Duncan Blood’s Journal: 1881

I found the bodies at a little past sunrise.

They were splayed out on the side of the road, stripped bare and gutshot. The two men were strangers, and by the callouses on their hands and feet, they were working men looking for just that: work.

I spent a short time by the bodies, examining the ground and looking for sign. Soon, I discovered there had been three of them, walking together. The third man had backtracked, following North Road out of Cross.

Judging by the state of the bodies, he had killed them the night before.

Leaving the bodies where they lay, I tracked their passage, catching glimpses of sign that showed me the killer was moving along at a slow and casual pace.

And why shouldn’t he? It wasn’t likely anyone other than myself would find the bodies. There were few people who wandered out towards Gods’ Hollow on the best of days.

I wasn’t more than a mile from the murders when I heard the unmistakable sound of someone snoring. Loosening my Colts in their holsters, I followed the noise off the road and along a narrow game trail that led dangerously close to the stonewall that surrounds a fair portion of the Hollow.

Soon, I came upon a rough camp. The remains of a fire lay in the center, and a pile of clothing stood off to one side. There were two pairs of ill-repaired boots and a single, small derringer pistol atop them. Beside it was a half-eaten rabbit, the animal’s hide and offal cast off to one side.

Directly across from me lay the snorer. He was wrapped in a large leather bag, a curious sleeper I’d seen a few men use during the war when it got cold.

It looked exceptionally comfortable, and I could see why the man was undisturbed by my presence.

He hadn’t even noticed.

For a moment, I considered waking him and questioning him regarding the reason for his attack on his traveling companions. Then, I decided I didn’t care.

I put a round in his belly, which woke him up in a hurry, and as he screamed, I set fire to the sleeping bag.

I suspect he died quicker than the men he murdered, much to my chagrin.

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Duncan Blood’s Journal: 1871

Not all the killers who come to Cross are human, though I wish they were.

I was riding home on a pleasant April evening when I noticed Doug McClure leaning against a tree on the edge of his tree. In the forty years I had known the man, never had I seen him rest. It wasn’t in his nature.

I brought my horse up short and called out to Doug, concerned that there might be something amiss. When he didn’t respond, I was certain there was.

Getting out of the saddle, I approached the man from the side, and as I drew nearer, I saw Doug wasn’t leaning against the tree. Half his body had been flayed, and it was nailed to the young oak with shards of bone. It took me a moment to understand that he’d been pinned there with his own ribs.

Thankfully, Doug was dead, though, by the amount of blood on the ground, I could tell he had taken quite some time to die.

As I was examining the field to see who had done this to him, I found four sets of small shoeprints. Concerned that his children had witnessed his demise, I set off on the trail.

Within a short time, I found four children seated in Doug’s field, and they were all quite pleased to see me. When they spoke, it was not in English. Instead, they spoke in Russian and the curious manner with which they inflected their words told me what they were before they did.

They were Dvorovoi, and they had arrived in Cross by way of Gods’ Hollow.

“We know of you, Duncan Blood,” the tallest of the four told me. “Your mother waits for you.”

“Does she?” I asked.

The female Dvorovoi nodded, winked, and added, “She told us to kill you if we saw you.”

“But we won’t,” another informed me.

“We don’t like her,” the female laughed.

Before I could take them to task for killing Doug, the four took off running for the Hollow.

I didn’t bother shooting them.

Lead wouldn’t do a damned thing to them.

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Duncan Blood’s Journal: 1869

She staggered out into the street, covered in blood as she screamed for help.

Help was there in a matter of moments, several ladies hurrying around the young woman and guiding her away as one of the boys went racing to the doctor. A few minutes later, one of our patrolmen came up from the station at a run, and he dashed into the alley from which the young woman had so recently appeared.

The patrolman stumbled out, turned, and vomited onto the road, and I took his place, entering the alley with my hands on my Colts.

Within a moment, I let them rest easy.

Donald Hoffman sat with his back against a wall and a knife buried in his belly. Most of his innards were in his hands, and there was a look of shock on his face. I stood there, attempted to understand what I was looking at, and decided it would be best if I spoke with the young woman.

The patrolman had recovered by the time I stepped out, and he told me the young woman had been taken to the station where she was to be met by the doctor.

