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January 9, 1924

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During the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1919, Cross isolated itself from the rest of New England. This was done to stop the disease from laying waste to the town, and in this Cross was successful.

One resident saw the epidemic as an opportunity to sate masochistic tendencies.

Mrs. Lucille Racine was a quiet, polite woman who enjoyed the being a member of the ladies’ auxiliary and sitting with the sick and dying.

Little did her neighbors know how much she enjoyed sitting with the ill.

After the worst of the epidemic passed in 1920, Lucille was seen to have numerous transients working on the old barn on her property. She was, according to Lucille, offering the men viable employment opportunities, which they gladly accepted.

On January 7, 1924, Lucille died suddenly at the library, and it was left to the town to go to her home and see what could be done about the property and the two cats she owned.

On the morning of January 9, several men traveled to Lucille’s property and inspected the home. The structure was sound, but no sign of a will could be found. The men recalled the repairs to the barn and went to search it for paperwork.

When the men entered the barn, they were surprised to find a small antechamber equipped with a nurse’s uniform and a gasmask. A sliding panel was set in the chamber’s interior door, and before anyone stepped in, the panel was moved to reveal a glass pane, and the men saw what Lucille Racine had hidden from the world.

Ten beds were arranged in the room beyond the glass, and there were two men in each bed, set head to foot, and chained in place. Later examination would show all men were sick with influenza.

None of them survived.

#CrossMassachusetts #horror #scary #death #flashfiction #shortshort #writerofinstagram #unsolvedmystery #illness #imprisoned #secrets

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January 8, 1931

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The Great Depression began with the crash of the New York Times Stock Exchange in October of 1929, and no place in the western world was left untouched by the occurrence.

This included the town of Cross, Massachusetts.

While the pain of the financial collapse was not felt as keenly in Cross as in other places, it was nonetheless felt.

Mr. Otto Jones, formerly of Idaho, moved to Cross in 1930 to live with his sister on her small farm. Otto was a kind and generous man, and an avid hunter. His ability find game kept not only himself and his sister supplied with meat, but some of their neighbors as well.

Like his sister, Otto was a stranger to the town, its customs, and the places one should not tread.

While he knew that Gods’ Hollow was not a place to trespass in, he did not consider hunting to be trespassing.

In January of 1931, Otto realized great flocks of Canadian geese would spend days in Gods’ Hollow. He knew that he could fire rounds quickly enough to bring down a fair few and that the meat from those birds would go a long way to helping some of the poorer families stretch out their dinners.

On January 7, Otto went to Gods’ Hollow and shot dozens of birds. That evening, he and his sister plucked and dressed them, then on January 8, they delivered them to their Church in Pepperell. The fresh meat was gratefully received, and the birds were distributed to those families in need.

The first person who ate of the flesh was the local pastor in Pepperell when he had a bit of it for his afternoon lunch.

He was dead by four o’clock.

By the time the church realized the meat was poisonous, 19 people had died.

Remorse claimed Otto, and he blew his brains out in Gods’ Hollow that same evening.

#CrossMassachusetts #horror #scary #death #flashfiction #shortshort #writerofinstagram #unsolvedmystery #hunting #depression #secrets

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Resolutions

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So, did you make any resolutions for 2019?

I have to confess. Usually, I don’t make any sort of resolutions. The main reason is, of course, because I don’t ever stick to my resolutions, and if that’s the case, then what’s the point to begin with? I’m not especially masochistic, so there’s no need to torment myself with daily reminders of what I have failed to do.

I have enough of those without adding to my burden.

This year, however, I did make a resolution, and it’s fairly simple: I resolved to write more of my own material.

And so far, I have done just that.

Whether it’s only 300 words a day, I still write it.

I didn’t set a minimum, and I didn’t set a maximum. It’s straightforward: just write.

I know I’ve said that before to other writers when they ask how to get going with their writing, how to increase their strength and endurance when it comes to getting their thoughts down on paper. Well, I’ve taken my own advice.

It’s been working out well.

I have a new idea for a short novel, and possibly a photo album/history book of my mythical town, Cross. In addition to that, I’m going to revisit a few short stories that were pushed by the wayside when I was working more than sleeping.

But I’m in a good place with my writing. I average 80K to 100K a month, and I work one full-time job and one part-time job, which is pretty decent. Life has slowed down a bit, and I appreciate that.

I’m using this new rhythm to put some structure into my writing schedule and making sure that I’m creating the best material I can.

If you’ve got the writing bug, remember, it is never too late to start your own schedule. For me, it’s a few hundred words a day and editing that much as well.

And for right now, that’s all I need.

 

#writing #writingresolution #resolution #succeed #success #drive #focus #determination #writer

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January 7, 1911

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Like any New England town, Cross has its fair share of hills.

And, at one time or another, someone in Cross has decided that there is a fortune to be made in mining whatever might be buried in the hills.

