August 14, 1954

He is nameless and ageless, a horror to behold.

I came across him this afternoon when exploring a wide farmer’s porch which wraps around one of the many wings. He sat in a rocking chair, lazily moving himself with one foot. I saw the bandage on his head, and I was not certain as to whether he was living or dead.

I still cannot place him.

By all rights, the man should be dead.

I greeted him, but he did not speak. He merely nodded, the bandage about his head fluttered as he moved. The man motioned toward a chair close to him, and I took it, wary of my surroundings and the stranger.

After several minutes of silence, I asked him if he was well. The man smiled and shook his head, pointing toward his bandaged eye.

When I asked him if it was bad, he grinned and turned to face me. I didn’t call for him to stop as he brought his hand to bandage, nor did I bid him let go of it when he grasped the edge.

I lost my voice when he brought the bandage up, and I could observe the wound.

His eye was missing, and there was a barren tunnel which passed through his brain to the back of his skull. I could glimpse the afternoon sun through the filmy gauze of his bandage.

His wound was rough and red, blood trickling out as his mouth moved silently. It took only a moment for me to recognize the words, and I nodded.

He smiled, lowered the gauze, and returned to rocking.

I stood up and left him, his muted words emblazoned in my mind.

Memento Mori.

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August 13, 1954

The air in the room was oppressive, weighing me down as I crossed the threshold. I paused, just inside the doorway, and listened. I heard a faint whisper, but the words were unintelligible. A deep compulsion arose within me, beckoning me forward, enticing me. When I reached the destroyed billiard table, I stopped again.

The words were spoken by a woman. Her voice was sweetness and light, amongst the unknown syllables and consonants, I heard soft, pleading words.

My head began to pound, and my mouth went dry as I moved forward again. Without knowing it, I drew both Colts. When I realized what I had done, I cocked the hammers and walked with stilted steps.

The voice grew louder, the pleading transformed into begging, a note of hideous want within the tones.

When I reached the doorway at the far end, I found her. An old woman, her eyes gouged out, her tongue lolling. Her nostrils flared when I stood before her. The dress she wore was little more than a tattered rag, the skin clinging to her bones was paper-thin and rustled as she moved. She asked me who I was, and I told her, staying out of reach and keeping both pistols leveled on her.

When I asked for her name, she told me.

Lorraine O’Henry.

She begged me to kill her, to free her from her bonds. The children, she told me, had trapped her and imprisoned her.

I asked if she knew Josiah Hauptmann. She flinched at the name, and I holstered my pistols. Her screams followed me out of the room, and I smiled and wished I had a harmonica.

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August 12, 1954

What do you say to a murdered child?

I realize this question is rhetorical. No explanation will ever set the murdered child at ease, nor should it. Some have died quickly. Others have suffered terribly.

Josiah Hauptmann died quickly.

I found him in a playroom. Old and broken toys lay scattered about the floor, a fine layer of dust covering everything. The windows were closed, the dirty glass filtering the sunlight through it. I stood in the doorway and heard the sweet sound of a harmonica. The music faltered, strengthened, then faltered again. While I couldn’t see the musician, I complimented their efforts, and it was then Josiah spoke.

He told me who he was and how he was six. He had learned to play several songs on his harmonica before his father died. When Josiah felt saddened, he would play and think of his father.

Ms. Lorraine didn’t like the harmonica. She especially didn’t like the way Josiah played it. One day, after he had spent most of the morning crying over his father, Josiah had snuck up into the playroom, the only place where he could practice with his instrument.

Ms. Lorraine walked by, heard him, and decided she had endured quite enough music from him.

She struck him hard enough to shatter Josiah’s temple and killed him instantly.

I asked him if he had been saddened when he died.

Josiah had laughed and told me no.

“I played my harmonica in her ear every night for a month,” he told me. “Until she did something bad.”

“What was that?” I asked.

“She threw herself of the roof,” the dead boy whispered. “She forgot that suicide’s a sin.”

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August 11, 1954

I have discovered another room which bothers me.

It was tucked away behind a hidden door in a small parlor. Had the door not been damaged, I never would have discovered this miniature room of horrors.

