purchased it. From what I gathered after, she studied it for the better part of a month, slowly gathering what she needed for a spell.

A spell to save the town.

The things she did, though, well, they should never have been done.

A child was stolen from a poor family outside of Pepperell, and the altar at the First Congregationalist Church up in Nashua, New Hampshire, was shattered.

A few other items went missing too, and I made all haste to the Coffin Farm. Mr. Coffin and the boys were out hunting, looking to lay in a good supply of venison for any bad times.

Charity was home alone, and when I found her, she was in the kitchen.

The remnants of a child burned in the fireplace, and the parts she’d needed simmered in a pot on a nearby hook. A knife made from the altar lay bloodied on the table, and there was a wild, fearful look on Charity’s face. The book she’d bought from the von Epps lay propped open on the table beside the knife.

I snatched up the weapon and cleaved her breast in twain.

A heartbeat later, I was alone in the kitchen. The remains of the child were gone. The fire was out.

Charity had vanished.

The book was closed, and from it, I heard her begging for mercy.

I could not, and cannot still, give her what she seeks.

And it makes me drink all the more.

#books #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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