Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: Unknown

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The unknown is far worse than the known. As the saying goes, better the devil you know than the demon you don’t.

Rare are the times in which I find myself afraid. June 17 has, unfortunately, been added to that blessedly short list.

On the evening of the 16th, I found a trio of my sheep butchered. The meat was still there, as were the choicer bits. The animals had simply been killed out of hand, and brutally so. Their throats were torn, and the creatures dragged about as they bled.

They were tortured to death.

The beast which killed them left behind a trial of cloven hooves as if the thing itself walked upright like a man. Wiry gray hair, the thickness of a sewing needle, was occasionally caught upon the branches of trees, and scat left behind was littered with the bones of small animals.

Near the edge of the Hollow, a short distance from one of the stacks of hay the Broullin brothers had harvested, I saw the creature in the starlight. It had horns like a ram’s, and a snout much the same. The beast didn’t wear any clothing, and its gray fur was matted with blood and filth. When it saw me, the beast howled out a challenge and charged, straight into the barrels of both my Colts.

After it collapsed to the ground, dead, I saw the creature transform, as if some glam was removed from it. I no longer looked upon the beast but upon the form of an unknown man.

I left his body to rot in the morning sun and to feed the ravens who roost in my trees.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #wolves

Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: Werewolves (2)

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I was too late to save them.

When the news came of the attack, I was deep in Gods’ Hollow, and I raced back to the Cross Hospital. All three of the Murray brothers were there, cared for by their sister, Elaine. When I questioned them about the attack, they described a large, vicious she-wolf which came at them. Sometimes it ran on all fours, at other times raced forward on two legs. Each time it attacked, the she-wolf drew blood, with Richard Murray taking the worst of the blows. As the eldest brother, he had thrown himself in front of his brothers, but in the end, it hadn’t mattered.

Finally, after ten of the most harrowing minutes of their lives, the brothers drove the she-wolf off and managed to drag themselves to safety.

It was as the brothers told their story, and Elaine sat by Richard’s side, that I saw what no others would. Knew, what no one else did.

The brothers would turn at the next rising of the full moon, and that the she-wolf would lead their pack.

I called Elaine into the hall and spoke with her, confirming the damage done to her brothers. She told me how Richard had received the brunt of it all, and his injuries needn’t have been so terrible if he had only stepped aside.

She smiled sadly at me, and I put a bullet through her forehead. I did the same for each of her brothers. It was bad enough they were infected. I did not have the heart to tell them it was Elaine who had done it.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #wolves

Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: The Panther

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On June 15, I noticed the two dogs at 11 Elroy Road were missing. The younger son was out and about, calling for them, obviously distressed at their absence. Three days later, at 7 North Road, half a mile from Elroy, all four of the dogs there had vanished.

The process was repeated three more times until a total of twenty-one dogs in all were missing. As with the initial two incidents, there were three days between each. The rhythm struck a chord within me and sent me down into my library to research. When I found what I was looking for, it was already too late for a young man named Eli Watts. He had lived alone at 22 Elroy Road, and there were no more dogs in the area.

I found his remains, and those of all the dogs, in the root cellar of a home last used in 1824. There were two living occupants in the cellar, a cat and a young woman I had recently seen about town. She had gone in and had her portrait done with her cat. A strange thing, to be sure, but Cross is well familiar with the strange and the odd.

The lore I had read told me what she was and why she was dangerous. She was a Panther, and she would sleep for three days, awaken, and call out for her food to come to her.

It always did.

I killed her and her cat, and I locked the door behind me. There was no reason to bring Eli’s half-eaten body home.

The root cellar was as good a grave as any.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #cats

Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: Joro-Gumo

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I had heard of them, of course. The Joro-Gumo of Japan were fearsome creatures. They disguised themselves as beautiful women who loitered on darkened paths and in lonely places. Each sought the company of a man, luring him with promises of sex and decadence, preying upon the weak-willed. Once the creature had her prey at home, she reverted to her natural form, a gigantic spider, which readily feasted upon the men.