I found her sitting and sobbing in the office of Captain Thomas Doyle. There was a look of despair on his face, and he motioned for me to close the door after I entered. I passed the sobbing young woman, leaned close and listened to what the captain had to say.

“Will you help me?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered. “I will.”

“Thank you, Duncan.” He shook my hand and left his office.

Taking his chair, I moved it in front of her, and I smiled.

“What happened?” I asked gently.

“He tried to assault me.”

“Ah,” I said. I leaned forward slightly. “There’s one issue with that, Miss.”

She blinked away her tears and looked at me, confused.

“Donald had his genitals blown off at Bull Run,” I whispered.

Hate flickered across her face. “I’ll scream, and the Captain will have your head too.”

I shook my head. “No. He was there when Donald was wounded. He knows you’re a liar and a killer.”

Fear replaced the hate, and her scream died in her throat as I choked the life out of her.

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Duncan Blood’s Journal: 1866

Some men get a taste for killing.

Major Roberts Mahone was possibly the finest sharpshooter I had ever had the pleasure of working alongside during the War of the Rebellion. He had a steady hand, and his men always fought well. I suspect that had he not been wounded near the end of the war, he would have continued on into the Territories and fought there as well.

As it was, the Major was wounded.

I almost didn’t recognize the man when he stepped out of the Cross Train Station, a long bag in hand and his cane in the other. He walked as though he had a purpose, but I could not recall the Major ever having mentioned relatives in town.

Curious, I followed him as he made his way along Main Street, pausing every so often to take out a small piece of paper from his pocket and consult it. I soon gathered that he was headed toward Hollis Road, one of the higher points of land in town.

A cold understanding crept over me, and I took a shorter route to the Hollis Road, and Hollis Hill.

I reached it only a few minutes before the Major did, and I stood off behind an elm as he squatted down and opened his long bag. From it, he removed a Sharpe’s rifle, whistling as he inspected his weapon. He next withdrew a blanket, which he rolled out before laying down upon it and sighting down the barrel. With a nod of satisfaction, he reached into his bag and took out a single round.

It was then that I stepped forward and put the barrel of my Colt against the base of his skull.

The Major became perfectly still, one hand on his weapon and the other holding the round.

“You seem to have the better of me, sir,” he said without attempting to move. “I assure you, this is not what it seems to be.”

“I know what this is, and it is exactly what it seems to be,” I replied.

His shoulders twitched, and his tone was remarkably composed.

“Duncan Blood,” he stated.

“Aye.”

“Do I have time to pray?”

My Colt answered for me.

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Duncan Blood’s Journal: 1859

The advertisement rang false.

“Mature woman seeks the companionship of a young, unattached female.”

Such advertisements might be found in Boston and New York City, but to find one in the Cross Sentinel made little sense.

Additional information regarding where to apply was included, and this, too, seemed odd. According to the advertisement, the mature woman had taken up residence on Gordon Road.

There are only a handful of homes on Gordon Road, and they are all too close to Gods’ Hollow to make it desirable for any but the strongest of Cross natives. Whomever this mature woman was, she was not someone I knew.

With this in mind, I decided it was best to pay her a visit.

I had no sooner left my home and was traveling across country towards Gordon Road than I ran into Caleb Moor. He was distressed and distraught. His eldest daughter, Elsbeth, had left the night before after a fight with her mother. Caleb had suspected Elsbeth to have gone to a cousin who resided with the Coffins.

But the Coffins had seen neither hide nor hair of the girl, and Caleb had been on his way to meet me to see if I had heard anything.

I had not, but I told him I would let him know when I did.

Leaving Caleb to continue his search, I hurried to Gordon Road.

I found the house, which had been abandoned for several years. There were a horse and buggy on one side, and there was a mature woman climbing into it, a look of joy and satisfaction on her face.

It wasn’t there for long.

Ms. Charlotte Alcott of Concord had a taste for the blood of young girls. A taste she had sated with Elsbeth Moor’s death.

I brought Ms. Alcott back into the house, and in the kitchen, I found Elsbeth’s pale and naked corpse.

Under my less than gentle hand, Ms. Alcott dressed Elsbeth and carried her to the buggy. Once this was done, I forced Ms. Alcott to strip down, and then I bound her legs at the ankles and tied a length of rope to the buggy.

I put the horse at a good trot and brought Elsbeth home.

I’m afraid there wasn’t much left of Ms. Alcott when we arrived.

