Stories from the Sentinel: 1859


From the Hollow, he came, and to the Hollow, he returned.

He called himself Choctaw, and whether he was of that tribe or the entirety of that tribe’s essence condensed into a single man, I’ll never know.

He came out of the Hollow in the middle of a thunderstorm. Lightning tore furrows in the earth and set the world ablaze. Thunder shook the buildings, and the rain smashed in roofs.

But Choc was untouched by all of it. Not a single drop of water had the audacity to strike him. The wind did not dare to push a strand of hair out of place.

When it came to writing, Choc’s specialty was women.

If there was a story with a woman in it, he was the one sent to have a chat with her. It didn’t matter if she was attractive or ugly, thick, or thin. All responded to Choc.

He never took advantage of a single one. Instead, he brought each into his confidence and learned the truth behind their stories. As they told their histories, the memories of the events faded. Soon, there was no one who believed the event occurred. This allowed him to write something reasonable in the paper.

Mrs. Collins’ prized dog was not carried off by a Naiad. No, according to Choc, the dog had slipped on a bit of wet rock, struck its head, and vanished beneath the sometimes turbulent waters of the Cross River.

In 1859, after Chock had been in town for several years, he asked me to go for a walk. I agreed, and the two of us strolled along until we came to the Hollow.

“Time for me to go,” Choc told me. “There are people that need killing.”

I nodded in understanding.

“One of them’s a relative, Duncan,” Choc continued. “Will you bear me, ill-will?”

“No,” I answered. “There’s a great many of us who need killing.”

Choc smiled, nodded, and whispered in my ear.

What he said I don’t know, but I sure as hell hope that it wasn’t important. Though, knowing the man, it probably was.

Stories from the Sentinel: 1856


She was patient, quiet, and a hell of a fighter.

None of it did her any good.

Samantha Rudnick was a woman who could write, shoot, ride and fight better than most men I knew, and in the middle of the 19th century, that was saying a hell of a lot.

She took to the Cross Sentinel when she was twenty-one, shortly after something from the Hollow came out and ate her husband and their two-year-old daughter.

There wasn’t a story Sam shied away from, nor was there anything she was afraid of.

She should have been.

In 1856, Sam was called out to the Coffin Farm to have a chat about the disappearance of a hired hand. Now, a young man running off wasn’t any big deal. When a young man leaves without his wages, belongings, or his shoes, well, that’s a different story.

Sam went out there to get her head around the story, as it were, and to make sure she knew how much to hide and what to lie about before she went back to the newspaper to write up her copy for the following day’s edition.

According to the Coffin family, she did just that, and then she went out to the young man’s bunk to see what she could.

It was a bad decision.

I arrived at the farm as she was crossing the back yard to the small bunkhouse, and she paused long enough to call out and wave to me. I waved in return, and I saw her die.

Whatever had gotten the young man had come back for seconds.

It was a great, monstrous beast that sprang out of the open doorway, and by the time my guns cleared their holsters, she was dead. My Colts roared, the bullets smashing into the creature’s bulbous eyes as it reared back. A spray of blood clouded the air, and Sam’s lower half, remained standing, the rest of her gone into the creature’s gullet.

It vanished before I could finish it off.

We searched for two hours before we found the damned thing. It was half-hidden beneath a beaver lodge.

Turns out, it had choked to death on Sam’s upper half.

#paranormal #monsters

Stories from the Sentinel: 1844


Most of them died well, if badly.

Marcus Forthright was a man I had known since his mother gave birth to him in our stable. His parents had taken shelter with us in 1796, and a hell of a storm kicked up. The dead were active in the main house, so my father had me keep them company in the stable.

Mr. and Mrs. Forthright didn’t care so long as they were out of the elements.

Well, long before dawn, Marcus entered the world, and I kept my eye on him. I felt as though I was his older brother, and despite my lack of significant aging, I always played that role with him.

In August of 1814, both his parents were killed by a lycanthrope. The beast had been human when they found it, wounded, and mauled from an attack. They took it in, cared for it, and nursed it back to health, never knowing its true nature.