While I had heard of them in Japan, I had yet to encounter any in the United States, let alone Cross. But, considering the less than desirable aspects of Gods’ Hollow, I should have known it was only a matter of time before one of them arrived.

I was surprised, however, that a pair of them reached Cross.

They hunted together, and it took me three months – and two missing men – before I found them in their lair.

It required my Colts and fire to put an end to the pair of Joro-Gumo, and I was lucky to find their lair when I did. Among the remains of the missing men and others from out of town, I discovered hundreds of eggs ready to hatch. Some of the spiderlings were strong enough to break free and attack me, inflicting painful bites as I set fire to their home and their mothers’ carcasses.

I killed them all, of course, and to this day, I have an aversion to spiders.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #Japan

Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: Anansi

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It is always difficult to deal with a God. Especially one the likes of Anansi.

He arrived on a warm day, wearing a large coat and smoking a pipe. While he kept a mild smile on his face, there was a glimmer of wickedness and stupendous intelligence in his eyes, which bade me keep my distance.

I was on the front steps of the Cross Historical Society, smoking my own pipe and waiting for a cousin to arrive when Anansi came down the street. He had a baker’s dozen worth of children following him, calling out and squealing at the silly faces and magnificent jokes he told them. A few parents tagged along as well, and it seemed to me that he paid special attention to them.

It wasn’t until he was abreast of the Society that I heard him speak, and knew him for who – and what – he was. When the knowledge crossed my mind, he turned and winked at me, a subtle sign that I would do well not to interfere.

As I said, it is always difficult to deal with a God.

I kept my peace, and I watched and waited as he tempted the parents closer, whispering to the children and eliciting gales of laughter from the young throats. Finally, the parents – none of whom I recognized – stepped into the circle. Anansi let out a cry of triumph and he vanished.

The children clapped and cheered at his magic, and it took them all several minutes to realize the parents were gone.

Why he took them, or where he took them to, is unknown. When he returns to Cross, I’ll have a word with Anansi about the incident, God or not.

I ended up caring for a trio of siblings for the better part of a decade, and I’d like to know if the joke was meant for me or someone else.

Either way, it sure as hell wasn’t funny.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #Anansi

Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: The Clurachan

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There are times when the world of the Fey has interjected itself painfully into our own. Deaths have occurred, firstborn sons have been snatched, and death has run rampant.

June 12 was not one of those occasions.

A Clurachan arrived in Cross sometime shortly after midnight, though I am not really certain as to how or why. Perhaps it heard of the shipment of whiskey. Maybe it was truly a lucky creature.

Regardless as to the how or why, the Clurachan discovered the large shipment of whiskey, and – true to all its kind – fell upon the liquor with great alacrity.

Within the space of six hours, the damned thing drank over $150,000 dollars-worth of whiskey. No mean feat for any creature, let alone one the size of a toddler.

While the shipping company complained greatly about the damage to their reputation – and bars and hotels around the Boston area were distraught – I have to say it was not done without a sense of humor by the Clurachan.

He left behind a note, written in beautiful Gaelic, about the fine aftertaste of the whiskey and the generally pleasant atmosphere of Cross.

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Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: The Seer

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On June 11, I sat in the Cross train station, waiting for the morning train and passing the time with Daniel Starke. When she wandered in from the platform, the room went cold, and the woman stopped and looked at me with her single, blind eye.

She wore a sign labeling her as blind, and beggars permit for New York City. When she spoke, her breath was that of the grave, and her words were the only ones I have heard spoken with death in every syllable.

“Duncan Blood,” she said, “Death comes to Cross today, though it is not for you or yours. Go to your home and wait for Death’s passing.”

I knew her then for a Seer, and since I have never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I took my leave of the station, with Daniel Starke laughing at my foolishness.

The Seer followed me, moving faster and with a surer step than any seeing person could. From behind me, she called out to others, bidding them to hasten home. A few listened, though far more avoided her and refused to acknowledge her warnings.

She remained on Main Street as I went home. I made a strong pot of coffee and waited.