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Duncan Blood’s Journal: Hunting

Over the centuries, hunters have come to Cross.

These are not hunters in what we might consider the conventional sense or even those who hunt the supernatural or paranormal.

No, these are hunters who have come under the false belief that the people in my town are fair game. They come to satisfy a base instinct that needs to be crushed rather than fed, and on most occasions, it is up to me to show them the error of their ways.

Samuel Worthington, late of Hartford, Connecticut, arrived in town on the first of April 1845. He took up lodgings in the Black Inn and, according to Mr. Black, the keeper, was due to press on to Boston in the morning.

At some point after his evening meal, Mr. Worthington vanished from the inn. His belongings were held for him until 1846, but he never claimed them or sent anyone to claim them.

The reason for this is simple and straightforward: Mr. Samuel Worthington trespassed on my land.

It was not an innocent mistake. He had passed by Blood Road and decided he liked the name. After eating, he had slipped out of the inn and made his way back to my farm. According to Mr. Worthington, he believed he would find some easy prey. Either a farmhand or some maid, someone foolish enough to speak with him.

I had, in fact, caught him prowling around the kitchen, as though hoping to see a scullery maid or some such finishing up the preparations for my evening meal.

He found me instead, and I learned that Mr. Worthington had a penchant for killing.

Several times a year, he confessed, he traveled to Boston, always taking a different route and invariably finding someone to murder.

He told all this to me as we stood outside my home, his hands raised in the air, and my Colt Paterson carbine aimed as his belly. Mr. Worthington assured me that he would leave Cross without molesting any of the residents.

I thanked him for his assurance, and then I shot him twice in the stomach.

My damned supper was cold before he was.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

Duncan Blood’s Journal: March 31, 1934

I cannot bring myself to write any more of the War of the Rebellion, and the reason for this is simple: I buried the last of my comrades from that fight today.

Zeke Chambers was 89 years old, and he blew his brains out with his grandson’s pistol this morning.

The ghosts of our brethren who fell during that war found him at last, and they have called him home to Hell.

They have come for me as well, and as I sit here, in my private library, down in the lowest section of my home, they wait for me. I’ve had a bit to drink. Perhaps more than my usual, and – to be honest – more than I should.

For hours, the dead have been whispering for me to follow them, and I’ve had about enough of it.

They’re watching me as I write this. I suspect they are foolish enough to believe it is some half-hearted suicide note.

No, I’m far too vain for suicide.

When I finish this bourbon, I’m going to stand up, and I am going to remind them why I am nearly 300 years old.

I am loathed to suffer fools, and anyone – living or dead – who believes they can convince me to do something I have no desire to do, well, that person’s a fool.

I have a book at hand, bound in human skin, and written in the Danish runes. In this fine work, there are a plethora of spells, many of which will help me bind the dead in this room. I merely need to pick an item to bind them.

They’ve raised their voices now, and they’re complaining. One of them, Custer, is going on about the dog I stole.

Well, there’s the last of the bourbon.

The bottle is empty. Shame to let it go to waste.

I wonder, how many ghosts could I fit inside the damned thing?

Heh. I suppose it would be good to find out.

 

Duncan Blood, March 31st, 1934

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

The War of the Rebellion: South Carolina, 1865

I had sat down to my evening meal, deep in some Secesh forest, when I heard the unmistakable call to rally on the battalion.

There was a sense of urgency and fear to the beat that I had heard upon battlefields, yet there was no gunfire or accompanying musketry. No yelling or haranguing by officers and sergeants.

Only the drumming.

Leaving my food and kit behind, I raced towards the sound of the drum, and when I reached it, I came to a halt, Spencer in hand and surprise on my face.

A lone drummer boy stood among a field of corpses. The bodies, clad in Federal blue, were the remnants of a colored troop, their white officers dead alongside them.

Across the field, a group of Secesh approached, their rifles shouldered and their laughter ringing out. I heard them calling out to the drummer, asking him who he thought he was calling. I brought the Spencer up to my shoulder and I was about to answer for him when the dead stirred.

Slowly, as though the boy and his drum were pulling each and every one of them back from the grave, the bodies of his dead comrades shook and trembled. Those that could got to their feet, and those that could not, rolled to face their enemy.

As I lowered my rifle, the Secesh raised theirs. They took aim not at the living dead shambling towards them, but at the drummer.