They learned soon enough.

Marcus was fortunate enough to be out of the house when the attack happened, but it nearly cost him his freedom. When his parents’ bodies were discovered by a relative visiting from Boston, the werewolf had returned to the Hollow, and a judge was sent for to see about Marcus’ guilt. Fortunately for him, Marcus had been with me, and despite my youthful appearance, my word carried weight in town.

Marcus realized how he had been to swinging from the gallows, and he disliked the attention the town had received due to his parents’ killings. He decided the best option was to create a newspaper, one that could, in his words, control the flow of information. He would help transform the truth into rumor and to keep the town as safe from the outside world as possible.

Marcus thus founded the Cross Sentinel Newspaper, and its motto was created in honor of his parents: Nulla Re Bona Impunita.

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

It is a sad and bitter truth.



He was an interruption.

The man stood, air rushing in and out of the wreckage of his face. Beyond him lay the path home, and I was ill-tempered at being delayed. As I came to a stop before him, he reached behind his back and retrieved a long, bone-handle skinning knife.

When he spoke, his words were low and long, the syllables slipping away from him but clear enough to understand.

“You can’t go home, Blood.”

I’ve an issue with pronouncements. Especially when they involve me.

“You’d best step aside,” I told him, dropping my hands to the butts of the Colts. “I plan on having coffee in my own parlor tonight.”

The man laughed and shook his head. “I’ve come to collect your tongue. Your mother’s request.”


“You are not the first Blood I’ve dealt with,” he told me, shifting the knife from one hand to the other, the movements lazy and casual.

“That how your face got so pretty?” I inquired.

If he could have sneered, he would have. “A lucky shot. I took his tongue. And the tongues of those before him as well.”

“And you aim to take mine as a gift for my mother.”

He nodded and sank into a fighting crouch. “I am quicker than you can ever hope, Blood.”

“Maybe you are.”

I drew both Colts and fired from the hip as he sprang toward me.

I wasn’t aiming at his face or his chest.

Instead, I shot for the hands. His skill with a blade was obvious, and I suspected he might try to switch the knife from one hand to the other in mid-leap.

One slug tore his left hand off at the wrist, the other shattered the knife, sending steel spinning into his chest and his ruined mouth.

He gagged on his own blood as he fell backward and to the side, trying to cradle his damaged arm to his chest.

There was no point.

I shot him in both ankles and then both knees. The pain pinned him to the ground, his shattered joints denying him the ability to flee.

I stepped closer as he held up his good hand, blood spurting from the left wrist. He muttered a word vaguely similar to mercy.

But I had none.

I aimed at his belly and put two more rounds in his guts. Then, as he writhed on the ground, I sat down.

I had plenty of time to watch him die.

Room Five


I used the Colts.

When I stepped into the fifth room, I found myself in an operating theater, looking down onto the surgical floor. The men gathered around the patient may have been doctors. They might have been professors.

They were not of my time, and I doubt they were of my world.

Their clothes had gone out of fashion around the turn of the century, and the men appeared to be stiff and uncomfortable in them.

They were far better off than the man on the gurney, however.

He was dead.

Of that, I had no doubt.

A man stood at the head of the gurney, leaning over it and the patient and extracting a pair of hellishly long needles from the patient’s neck. There was no blood flow from the exit wound. His chest did not rise, nor did it fall. The patient lay unmoving. As I watched, a man clad only in a vest reached under the gurney and retrieved a large metal container.

“This will keep the blood warm,” the man with the vest stated. “Not as fresh as if you were to drink it directly from him, but enough to stave off any hunger should you find yourself in a place where you cannot feed.”

A tall man nodded and smiled and allowed me to catch a glimpse of the fangs in his mouth.

I’ve never been a fan of vampires.

I find little reason to suffer their existence.

The Colts cleared leather, and the vampires heard it. I saw surprise and concern flash across their faces, only to be replaced with relaxed smiles.

All save one vampire.

He stood next to the man in the vest, and his undead eyes widened.

