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Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 17, 1890: Memory

The day passed painfully for me.

While we did not encounter any storm, I did spend the time immersed in conversation with my son.

Marcus’ mother was Elizaveta Krova, a Russian who had been my intellectual superior in every way. She was as long-lived as me and our meeting had been by chance in early of 1852 when she was visiting relatives in Boston.

Our time was unfortunately brief and, it seemed, productive.

Marcus had been born in Siberia on November 19, 1852, and his aging reflected his parentage. He showed me a photograph he had of her, one taken in 1901.

When I looked at him, the surprise must have been evident upon my face because he nodded and offered up a stark and bitter explanation to me.

In 1917, in the midst of a horrific war that swept over the world, there had been a revolution in Russia. Groups of soldiers and citizens had risen up against the monarchy and waged a civil war that slaughtered thousands. He and his mother had managed to escape via the port of Archangel, and they had made their way to Cross.

When they arrived in town, they traveled by way of the North Road, heading towards my farm. She knew they would be safe there despite the fact that I was not in Cross at the time.

The North Road took them by Gods’ Hollow, and a storm drove them to take refuge within it. They had no sooner done so than they were attacked by a creature with the body of a man and the head of a wolf. While they managed to fend him off, Elizaveta’s throat was torn out at the end, far more than she could heal from. His mother had died in his arms.

He had been searching for a way out of the Hollow for 37 years.

We walked in silence for a short time, and finally, I asked the question which gnawed at my heart.

“Why didn’t she tell me?”

“She didn’t want you to think I was a burden,” my son replied.

“Family is never a burden.” I handed the photograph of his mother back to him. I did not wish to stain it with my tears.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal

Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 16, 1890: Gifts

The Hollow gives as much as it takes away, for such is the nature of the place. There is neither rhyme nor reason. It is chaos personified, deified, and – in the end – it is a duality that is too terrifying to ponder for long.

This afternoon is a perfect example of the strangeness of the Hollow.

We were moving slowly through a wooded area, the scent of the ocean unmistakable on the breeze now. Isaiah and I were discussing where we should make camp when one of our scouts cried out in surprise, never a pleasant sound in Gods’ Hollow.

Today it was.

Three men approached us, one who was young, the others were older and heavily bearded. When the two older men saw us, they stopped and let out cries of surprise. In a moment, those around me did the same.

The Akatuyians rushed past me en masse and embraced the two older men, and in a heartbeat, I knew why.

I was looking upon Bram and Aron, the two men who had been slain, buried, and devoured before our eyes.

Yet they were not the same. These men were obviously older, and we had witnessed their deaths only a few days before. When we sat down to break our fast and enjoy our meager meal, they told us their tale after we told them of how recently they had died.

They shook their heads and marveled at the difference between worlds.

For them, it had been nine years since the day of the women in white. And it had been the rest of us, myself included, who had been captured and slain by the women. They had tried to save us, Bram going so far as to strip my Colts from my corpse and firing them – a truth he confirmed when he unwrapped them from his bedroll – and when that did not work, they had fled.

During all this time, the young man remained silent. I had watched him and saw there was a strange familiarity about him.

Bram nodded, and the young man straightened up, offering me his hand.

“I am Marcus Blood,” he informed me as we shook hands, “and I am your son.”

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal

Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 15, 1890: The Family

This morning I could smell the ocean on the breeze, and it sent a thrill through me. A man named Alexi caught the scent as well, and before any of us could stop him, he took off at a run from our camp.

Several of the others laughed and called for us to leave him be, that he would return soon enough, and, like any of us, he would not wander far.

I was surprised. Had we not already learned that we didn’t have to wander far to find death in the Hollow?

I got to my feet, and as I strapped on my guns, the crack of a rifle rang out through the air, shattering the peace of the morning.

Before any of the others reacted, I raced towards the sound. Unlike my comrades, I was able to heal quickly from injuries, and so I took it upon myself to find Alexi.

It took far longer than it should have to find the source of the rifle shot, but find it I did.

A small home with a thatched roof stood off to one side of a narrow road while fields divided by split-rail fences stretched out around it. I saw a family seated at a table, one man playing a small balalaika while another served tea from a samovar.

The wind shifted, and I smell strong tea and cooking meat, and I knew what had happened to Alexi.

The barrel of a rifle appeared from the window, and I drew my Colts and the fight that followed was short and brutal, and I gut shot the survivors as I passed them by.

I entered the house and found Alexi on his back. He had been gutted, and a section of his haunches was missing while a pot boiled over a fire. I gathered what material I deemed salvageable and then set fire to the home.

As I walked away from the burning building, I realized I would need to reload the brass shells for my Colts.

I paused a short distance away as the wind shifted, bringing me the scent of the ocean once again. Behind me, the house burned, and the wounded screamed.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal

Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 14, 1890: Music-Man

When the snow settled, we found ourselves in the midst of an abandoned town. Rocky hills surrounded the buildings and scrub trees grew between them. There was pure silence around us. A silence undisturbed by neither insects nor animals.

Some of my new friends were still shaken by what we had witnessed the day prior when Bram and Aron suffered their obscene fates.

We were not a curious group, not after what we had survived in the Hollow thus far, and so we set up a small camp in the center of the dirt and dust road. Our meager lunch was eaten in the oppressive silence, and we sat in what little shade we could find.

After a short time, I stood up and walked among the Akatuyians, seeing how they fared with the long traveling. I could feel the tug of home deep in my gut, yet I suspected we were some distance away.

It was as I thought of this that the first strains of music reached our ears.

The sound was high pitched, as though it came from some sort of flute, and a moment later, we saw that it was.