This room is filled with skulls. Many of which show signs of obvious tampering. From what I have been able to gather, these skulls belonged to patients upon whom the doctors of St. Ann’s conducted experimental brain surgery.

Some of the injuries were inflicted so the doctors could document the ill-effects to various parts of the brain. Others were a result of birth or accident. Many of the victims were injured early in childhood, with the doctors watching and documenting the course of the injuries over decades.

One poor boy was operated on at the age of four, but he didn’t die until he was thirty-three.

There are no ghosts in this room, and for that, I am thankful. The suffering of these victims hangs heavy in the air, and once more, I am filled with a hatred that threatens to burn out my heart.

For the first time, I have discovered the names of doctors and nurses. They are all identified for they evidently believed that what they were doing was of great importance. They wished for their names to be recorded for posterity.

The last dozen or so entries took place a matter of months before the fire, and I wonder if they survived the blaze.

I have taken the ledger which records these names, and when I return to my home, I will begin the long process of tracking these people down.

I believe that when I find them, I shall visit upon them the same injuries they visited upon the children.

My justice is rough, and my guns are quick.

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August 10, 1954

Lucy Zeit told me the room was used for punishment.

I found her when I found the room, although I could not see her. She told me it was for the best as she had been left in the room to die and was, “Not pretty anymore.”

I took the child at her word and didn’t argue the point.

Lucy told me she was thirteen when they locked her in the room, and the last date she remembered was April 3, 1901. She didn’t know how long she lived there, without light or anything else. They fed her occasionally, enough to keep her alive, though only just. I asked her what she had done wrong, and her reply was simple and direct.

“The Dean fancied me. I bit him. They put me here.”

I did not ask where she bit him, but I did congratulate her. I could hear the pride in her voice when she thanked me.

We spoke for a long time. Nearly all the day and well into the night. I asked her if she would like to come with me when I left, and she answered that she would. She told me they had removed her body and burned it to make certain she didn’t return. I asked her how she had managed to remain, she laughed and told me to reach up into the ceiling where the slats were exposed. I did so and was rewarded a moment later when I pulled down a chipped and broken tooth.

I took my wallet out and placed the tooth within it and told her she would come home with me.

She sighed and bestowed a cold and chaste kiss upon my cheek, a simple act which freed my tears.


August 9, 1954

I don’t know what I find more disturbing – the fact that they performed random operations on the children, or that they documented the operations so thoroughly.

I’ve spoken with several deceased children who died on the operating table, and they have brought me down to the operating room. Some of the instruments are still covered in dried blood, and ancient wretched sheets still litter the floor. The children tell me a few of the doctors and nurses remain, dead, it is true, but they are still here. It is my fervent hope that I find them at some point. There are ways to torture even the dead, and I know them all.

I discovered a large cache of photographs focusing on surgery. Some notes are attached, but not many. I have a sickening belief that these doctors and nurses experimented for the sheer joy of the act, and not for any medical reason.

According to the children, the last of the nurses died ten years ago. She had gone quite mad and roamed the halls of the orphanage talking to ghosts who weren’t there, much to the amusement of those who were.

I know how fickle Gods’ Hollow can be, and I can only hope that later in life, I will enter the Hollow when this place is still functioning. Then it will be my pleasure to come into St. Ann’s, strap every doctor and nurse to a gurney, and operate on them without the benefit of an anesthetic.


August 8, 1954

I confess the tunnel gave me cause for alarm.

I discovered the tunnel shortly after dawn, and I went into it well prepared. My Colts were loaded, my pack was on my back, and I entered it with the confidence of three hundred years of combat experience.

It was barely enough.

There were creatures in the tunnel I had never encountered before. Creatures which could absorb the impact and damage of three, .44s before collapsing. These beasts were quick too, remarkably so. It seemed that they used the shadows to move. Not merely as cover as I fired, but to slip into on the left side and reappear on the right, or to attack from behind.

I don’t know how many of them I fought or how many I killed. They took their dead and their wounded with them.

