The Body


Someone butchered my friend.

I’d not heard from Pratchett for the better part of a week, which was unlike the man. Every few days, he’d stop by the farm to see what was going on with me and ask to see the orchard.

I never let him, of course. It was too dangerous. He’d heard the trees speak before, and he’d stumbled and cut himself on a root.

The damned trees got a taste of his blood and liked it. I barely got him out of the orchard without having to set it on fire.

At first, when I didn’t hear from him, I thought he might have gone on a book buying trip. He was a collector and would often go to New York City or even as far as Chicago. But he would always ask if there was anything I wanted him to look for.

Finally, on Friday evening, I went into town and the small home he owned on Olive Street.

He was home, but he was dead.

I found most of him in the parlor. I’m not sure where his torso was, but the charred remains of the rest of him were there to be seen, his head propped up on a wicker box as though waiting for me to arrive.

Perhaps he was.

I scoured the home, looking for any sign of who might have killed my friend, and I found it.

Upstairs, in Pratchett’s bedroom, one of his books was missing. It was an old volume on Chinese myths and legends. He kept it by his chair and read from it frequently.

I searched a bit more in the room and found a bit of silk and a scrap of bark.

In silence, I gathered them up and went home. I brought them into the barn, to the aged door with the sigils carved into it, and slid the bark and the silk beneath the wood.

“Hello, my love,” she whispered, and the door groaned as she settled against it.

“Hello.” It pained me to hear her voice, no matter how dangerous she was.

“Do you love me?” she asked.

“I do love you.”

She sighed. “These things, you want to know where they are from, yes?”

“Aye,” I whispered, my voice hoarse.

“The Hollow, of course.” She paused. “Will you let me out now?”

My heart thundered in my chest. “I can’t.”

“I know. Go. The Hollow is still, and you can hunt.”

I left her, gathered up my Colts, and set off for the Hollow.

#revenge #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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