A musician walked out a slim alley up and to our left, a flute to what had once been his face. As he strolled towards us, he played a lilting tune, one which belied his ravaged flesh. When he was a short distance away, I drew my Colts and waited to see what horror he would attempt to visit upon us.

He came to a stop and lowered his flute.

“You’re a Duncan.” The man’s voice was as pleasant as the tune he had been playing.

“I am,” I replied. “Have you a message?”

The musician shook his head and laughed. “No. I am music, though your mother would have had it otherwise. She disagreed with my playing and sought to teach me a lesson.”

He gestured to his face.

“Did she?” I asked.

“No.” He raised the flute to his ruined mouth, turned, and left the way he had come, the music filling the air.

The Hollow is a hell of a place and the wreckage left by my mother is the saddest I have seen.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal

Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 13, 1890: Planting

I will freely admit that I have been afraid on more than one occasion in my long life. I am a stubborn man, and I will push through the pain of bullet wounds and grapeshot. I have killed a man with his own knife after he buried it in my groin, and I have killed men, women, and children in my time.

This morning, I discovered a new fear, and it is one I am still not quite certain of.

We came upon the women shortly after sunrise as we continued our trek towards some sort of exit from Gods’ Hollow. Bram called to the women, but they did not answer. He and Aron advanced with their weapons at the ready, but the women still paid them no heed. Bram turned back to me, to see what he should do, and the women struck.

They lashed out with their tools and killed each man, and while each of my bullets found a mark, the women were unaffected. We watched in horror as the women dragged the corpses of our friends to them, dug a pair of graves faster than any I have seen dug before, and planted the men.

Within moments, the ground rumbled and roiled, as though the earth was boiling. Geysers of blood exploded from the ground and screams accompanied each eruption. The women’s clothes were doused as a pair of trees sprang forth.

In the pale, sickly bark, I saw first Bram’s face, then Aron’s, sockets empty of eyes, mouths empty of teeth. The shrieks which emanated from the mutations sent us staggering backward and the women launched themselves at the trees. They sank their teeth into the fleshy bark and ate and drank.

I shot each tree repeatedly, but whether the bullets or the voracious appetites of the women killed them, I do not know.

With the trees silent, the women continued to feed, and the Akatuyians and I sought a different path towards home.

The sucking sounds of the killers followed us as we fled, and it is a sound – like the screams of my friends – I shall never forget.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal

Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 12, 1890: A Mother’s Love

My wounds from the previous day had healed, and I was angrier with my mother than usual. Yes, I had killed her in my youth, but which of her did I kill?

Gods’ Hollow had already revealed that it was the nexus of an apparently infinite number of realities, realities in which I did not necessarily survive.

As we walked, I reflected upon the eccentricities of my mother when I was a boy. There were times when she would come home with different clothes on than when she left. When she spoke with an accent when she had none before. They did not strike me as odd when I was a child. Why should they? I knew few other mothers, and so I assumed that all were the same behind closed doors.

Was the mother I killed my own birth mother? Had my own birth mother ever returned from a trip to the Hollow? Why did she go there in the first place? From my earliest years, my father warned me to stay away from it, and I did my best to heed his warnings.

All these thoughts troubled me until we prepared to find a camp. Whilst looking for one, we discovered a watchtower, long abandoned.

I climbed the ladder up into it and saw a small icon, the face in it causing me to hesitate before advancing any further.

I found myself looking upon the stylized image of my mother, the arched case around the painting faded and notched a thousand times.

Below the image, there was a legend written in several languages I could read, and others I could not.

What I read was simple and direct.

Mark Here, Mistress Blood, and Kill Your Son.

For a moment, I sat and considered the statement. Then, smiling, I took out my own penknife and carved an inscription of my own.

I’ll kill you all, Mother.

I pricked the tip of my thumb, spread the blood around the pad of it, and then sealed my words with an oath.

“Yes, Mother,” I whispered. “I will kill you all.”

And humming, I climbed down from the tower.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal

Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 11, 1890: Stupidity

We posted guards. We checked the perimeter. We even poled the edges of the water before we allowed ourselves the luxury of drinking.

I did not go with the first group to slake my thirst. Instead, I backtracked a ways to make sure we hadn’t been followed through the storms of the morning. Finally, satisfied, I went to the small pool, knelt at the water’s edge, and as I leaned in to scoop the water up to drink, I heard the sharp bark of a rifle and the slamming of a round into my left arm.

It was a through and through shot. Painful as all hell, but nothing I hadn’t experienced before.

My friends dragged me back as everyone took cover, and they called out to one another as they tried to pinpoint where the shot had come from.

None of them could tell. Whoever the shooter was, they had a perfect hiding place in the underbrush, one which enabled them to conceal the muzzle flash as well.

After several tense moments, Bram decided to risk his life in an attempt to get the shooter to reveal himself. So, despite my furious disagreement, Bram stood and stepped out from his cover.

Nothing happened.

Not even a warning shot was fired.

Several others stood up, weapons ready, and they too were unmolested.

A sigh of relief rippled through the Akatuyians, and I stood up only to have a second round put through my right shoulder.

If my words could kill, my assailant would have died.

As it was, everyone took cover again, and then, as I peered out over the water, I saw the slim shape of a young man rise up. He was unarmed, but a moment later, he let me know he was the shooter.

“This is my water, Duncan Blood. You cannot drink from it.” His voice trembled, hovering on the edge of adulthood and thick with emotion. “If I do, our mother will poison the water and force me to drink of it. Your friends may have their fill, but you may not.”

He disappeared a moment later, and all looked to me.

I shrugged, painfully, and said, “What the hell. Drink up.”

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal