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February 15, 1931

Imelda Mae was a brilliant artist.

She was one of the few female artists invited to teach at the Cross branch of Miskatonic University.

Her use of colors and space on her canvases was a wonder to behold. There were times when viewers felt as though they could reach out and touch her subjects, whether those subjects happened to be still-lifes or – her preferred – the portraits of children.

While Imelda was unmarried and childless, she was able to draw upon a deep, maternal vein within herself. From there she painted with a poignancy few could match.

Imelda’s private studio was in an old barn off Northwood Road, a road often traveled, but one that had only a few homes upon it.

At all hours of the day and night, she could be found working in her studio, one canvas or another in the process of being completed. Imelda never minded an interruption, nor did she ever turn away a hungry guest or inquisitive student. She always showed any who asked how she went about preparing her paints and cleaning her brushes, the best way to use light to draw out the subtle nuances of a piece of still life.

Imelda Mae was one of the university’s finest acquisitions in the art department, and she blended in seamlessly with the other staff members.

It was shocking to all, then, that Imelda vanished on February 15th, 1931.

Concerned that she might have injured herself, several of her students hurried over to her home and never recovered from what they witnessed there.

In a room over her studio, they found where Imelda mixed her paints, and what she mixed them with.

Ground bones were in a small mortar and pestle while blood was carefully gathered into sealed containers.

The half-finished portrait of a child stood by her work table. On the floor was a pile of bloody children’s clothes, which matched those upon her painted subject.

On the counter was a small index card which read, Nathan, age 5, taken in Boston.

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February 14, 1940

Love is a dangerous emotion.

Lincoln Verne could readily testify to that fact.

Born in 1919 on March 3rd, Lincoln was undeniably the most handsome man in Cross. In addition to his good looks, Lincoln was genuinely pleasant and mild-mannered. He had literally given the shirt off his back to a man in need, and he would cheerfully do so again.

It was with some disappointment, then, that the young ladies – and some of the older ones – received the news that Lincoln had found himself a beau. Who the mysterious woman was no one knew, all they did know was that he was completely and utterly enamored with her.

At the end of January 1940, Lincoln began preparations. He intended to propose to his beloved on her birthday, February 14th. He purchased a ring and a gold necklace to celebrate her birthday.

On February 14th, he greeted the early morning train from Boston, where a young woman, clad all in white, walked arm and arm with him to his small apartment above Von Epp’s Books.

Shortly after lunch, the young woman was seen leaving the building and returning to the train station.

Once the train had departed, several customers and one of the clerks in Von Epp’s heard a moaning sound from Lincoln’s rooms. Concerned, they went up the back stairs and found the doorway open.

Lincoln was at his table, the gifts spread out before him, and a look of horror on his face.

Not only had she refused his proposal, but she had stolen his youth.

According to Lincoln, she had said no, and then gave him a conciliatory kiss. When their lips met, he felt his energy drain from him, and within minutes he was left exhausted and defeated.

When Lincoln was later examined by the doctor, that esteemed physician stated that Lincoln was no longer a youth of 20, but an old man of at least 92.

Lincoln lived long enough to see his 22nd birthday, and a beautiful young woman in white attended the burial.

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February 13, 1913

The fog hides many sins.

What particular sin emerged from the depths of Cross on February 13, 1913, is still unknown. The damage it caused is a matter of history.

At 1:13 PM, the Boston & Maine southbound train came in for its final turn towards Cross station. It did so through a long, deep fog that enveloped the entire town. Residents and survivors recalled hearing the train’s whistle as it alerted Cross of its imminent arrival. Several seconds later, an answering whistle pierced the fog, and then the earth shook.

A hideous explosion filled the air, and sudden silence that followed was shattered by the screams and shrieks of the injured.

Three of the train’s cars were knocked off the track, scattering both the living and dead. The train’s engine was stopped on the track, the front of its tank smashed in as if a giant fist had been driven through the iron.

Neither the engineer nor the fireman could be questioned; they were both dead, necks broken by the impact. The brakeman was found a day later, his body shattered and hanging in the topmost branches of a pine tree.

Several children were never found, and while it is the belief of most that their bodies were pulverized in the wreck, there are others who would argue the point.

Around the train were deep impressions, as if some tremendous bull had stalked around it in the fog. Even some of the trees bore gouges, far higher than any bull could reach.

One or two have whispered that it was a minotaur that derailed the train and thus stole away some of the children.

Few people doubt the veracity of the latter statement, but in June of 2018, the bones of three children were discovered in a cave on the edge of Gods’ Hollow. Above the remains, a single word was carved in ancient Greek: Minos.

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February 12, 1850

Duncan Blood.

This is perhaps the earliest known photograph of Duncan Blood, taken on February 12, 1850, after successfully enlisting in the New York Infantry.

Duncan Blood is a fighting man. Not only does he enjoy the martial aspects of life, but he excels in them.

He has fought in nearly every war that America has fought, both as a nation and as a colony of the British. Duncan killed his share of Huron’s in the wilds of Canada during the French and Indian War, and he waded through pools of blood at Gettysburg. In Europe, Duncan fought the Germans in both world wars, and it is rumored he may have traveled to Korea and Vietnam to fight in those countries as well.

All the bitter, brutal skills he brings to combat against his fellow men, however, were honed on the beasts and creatures that have attacked Cross.