“He’s a Blood,” the vampire stated.

My Colts thundered and confirmed my name.

The vampires tried to jump toward me, but the revolvers roared in my hands. Brains rained upon the men, and the vampires collapsed. The doctors tried to run, and I gunned them down before jumping into the chamber. On a side table, I found a chest cracker, and I set about my task.

It was a hard and bloody chore, but I sang while I worked, pausing occasionally to shoot again when a vampire struggled to rise.

Soon, I had a pile of hearts and a pile of heads. I washed, lit my pipe, and then found a hacksaw.

It was time for the arms and legs.

Room Four


The heat weighed down upon me.

I entered a hothouse and heard soft voices speaking somewhere among the plants. I heard someone begging as well.

Around me, stacked high on raised platforms, plants of various species stretched out toward the sunlight funneled down to them. The hot air was thick with moisture, and I wondered how anyone could bear to be in the room.

I made my way toward the voices.

As I did so, the broad leaves of the plants turned to me, quivering and rustling with each step I took.

The begging became a low, piteous moan.

“Alfred,” a man demanded. “What have I told you about the moaning?”

The noise increased.

“Alfred,” the man snapped. “I’ll have David trim something painful if you don’t stop.”

I rounded the corner and came upon a pair of men. They had their backs to me, and they wore gardeners’ garb. In a raised bed in front of them was a man. Or what was left of a man.

I could make out most of his skull, a good portion of his chest, and half of his right arm. Vines had burrowed into his flesh, and there was little humanity left in his face. It was, for the most part, a writhing mass of roots. Alfred’s eyes were gone, as were his ears and his nose. The few remaining fingers on his right hand twitched, the movement sending ripples through the plants around him.

“There are still a few more nerves we can poke and prod,” the man on the left stated. “I’m certain David would be happy to assist, seeing as how his beau left him for you.”

“She still cries, wondering where you are,” David stated, snickering. “I’ve been consoling her. She’s quite malleable when she’s had a few drinks, Alfred. Did you know that?”

I suspect David planned on saying more to him, but I slipped the pruning knife into his lung.

The older man looked at me with horror, frozen in place by fear. I let David fall to the floor.

“Where’s the boy?” I asked.

The man hissed, “The last place you’ll look.”

A root whipped past me and wrapped around his throat. I watched as he clawed at it, tearing his own throat with his nails.

It takes a man a long time to die when he’s being strangled, and Alfred took his time.

I’d have made it last, too.

New Ebook and Paperback Coming!


Here’s a sample of Duncan’s newest journal to be released.

They were fools.

Mankind likes killing too much to ever end war.

We excel at it. We attempt, with each passing year, to perfect the art of war while knowing full well that someone else is doing the same thing.

Does this deter us from fighting? No.

Will it ever? I doubt it.

Some prefer peace to war, negotiation to violence. In my long life, however, I have discovered that those who prefer negotiation are far outnumbered by those who would choose violence.

I am one of those who would choose violence.

I have killed a great many people and creatures in my life. I suspect that I shall continue to do so right up until the day I die, whenever that might occur.

I fought in terrible battles before the Great War, and I fought in terrible battles after.

None of them, however, could compare to those four years I spent in Europe.

Oh, I got home on occasion. I traveled dark paths to check on Cross and to make sure Gods’ Hollow was behaving itself. But for most of the years between 1914 and 1918, I was in Europe. Belgium, France, even Germany at times. Not only did I fight the Germans and the Austrians, but other things as well.

The violence wrought upon Europe woke up ancient creatures. Artillery tore open gateways to new worlds and invited monstrous entities into the carnage of the Western Front. By the end of the war, I was spending more time hunting these beasts than I was fighting anything human.

I kept several journals during the war, and here, in this small book, you’ll find some of the more interesting entries from those journals.

A few are about people. Plain old men and women conducting themselves in terrible ways. Some justified, most not.

The majority of entries, however, are about the monsters that I saw. The monsters I hunted.