Unlike other New England towns, this is a dangerous belief in Cross.

Early in 1910, a large hill on the western edge of Gods’ Hollow was identified as possibly holding a cache of precious metal. The metal was never named, but Eldric Maison purchased the rights to dig in the hill. His mining crews dug deep, but nothing was found.

Eldric, determined to make something out of nothing, ordered the digging to bear to the east, under Gods’ Hollow.

All the Cross residents refused, and Eldric was forced to hire from other towns, and from as far away as Boston. Yet as the new miners delved deeper and farther, they began to go missing.

There would be no sound, no violence.

Merely another miner vanished. Eventually, 8 of them disappeared.

None of them returned.

Finally, in an effort to show them that nothing was amiss in the tunnels, Eldric went down with them, and promptly vanished.

Duncan Blood, at the behest of Maison’s sister, donned an apparatus of his own design, and descended into the tunnels.

38 hours later, on January 7, 1911, Duncan returned. In a bag he carried the jaw bones of eight men, and the head of a ninth.

The head belonged to Eldric Maison.

“They hadn’t had time to eat their fill,” Duncan stated, and he would say no more about it.

#CrossMassachusetts #horror #scary #death #flashfiction #shortshort #writerofinstagram #unsolvedmystery #mining #skull #secrets

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January 6, 1930

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Many events which occur in Cross remain a mystery. No one can ever draw a conclusion as to what happened or offer a reasonable explanation for an event.

Such is the case with Gods’ Hollow.

A wide expanse of unoccupied territory, Gods’ Hollow has never been settled. No homes have been built, no fences erected. Cattle are not allowed to graze, nor is hunting permissible.

Not only is there a sacredness about the area, but there is a subtle danger, an almost malignant odor to the air. Something lurks there, between the worlds.

And at times, this unknown entity opens the gateway and thrusts something into Cross that does not belong.

On January 6, 1930, Mr. Erik Carte was traveling along the slim road that cuts through Gods’ Hollow when he saw a disruption to the natural landscape.

The remains of a curious building stood where no building had stood before.

Closer examination of the structure revealed that it bore the date of 1558 Anno Domini and that the foundations were encrusted with small, humanoid skulls. Signs of violence could be seen upon the stone and the plaster, but there was no explanation as to how the ruins had appeared, or why they had done so.

The building was clearly ancient, and the growth around it revealed that it had been its position for centuries.

Yet the question was to which world did the ruins belong.

No one knew.

The ruins, known as Carte’s Castle, remain on the edge of Gods’ Hollow, and people are advised to avoid it.

At any time, the castle could return from whence it came, and it might take the curious onlooker with it.

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January 5, 1921

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Like many New England towns, Cross is fiercely independent.

The town does not accept funds from either the Federal government or the State. This way, Cross regulates itself in many aspects of government which other towns and cities cannot.

Since Cross is beholden to neither the Federal nor the State governments, it is not required to allow either to establish buildings or properties within the town’s borders.

Once, in 1921, shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, the Federal government attempted to house a medical research facility in an old building along the eastern border of Cross. Within this building, euphemistically called, Dawn’s Shining Light, doctors in the employ of the United States Army sought to incorporate the idea of the ‘men of steel’ as written about in Ernst Jünger’s memoir, Storm of Steel.

The doctors took this idea literally, seeking ways to graft steel to bone and sinew.

On the morning of January 5, 1921, a young woman was found wandering along the North Road. She was a mass of surgical scars and bandages.

When the local doctor was able to make her comfortable enough to speak, the young woman told of the facility, and what was taking place there.

A group of Cross citizens, many of them veterans of the First World War, gathered at Duncan Blood’s home, where they were presented with the information available.

As the evening light vanished, the Cross citizenry attacked. With covering fire from the women’s marksmanship group, Duncan led the attack on the building. The veterans forced their way in, but they were too late to save the other patients in the facility. The test subjects had been put to death.

The medical staff was captured alive, and they demanded to speak with their superior.

Duncan responded by drowning them all in a tub.

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January 4, 1927

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Part of our sanitized folklore is the belief that the punishment fits the crime, and that there is – in the end – a sort of rough justice served out.

This has never been the case in Cross.

The town’s ways are the old ways, and the dangers within its borders rarely offer up a rational reason for their occurrences.

So it is with Anne Harper.

In 1927, Anne was a recently married woman of 22, and she and her husband were renting rooms from an elderly couple on Elm Street. The house in which they lived was a quaint, narrow, salt-box Victorian that was pleasant to look upon and to live within.

The elderly couple had inherited the home from the sister’s brother, and they had only been living in the building for three years. As part of the rent agreement, Anne assisted with the basic cleaning of the home. She did this willingly and with genuine joy as she and their landlords got along quite well.