We fought for hours. Most of the time was spent testing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They were not fools. They attacked with precision and an understanding of tactics which I have rarely seen. Several attempted to sacrifice themselves in order to allow their brethren to seize me.

I blew their brains out over the walls of the tunnel.

Finally, in an act of desperation, I took some of my spare clothes and set them on fire, robbing the creatures of the shadows they preferred.

With this reprieve, I was able to retreat and seal off the room I had originally entered in. Soon, I hope I will find the opposite end of the tunnel.

I would hate for the creatures to find me while I slept.

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August 7, 1954

Conversations with the dead are often interesting. This is undeniably true here in this place.

He told me his name was Maddox. Whether it was his first name, last name, or his only name, he didn’t say. I found him wandering outside the building, and when I did, he asked me if my name was Thomas, and if I doubted what I saw. I replied in the negative to both.

We walked back into the building together, and he brought me to his room. It was small and compact, dust-covered and forgotten.

When we had each gotten comfortable, he asked me if I was a soldier. I told him I had been a soldier, a sailor, and a Marine at various times in my life. I told him of how I had fought with the British and against them, and that I had killed more people than I cared to remember.

Maddox had been a Marine, and he had been hit at a place called Belleau Wood in France during the Great War. He didn’t remember what had hit him, only that cool, calm sensation of crashing into the wheat.

When he awoke, he was in the US again, and soon found himself in Cross. He suspected he might have been born in Cross, but I assured him he had not. I knew every person who had been born in Cross since the mid-1600s. Maddox had not been one of them.

He shrugged at the information and then asked if I had ever seen a wound as terrible as his. I told him I had.

He nodded and asked if I had seen worse.

I had.

At that, Maddox smiled, reached his hand into his chest to scratch an itch, and bade me a pleasant goodnight.

I’ve yet to fall asleep because for the life of me I don’t know what in the hell he had to scratch.

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August 6, 1954

I went down to the first sublevel this morning and stayed there far longer than was necessary. The rooms, though, were fascinating and kept me enthralled. I lost track of how many I searched, and how many I stayed out of. There are creatures in some places who would only be irritated by my weapons. I have no desire to see any of these at this time.

With that being said, I explored as many of the rooms as I felt safe to do so, and only one room took me by surprise.

It was on the left-hand side, the third to last door. When I first stepped into it, the room seemed decrepit and run-down. Nothing to worry myself about.

I was wrong.

I had taken only a few steps into the room when the door slammed closed, and I was plunged into darkness. From the corners of the room came the sounds of feet shuffling. The creatures attached to those feet were loud, and I decided not to waste time asking if they would be happy to let me continue on my way.

The malice in the room was palpable.

I heard the nearest beast reach for me, and I opened fire. I shot with my eyes closed, letting decades of street fighting guide my hands. Round after round, I sent into the room, and I heard them slap sickeningly into flesh.

Within minutes, the fight was over, and the door swung open of its own accord.

The surviving residents of room wished me to be on my way.

I obliged them and found a safer place to be.

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August 5, 1954

She entered the room at 7:16 AM, passing through the locked door. The woman was dead, and her ghost was restless.

She was stunning to behold. Truly a vision as she moved across the floor, graceful and elegant. What music she heard I could only guess, for it was music for her damaged ears and for her alone.

My heart ached at the sight of her. Not because of the beauty of her form, but because of what she had suffered before she died.

Blood leaked from both ears, and given the status of her eyes, I suspected she had been deafened. Her eyes were gone. Gouged out holes where nothing but blood remained. When she passed by me, she opened her mouth and smiled, and I saw her tongue was gone as well. Torn out at the root.

Between her breasts was a single knife wound, the hallmark of a long, slim blade. Her death, at least, had been quick.

I like to think she died before the torment, that the marks and mutilations were wrought upon her flesh after the knife to the heart.

But I doubt it. There is too much blood in the ears and where the eyes once were. Too much around the incision between her breasts.

I wonder what crime if any, she committed, and whether it could truly have been deserving.

For three hours, I watched her dance, and then she left as quietly as she had arrived. I suspect I will see her again, and if I do, perhaps it will be to put her to rest.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #asylum #insane