By mid-afternoon, there was a commotion at my door. When I answered it, I found Daniel Starke – bloodied and battered – standing on my porch. The noon train from Lowell had come in, jumped the tracks, and crashed through the Balcom Warehouse. Thirty-nine people were dead and a hundred and seventy missing.

The deathtoll rose by the end of the night.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #train

Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: Hellhound

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It killed three people in the dead-end alley off East Stark Street before I caught up with it.

Hellhounds are notoriously difficult to catch, though far easier to kill. I never learned who summoned the hound, nor to what purpose. If the goal was to sow fear and discord, it failed. I cannot believe that any of the victims were intended as targets, though there may have been something in the dead persons’ past.

Regardless as to the reasons why and what-for, the hellhound came to Cross on a cool June evening. I smelled the beast’s sulfurous stench when I was in the Old Cross Cemetery, paying respects to long-dead friends. There is no mistaking that odor, or what it portends. I rode my horse hard back to the farm, gathered up my Colts, and raced back to the cemetery. The tracks were easy enough to follow – great, smoldering prints of a hound.

When I reached Main Street, I could clearly hear the screams of the victims, and when the wind shifted, I smelled burning human flesh. More screams rose up, and I reached the alley in time to see the hound kill the last of its victims.

I put twelve rounds into the beast’s head and chest, then I reloaded and added another six shots for good measure. When I was done, several members of the Cross Historical Society – those few who know of my age and other, darker things – helped me to drag the hound’s body to the river, where we tumbled it in. For well over a week the water was warmer than normal, but I’ll take a hot river over dead children every time.

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Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: Tatzelwurm

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It struck on the morning of June 9. The MacGregor family was transporting a large shipment of rum along North Road, trying to cut down on time by running close to Gods’ Hollow, despite the known and unknown dangers.

According to Liam MacGregor, the head of the family, the creature attacked shortly after dawn, and it was like nothing they had seen before. The creature was nearly twenty feet in length, perhaps longer, propelling itself forward with a powerful, scaled tail and massive arms. Liam told me the beast looked almost like a snake, except for the fact that it had arms, and instead of a snake’s head, it had a cat’s.

Three of the MacGregor cousins were killed and devoured, as were most of the horses.

It took me the better part of a day, researching the old works in my library, to discover that the only creature which matched the description given was a Tatzelwurm. The beast is native to Sweden, though this counts for little when the Hollow is involved.

Even in the oldest of books, I was unable to find a way to kill it. Either no one had ever tried, or no one had ever succeeded.

I took with me everything I considered practical: my Colts, a silver dagger, and a boar hunting spear on the off chance that such an item might be my last resort.

For a week, I hunted it, without any luck. The Tatzelwurm had vanished. It has yet to reappear, and for that, I am grateful. I still don’t know how to kill it.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #Swiss

Duncan Blood, Journal for 1911: Shifters

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I was fortunate to find him before anyone else did.

It was more a stroke of luck than any great planning or skill upon my part. I merely happened to be traveling along North Road when he came racing out of Gods’ Hollow. His initial form was that of a wolf, then of a bear, and when those did not cause me to falter or flee, he shifted to a man. Armed with rifle and sword, a decorated soldier of the Russian Empire, this Cossack fell upon me and gave me a terrible fight.

Most people believe fights to be long, drawn-out affairs where the combatants are noble individuals.

This is, as far as I am concerned, a romantic and fetid idea.

There is nothing noble about a fight for one’s life. Nor is there anything fair or just in the way it is fought.

He broke two of my fingers when I took hold of his arm, and I gouged out his right eye with my left thumb. It was this, more than anything else, which gave me the advantage. His howls, far more animal than human, echoed off the trees as he let go of me. It was then that I drove my knife first up into the soft underside of his chin, then into his heart. For good measure, I severed his head.

His corpse, I left it rotting in the tree-line. I carried his head a fair distance into Gods’ Hollow and mounted it on a branch to serve as a warning for any more of his kind.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #shapeshifter