Yet the white officers gathered in front of him, protecting shielding him from the bullets that Johnny Reb sent screaming towards him.

The enlisted men, led by their sergeants, continued their advance upon the Secesh, and it was only then that the living focused on the dead.

A few of the Secesh stood their ground, reloading and firing upon the corpses.

I picked off those that tried to run.

The battle was over in a few moments, and when the last of the Secesh had fallen, the drummer boy ceased his rallying beat. With the silence, the corpses of his comrades collapsed, and only the boy and I remained.

When I walked to him, he looked at me with sad and tired eyes, then down at his colonel, saying softly, “Colonel always said I could raise the dead.”

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The War of the Rebellion: Virginia, 1865

Sometimes, the only monsters I find are men.

I came upon the encampment shortly after noon and found no enlisted men, only officers, a lady, and a dog.

When I had first entered the encampment, I had heard laughter and raised conversation. As I passed along the center road, glancing at the various structures, I had seen a great deal of fresh supplies. Meat, fruit, casks of wine, and a healthy selection of liquors. There were even barrels of beer and kegs of tobacco.

Yet there were no soldiers that I could see.

I suppose that is why the officers and their guest fell silent when they saw me approach. When I reached them, I came to a stop. When I did not salute, an officer in a ridiculous hat demanded to know my business.

“I’m passing through,” I explained.

“Then you best continue, sergeant,” the man ordered.

“Where are the men?” I asked.

The officers snickered, and the lady let out a pleasant laugh.

I didn’t smile.

“There are no men here,” the man replied, patting his dog. “We are the only ones.”

“You’ve enough supplies for a brigade, at least,” I remarked.

“For the right buyer, yes,” the man stated. “However, no one has been willing to meet our price yet, so the food will sit where it is and rot.”

“There’s an artillery unit back a ways that needs fresh food,” I told him, lowering my hands to my Colts.

None of them noticed my movements, and the woman pointedly yawned.

“Yes, we’re well aware of that,” the officer in charge replied. “Their colonel refuses to pay the price, so his men and his horses will starve.”

“No. They won’t,” I told him and drew both Colts.

The group burst out laughing and only stopped when I blew the woman’s brains out. The men went for their weapons, and I put them all down as their dog ran away. When the echoes of my Colts faded, only the officer in charge was still breathing. I had shot him in the groin and he knew he was dying.

“Do you me to end it?” I asked.

He nodded, sweat standing out on his forehead from the pain.

“Hm. Those boys wanted to eat, too.”

I cleaned my Colts and watched him bleed out.

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The War of the Rebellion: South Carolina, 1865

He screamed as he came rushing up from the depths of the trench.

It was not the rebel yell, nor any other sort of war cry which issued forth from his blood-flecked and foaming mouth.

No, this was a scream of pure terror and agony, his eyes wide with a fear few men have ever survived, and one he was certain not to.

I had both Colts drawn and leveled on him as he came to a halt, his bare feet skidding on the dirt. He looked past me, through me, as though I wasn’t there. Perhaps, at this point in his life, nothing existed save the pain. I watched as he ripped up his shirt and clawed at his belly, and it was then that I saw his stomach. It writhed and undulated as if there was something sinister beneath the skin, and in a moment, the Secesh in front of me proved there was.

Blood exploded from his mouth as he gouged out a space in his stomach, reaching in and pulling out a handful of his own entrails. He collapsed backward as an unknown creature snapped and howled within the confines of his belly. There was a brief expression of relief on the Secesh’s face, and then he was dead.

But his stomach did not cease.

In fact, the unseen creature redoubled its efforts, and I knew it would be a matter of moments before it chewed through the dead man’s entrails.

I stepped forward and unloaded one of the Colt’s into the dead man’s belly, only to see the creature’s head appear.

It had more eyes than a spider, and it had legs reminiscent of a crab. The damned thing shrieked when it saw me and tore itself a wider hole in its attempt to escape its now rotting prison.

With the other Colt, I blew it to pieces. Then, as it lay twitching half in and half out of the dead man, I stepped forward and crushed it beneath my bootheel.

A foul stench escaped from its carapace, and as a last act, I set man and beast afire.

Standing upwind from them, I loaded a pipe, lit the tobacco, and wondered how the in hell I would clean my boot.

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