Chasing Them Down: Day 7

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I have a growing dislike for the entire Martin family.

Jolene Nesbith had spoken the truth when she told me the whereabouts of Danny. She failed to mention he was with his cousins.

Seventeen of them, to be precise.

It turns out the Martins were a French-Canadian family. Their name, prior to emigrating to the US, had been Sainte de Martin.

I found Danny exactly where she said I would, with his cousin Bill. Bill and the other sixteen cousins who ran a small lumber camp a full day’s ride from Jolene’s house in South Berwick.

When I walked into the camp, it was a little past noon, and the men were all seated around a large fire that had a few pots of coffee brewing over it on iron swing-arms. Danny was there, seated directly across the fire, and his face went white as a sheet when he saw me. He let out a hoarse cry of alarm even as I drew both my Colts.

Yet no sooner had the barrels cleared leather than some of Danny’s cousins were reaching for shotguns.

Danny would have to wait.

Gunfights are a hell of a thing on a man. The world slows down, and everything leaps into focus. You can see a man blink and his finger tense on the trigger; you can hear the chambering of a round and the harsh clack of a weapon being broken open to be reloaded. You can smell their breath over the smoke of the fire, the sharp tang of coffee rising from the spouts of the pots.

And beneath your own fingers, you can feel the cool, beautiful steel.

There’s no need to aim because you know you’re going to hit every one of them.

The fight didn’t last more than a few minutes. I killed eleven straight off, and sent the last round into the small of Danny’s back, knocking him down.

The others I finished with my knife.

Danny was still trying to get away when I caught up with him.

We sat for a bit and chewed the fat, me poking my fingers in his wound whenever he stopped talking.

Finally, he swore he didn’t know where Luke had gotten off to, so I opened Danny up from stem to stern.

I wasn’t happy, but the day wasn’t a complete loss.

The coffee was still hot.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

Chasing Them Down: Day 4

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Long Beach in York, Maine is a beautiful place, but Redd Martin wasn’t happy about dying there.

I’d found him walking alone in an ill-fitting suit and trying to blend in with folk he didn’t know the first thing about. He stuck out, and that was a plain and simple fact.

In the few days since the death of Emily Anne, Redd had managed to get up to York and find a job with a cousin at the Hall Estate, which was at the end of Long Beach and had the finest view of the Atlantic one could expect from York. I had to admit; it was a damned pretty sight.

Redd didn’t try and run from me when I approached him, although he did attempt to pull a small pistol.

It was an act he regretted almost instantly.

I broke his index finger and his thumb taking the pistol from him, and then I bent the barrel beating him with it.

As the sun started to set, I dragged him over to a set of rocks I’d seen him walk past earlier in the day, and I hauled him into a spot where we could have a little privacy. Once we were there, Redd became anxious. He knew as I did that, the tide would be coming in soon, and the little spot I had selected would be underwater.

I don’t doubt he knew what I had planned.

He tried to get away, and I was forced to break both his arms to keep him in place. I told him I’d move on to his legs if he kept it up, and I think he took that warning as a sign that I might not kill him.

Redd knew me, though, so I’m still not quite certain why he didn’t think he’d get what he was owed.

As we sat there, waiting for the tide, I asked him where I might find his other two brothers. He kept his mouth closed in response.

I asked him again, and when he didn’t answer, I scalped him.

He fainted from the pain, but he woke up when I splashed some saltwater on his head.

Redd refrained from telling me the destination of his siblings, which meant more work for me.

Still, he died with his scalp stuffed in his mouth while the moon rose over the Atlantic.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

Chasing Them Down: Day 3

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White Island stood off the coast of Maine, and it was as good a place as any for killing.

I’d tracked Redd Martin to the island, and it’d taken me the better part of the day to get across the water to it. There wasn’t anyone who wanted to take me to the keeper. It seems that the man, a cousin on Redd’s mother’s side, was less than amicable.

In the end, I had to purchase a boat and row myself across.

I was not in a pleasant mood by the time I tied up to the dock.

When I reached the keeper’s house, I was met by a man in his late fifties and who stank of lard. I’m not sure if he bathed in it, and I’m not sure he didn’t.

I asked him, politely, if I might speak to Redd.

The speaker spat a stream of tobacco juice down near my feet, grinned, and told me his cousin had only stayed long enough to collect on a debt.

When I asked him where Redd had gone to, the man spat again and slammed the door in my face.

It doesn’t take much to be courteous, and a discourteous person sets my teeth on edge.

I knocked again, and when the cousin started to open the door, I kicked it the rest of the way in.

The wood slammed into his face, broke his nose, and chipped some teeth. I watched as he staggered back, stumbled, fell, and reached for a shotgun propped against a hall table.

I kicked his hand away, snatched up the gun, and put a round of buckshot into his groin.