He is as deft with a blade as he is with a gun, and there is a rumor, among the older folk, that he has done terrible things with hatchets as well.

When Duncan joined the New York Infantry in 1850, it was to seek vengeance on a Wendigo that had ravaged part of the Massachusetts volunteers who had fought in the War of 1812. He had tracked it to NY, and with the infantry unit to mask his scent, he moved into the deep parts of that state.

Near Lake George, Duncan slipped away from his unit (later claiming to have gotten lost during a storm) and found the Wendigo’s cave. The battle lasted for three days, and when it ended, Duncan Blood burned the corpse and stitched up his own wounds. Duncan served for another four years with the New York Infantry, before returning home.

He bears the scars of the Wendigo’s teeth upon his stomach still.

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February 11, 1925

Cross breeds survivors.

There is no other way to put it.

Dark and fell creatures emerge, trying the intellect and strength of the townsfolk. Some people survive the experience; others do not.

Ian Dylan survived.

Born in 1880, Ian left his home in Cross at the age of 15 and traveled the world. Eventually, he returned to Cross, working as a cook.

On the rare occasion when out-of-towners arrived to hunt some tract of land or hike the wilderness, Ian Dylan would be called upon to cook their food for them. He was a master of creating dishes from what seemed to be nothing more than wild herbs and whatever was brought into the camp.

On February 11, 1925, Ian was with members of the Wheeler family at their basecamp near the edge of Gods’ Hollow. The elder sons and fathers had gone off to hunt for dinner, leaving the younger boys with Ian. Ian had cooked for the Wheelers in the past, so they were familiar with him, and they trusted him.

An act for which the boys’ mothers were eternally grateful.

At five in the evening, when the hunters had yet to return, Ian gathered the younger boys – ten in all – to him, and he spoke of his life to keep them entertained.

It wasn’t until seven that the first of the fathers returned, and he came back dead.

The man’s throat was slashed, and his lips were a bright red, and when he saw the boys, he charged straight toward them.

Ian removed the father’s head with a cleaver, and before the body hit the forest floor, the rest of the hunting party arrived.

For nearly an hour, Ian fought the undead members of the Wheeler family, beating them back and removing heads whenever possible. By dawn, only he and the boys remained.

The fathers and elder sons, all of them, were dead.

Ian Dylan’s body is buried in the private graveyard of the Wheeler family, and it bears a single inscription.

Protector.

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February 10, Of Every Year

It is the little place of waiting.

Less than one hundred feet down Duncan Blood’s driveway, on the left-hand side, the building stands. It is small and unobtrusive, easy to miss if you’re in a hurry to meet up with Duncan for a bit of his homemade peach brandy, or even stronger apple schnapps.

But the building is there, and there are a few in Cross who know of it.

The little place of waiting has existed since the early 1800s, although there is no exact documentation as to when the building was constructed. Duncan knows, of course, but like with so many other subjects, he refuses to speak of it.

Those who need to wait, wait. Those who do not, well, they do not.

Waiting, as the song says, is the hardest part, and those who sit in the little place of waiting know this better than anyone else.

They wait for the missing to return.

And sometimes, in Cross, they do.

The first such person to reappear in Cross after vanishing was Raelynn Crowell, who – at age 8 – disappeared from her front yard in 1846.

Three years later, without having aged a day and wearing the same clothes in which she had gone missing, Raelynn knocked on Duncan’s door on February 10th, 1849. Her only memory was of opening her front door and stepping out onto Duncan’s property.

Five years after, a second lost individual reappeared, and two years after that, a third. There is no rhyme or reason as to who returns, or how long they have been gone.

The only constants are the date, February 10, and those waiting for the return of their missing.

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February 9, 1915

Who knows true hunger?

Often, we hear people complain that there is nothing to eat when what they really mean is that there is nothing they want to eat.

Young Angelica Spellman discovered the difference.

Pictured here, to the right of her cousin Michael, and between her cousin Elizabeth and aunt Marianne, Angelica was a humanitarian.

On January 5th of 1915, a rare and freakish snowstorm descended upon Cross. Within a matter of 20 hours, two feet of snow was deposited upon the town. Angelica and her family took decisive action, volunteering to deliver food to people they knew to be trapped in their homes.

With the sun shining brightly, and not a cloud in sight, they set off for the farthest houses first. Before the noon, however, the sky darkened, and another storm swept over the town. For 37 hours the storm raged, and there was no sign of Angelica or her kin.

Teams went out searching for them, exploring all the routes which they could have taken to the distant houses, yet there was no sign of them.

It was with regret that the townsfolk called off the search.

On February 9th, smoke was seen rising from a small copse of trees in Gods’ Hollow and Duncan Blood went out to see what the cause of it was.

He found Angelica Spellman and the remains of Michael, Elizabeth, and Marianne. Angelica was thin, hardly more than skin and bones. She was wrapped in the clothes of her kinfolk, the bones of which were broken and scattered about the small shelter they had found in a shallow valley.

Angelica explained how it never stopped snowing in Gods’ Hollow. There was no sun, no moon. Nothing except snow and darkness. The food ran out swiftly, and Marianne was the first to die. Elizabeth was the next, and then Michael.

When asked how she had survived for so long, Elizabeth smiled and replied, “I saved a bit of each of them for later.”

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