On January 4, 1927, Anne and the landlady discovered a previously unknown hidden door beneath the staircase. The door, cunningly disguised behind a raised piece of paneling, opened onto a dark cupboard. Not surprisingly, the cupboard smelled of dust and slightly of mildew. Since Anne was far younger than her landlady, Anne volunteered to go into the cupboard to see what was within.

No sooner had Anne’s head entered the shadows than she let out a scream of pure terror.

Fear lent strength to the landlady’s old frame, and in less than five seconds she dragged Anne free of the cupboard and kicked the door closed.

A moment later, the door vanished, and Anne neither spoke nor made eye contact with anyone again.

She is currently in the State Sanitarium, looking at the ceiling with same vacant stare her photograph records.

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January 3, 1948

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Within the depths of the Cross Historical Society, there is a long, narrow room, filled with glass fronted cabinets. The room lacks a window, and only the members of the society know where the room itself is within the confines of the building.

Each member holds a copy of the key to lock the door from within the room, but only three hold keys to allow entry. One of them is Duncan Blood, for he was the first to request the room’s construction, and the specific cabinets it holds.

Within each cabinet, on glass shelves and illuminated by powerful lights, are creatures not quite living, not quite dead.

They are in a deep sleep, and they are old and ancient. Small, feral beasts with a taste for human flesh, and not quite of this world.

The animals have a taste for human flesh, and the Society members discovered that the creatures were unkillable, but they could be set to sleep, by the right person.

This right person, Duncan Blood discovered, was Antony Ciccolo.

Antony was the son of Angela Ciccolo, who had helped Duncan rid Cross of a violent and murderous fairy 40 years earlier.

So, on January 3, 1948, Antony made a small, glass-faced cabinet. He crafted the piece from hearts of ash, hand beaten iron hinges and leaded glass. When Antony helped Duncan place the screaming, writhing beast within the confines of the cabinet and closed the door, the creature sank to the bottom in an immediate and thorough sleep.

For the next 19 years, Antony continued to work on the cabinets, until the room was filled with them. When asked, only months before his death at the age of 93, what his finest piece of work was, Antony, smiled and said, “Nothing you will ever see.”

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January 2, 1923

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Time is fluid.

Not only is it fluid, but it is a river, from which a person – or persons – might emerge at any given point, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

In 1923, Samuel Hitchcock was expecting his brother James and James’ family to arrive sometime during the morning of January 1. When his brother didn’t appear as scheduled, Samuel didn’t worry.

James’ family consisted of his wife, Caroline, and their three young children, all boys, and they were traveling from Worcester, Massachusetts, a fact which could lead to unplanned for delays.

Samuel did begin to worry when there was no word from James, and no sign of the family either. Inquiries were made on his behalf by the Worcester Police Department, but James’ home was empty, and neighbors reported that the family had left early on the first, as planned.

At dawn on January 2, 1923, Samuel set out to follow the route his brother normally took to and from Cross. The route led down past Duncan Blood’s farm and cut through the wide, unclaimed expanse known as Gods’ Hollow.

It was there that Samuel found James and his family, or rather, what remained of them.

They had been stripped bare and hacked to pieces, their clothing and belongings piled haphazardly nearly a quarter of a mile from the bodies. Hoofprints were visible in the frost-heaved ground, and among James’ possessions was the new camera Samuel had sent him as a Christmas present.

Later, when the film was developed, the last image was not of James’ family, but of a group of riders charging across Gods’ Hollow.

Riders with their sabers raised.

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January 1, 1870

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     Scarlet Templesmith was, by all accounts, one of the finest young women to ever grace the streets of Cross. Born in August of 1849, she was a young woman of regal posture and manners by the age of 16. She commanded respect and gave the same, and when she was 20, her marriage prospects were excellent.

     Scarlet was not an individual given to airs, nor was she especially fond of those who were. And while some of the other young ladies in Cross might have their heads turned by a young man in uniform, Scarlet required a bit more substance in any man who might wish to gain her permission to marry.

     Joseph Dower believed he was such a man. Invalided out of the Federal service to a due to a wound received in battle, Joseph felt as though Scarlet should marry him, and he made no effort to hide his belief.

     Scarlet rejected his advances, and Joseph assured all he met that she would change her mind.

     She did not, and her parents found her dead in their garden the next day. Scarlett had been strangled, and the main suspect was Joseph Dower, yet the Templesmiths did not have him questioned.

     Instead, the Templesmiths built a small mausoleum for their daughter, and when it was finished, Mr. Templesmith and several other gentlemen kidnapped Joseph.

     On January 1, 1870, they brought him to the mausoleum, where he was chained and wed to Scarlet’s corpse. Despite his begging, screaming, and pleading, Joseph was locked inside with his bride.

     His new in-laws brought him food three times a day, for 292 days, when he finally managed to kill himself.

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