The wound took all the fight out of him. He was left squirming on the floor, leaving a trail of blood as he screamed and wept. I considered putting the second shot in his belly, but I held off.

Instead, I took the butt of the shotgun and broke his left ankle, and then his right, just to be sure he knew I wasn’t in an especially forgiving mood.

I asked him again where his cousin had gone to, and he shook his head.

I blew his right hand off with the second shot, and the man shrieked as he held up the mangled limb.

When I asked him a third time where his cousin was headed, he told me.

York, Maine.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

Chasing Them Down: Day 1

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Of all the things they could have done, running was the worst of them.

Accidents happen. I know this, and – if the circumstances warrant it – I can forgive.

But they ran, which meant it wasn’t an accident.

I found her dead on the east side of Old Cross Cemetery. Her name was Emily Anne Warren, and I had known her for a fair amount of time. She was a widow, her husband having been killed at sea by a rogue whale in 1858, and her son had died of fever in 1865, shortly before my return from the War of the Rebellion.

She was a pleasant woman, and while she was not wealthy, she was comfortable, and I made it a point to check on her. There were, I well knew, those without scruples, those who would seek to take her wealth for their own.

I had several conversations with would-be suitors. None of them ended well for those seeking Widow Warren’s hand.

On Saturday, I heard Pastor Davies was hounding Emily Anne for marriage, and so I decided it was time to go and speak with him.

When I arrived at his home, his housekeeper informed me that he had gone out for a walk with his son and had yet to return. The housekeeper told me she suspected he was on his way to speak with the widow.

I left the pastor’s home in a bit of a temper, and I doubt the conversation would have gone well had I gotten hold of him.

As it was, I did not.

I had to pass by Old Cross Cemetery to reach Emily Anne’s home, and when I neared the burial ground, I noticed the gate was open, and the tools of the gravediggers were scattered around. There was no sign of the Martin brothers, the men who dug the graves and kept the cemetery free and clear of overgrowth.

It was unlike them to abandon their tools.

I went into the cemetery, and behind a plinth, I found the crumpled corpse of Emily Anne. Her head was caved in.

I sat for a short time and read the sign on the ground around her. From what I saw, Davies, with the Martins for muscle, had pressed her for a proper response to his proposal.

Evidently, he hadn’t liked the answer.

When I found them, none were going to like what I had to say.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

In Gods’ Hollow: May 31, 1956

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The last boy is gone, and the world is worse for it.

For the past forty-four years, I referred to him as ‘Child.’ Only once, a few days after I had rescued the boys from the chapel in Gods’ Hollow, did I ask him for his name, and he told me it no longer mattered. The boy he had been was gone and dead, left behind in the charred remnants of his old hell.

I did not argue with him, nor did I press the issue. If he did not wish to be named, so be it.

Child took up residence on an island in Blood Lake. Unlike others, he preferred to be alone. I would check on him weekly, but the boy was entirely self-sufficient. He could hunt and fish, he knew what plants he could eat, and those which he could not. The boy even grew vegetables in the one decent spot.

Over the years, he grew to be a man, and he built his own home. It was a single-room structure, with windows all the way around. He could look out across the Lake and know if anyone was coming to his island.

There was a small pier, where I would tie up my boat, and before I had gotten halfway up the dock, he would emerge from the woods with a rifle and a smile.

We spent more than a few nights seated in his house, Child alert to the sounds and smells of his home. He would carve while I spoke or read to him. He never wanted to know of the world. Whenever I was to leave for any length of time, I would inform him, and he would nod.

Always, I found him waiting for me when I returned.

This morning, when I tied up at the dock, he did not come and greet me.

When I reached the path that led to his home, he was not there.

The island was silent. Not a bird sang, nor did ay animal call. Even the insects were mute.

I entered his home with trepidation and found Child dead on his bed. His eyes were open, his hands folded over his breast. In his hands, he held a pipe, and on it was carved a single word.

Blood.

It was his gift to me, and I smoke it as I write these words.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

In Gods’ Hollow: May 30, 1912

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She was sweet, pretty, and thirsty, and she nearly took an eye.

The young woman knocked on my door shortly after noon, her face flushed with the warmth of the day and a tired, apologetic smile on her face. She asked if she could trouble me for a glass of water, and I told her she could have one of milk if she was so inclined.

She flashed me a bright, easy smile, and told me she would very much appreciate one.

I led her into the study and bade her sit, and then I retreated to the kitchen for the promised glass of milk.

As attractive as she was, there was something strange about her. She had an accent I couldn’t quite place, and the pin on her label represented an organization I knew nothing of. A rarity for me.

On the floor above me, some of the boys were racing through the halls. They knew to stay away from certain rooms and to keep to only those places I had marked as safe. My home was dangerous. Perhaps not as dangerous as the hell from which I had rescued them, but it was a challenging place, nonetheless.