There are dark creatures in the world. They lurk in the shadows of old buildings and in forests, grown old and angry. The monsters linger in closets and beneath beds, under stairs and in narrow attic peaks.

I killed a few during the war, but not all.

As my father said when I was a boy, keep your knife sharp and your powder dry.

Odds are you’ll need them sooner rather than later.

Room Four


It was a room filled with whispers.

I entered the room with my knife in hand, the blade clean and ready to work.

Despite the whispering, there was no one to see.

I closed the door behind me and took stock of what was laid out.

Skeletons and bits of bones, objects encased behind glass and lining the walls.

I moved forward and glanced at the legends written beneath each item.

“Removed from Subject B398, Blackhills Hollow, 1843.”

“Discovered on North Road, Gods’ Hollow, 1915.”

Most of the objects I could not recognize. Some, like the jaw from Subject B398, were clearly identifiable.

The whispers rose and fell around me until I reached the far end of the room and stood before the smallest of six skeletons. There were no names attached to these. No bit of information, but the bones themselves told a story.

I could see cut marks by the ends of the larger bones, places where someone had gnawed on ribs and fingers. Gouges desecrated the eye sockets.

“I was alive when they did this,” the voice of a young woman whispered in my ear.

I folded the pruning knife and put it away.

“Who?” I asked.

“Not these fools,” the ghost sighed. “My tormentors are long dead and in the ground. A few of them ended up here, but we removed them.”

A murmur of agreement rippled through the unseen ghosts.

“Their descendants, educationally at least, continue to hold us here,” she continued. “We are bound and cannot leave.”

“How can I help?” I asked.

The gathered dead chuckled and whispered their thanks.

“There is no help for us,” the dead woman informed me. “Though we appreciate your kind offer. Fell agreements were made, and foul oaths were spoken. It is far beyond anyone to free us.”

“I’m sorry.”

The whispering stopped.

“You may not be able to free us,” the ghost of the young woman stated. “But that does not mean you cannot bring us pleasure.”

“How do I do that?” I asked.

“Are you killing them?” she inquired.

“Each one I meet.”

A collective sigh of pleasure filled the room.

“Then go forth and kill more.”

I did as she bade.

#horrorstories #vengeance

Room Three


I entered a classroom and met a man who needed to die.

I’d seen medical rooms, and I’d been in field hospitals. I’ve watched men bleed out while others tried to reattach their own arms. I’ve held friends who lay dying and others who went mad from the carnage they’d witnessed.

None had enjoyed the butchery. None had been flush with excitement at the sight of it.

Not so for this man.

This man, no older than thirty if a day, stood over the remnants of a corpse. A single leg, to be precise, and he poked and prodded it with unabashed delight.

He was so enraptured with the limb he never noticed me enter.

Which, I suppose, was best for both of us.

Had he noticed me, I might have gotten angrier than I already was.

Had he even caught sight of me passing through the door, I might have been tempted to draw the Colts.

My hands were already itching for them as I watched the man lean down close to the leg and whisper, “You shouldn’t have been so tempting, my dear.”

I stood still as he brought his lips to the jointed thigh, kissed the wound, and then dragged his lip along the ragged edges of flesh. Then, with a soft sigh, as though he was touching his lover’s cheek, he caressed the top of the femur with a single finger.

“Yes,” he continued. “Had you been plain, my dear, I would have left you buried in the Hollow. Left you there to rot and feed the earth. But you were beautiful. Are beautiful. Once your head is mounted, you’ll be in my room with the others. Won’t that be pleasant? Won’t that be exciting?”

I walked up behind the man, my feet silent and my heart cold.

For a moment, I stood there, listening to him coo and prattle on to the severed limb.

When he went in for another kiss, I grasped him by the hair, pulled his head back and cut his throat. I held him there, over the leg and the table, his own lifeblood splattering out hot and stinking in the cool air of the chamber.

I shifted my position slightly, just enough for him to see me and for me to see the terror in his eyes.

I held him up for a heartbeat longer and then dropped him onto the table.

There was more killing to be done.

#horrorstories #vengeance