Pouring a beer for myself, I brought the drinks into the study and handed the milk to her. She waited until I took a seat to sip her beverage, and after I had taken a rather large drink of my beer, she smiled and asked, “Is your wife home?”

I shook my head. “I’m not married, Miss.”

“I thought I heard children,” she remarked, glancing at the ceiling.

I nodded. “You did. Some nephews are staying a bit.”

Her smile broadened, and she placed her glass on the table beside her. She smoothed out the pleats of her skirt, and then sprang from the chair.

I saw the knife in her hand at the last moment and was able to turn it aside.

The smile on her face remained fixed in place, even as she brought the knife slashing back toward me.

I caught her arm, twisted her wrist before she could switch the knife to her free hand, and drove the blade up under her chin and into her brain. She collapsed onto me and slid lifeless to the floor.

I sat still for a moment and stared at the glass in my hand.

She’d made me spill my beer.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

In Gods’ Hollow: May 29, 1912

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I found the man sitting on the edge of Gods’ Hollow, a look of perplexity on his face.

For the past few weeks, there had been rumors in town of a strange man asking questions that no one was able to make any sense of. Those who had spoken with him could not seem to remember what he looked like, nor could they truly recall what he had asked about. All they knew was that they had been left with feelings of uncertainty and discomfort.

I had searched on an off for the better part of a week, all the while making sure my new charges were safe on their islands or in my home.

The stranger’s expression, combined with the fact that he was well-armed, caught my attention.

When I stopped a short distance from him, I called out and asked what the problem was.

“I’m looking for some boys,” he replied. “They are vandals.”

“Vandals?” I asked.

He nodded.

“What happened?” I let my hands rest on the Colts. He was distracted and didn’t notice.

“They worked for my mistress,” he informed me. “They killed her and set fire to our home.”

“Ah, vandals is an appropriate name then,” I nodded. “Are you alone in your searching?”

He shook his head. “No, there are a few of us. We are searching…towns such as yours.”

“What’s your name, friend?” I asked.

“Jeremiah,” he smiled. “And yours?”

“My name?” I asked, tilting my head towards him as though I hadn’t quite heard him.

He chuckled and leaned forward. “Yes, friend, what’s your name?”

“Duncan,” I grinned. “Duncan Blood.”

The man’s eyes widened, and he jerked back as he tried to get to his feet and aim his pistol with his left hand.

By the time he brought the pistol up, both my Colts had cleared leather, and the hammers were falling on the first of twelve rounds, all of which ended up in his chest.

I was surprised to find he was still breathing when I reached him, but I took his knife from his hand and kicked the pistol out of the other.

Lifting his ax up from the ground, I tested the weight and found it to my liking.

“Now,” I told him, “let’s see if your heart is as black as my mother’s.”

It wasn’t.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

In Gods’ Hollow: May 2, 1912 (Corrected Date)

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Jack Coffin wept when I returned his son to him.

I was surprised to discover that, according to the flow of time outside Gods’ Hollow, I had been away for less than a day.

The other boys I had left at the farm, guarded by the ravens and the Gallows god. I was not worried for their safety. I had seen them fight, and I knew what the ravens and the god were capable of.

I went and stood outside the stonewall which surrounds Gods’ Hollow. There was no sign of the fire that I had lit. No hint of the church, which had been the source of all the trouble.

From my pocket, I retrieved a small journal I had stolen from my mother’s chamber. Opening it, I began to read.

‘Duncan, I trust you have taken this. It is with some regret that I am writing this. I am dead, of course, and I doubt you have taken much comfort in it. So, allow me to strip away what little comfort you have managed to obtain from my demise and, undoubtedly, the destruction of my home. In the following pages, you will find dates and times. Each of these represents another version of myself I have met. Should you find a star next to the date, it means she succeeded in killing you. Enjoy your reading, Duncan, and the knowledge that there are so many more of me to meet.

‘Love, Mother.’

My hands trembled with rage as I turned the page and saw the list of dates. Page after page, almost until the end of the journal, was filled with dates. Some had stars. Others did not.

The stars didn’t matter, though.

Whatever version of my mother I met, I’d kill her.

I closed the book and smiled. Here I thought I’d only the one opportunity to kill her, and it had gone by so quickly.

That, I realized, was not the case.

I took my pipe from my pocket, lit the tobacco, and walked home. It was time to take the boys into Boston and get them fitted for some proper clothes.

They would, I hoped, have long lives ahead of them.

Perhaps some of them might even help me hunt my mothers down.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

From Blood’s History: The Horn

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Hello!

Well, it’s official, I would like to throat-punch 2020 for all of the insanity it has brought. Without going into any detail, these past few days have been far rougher than I would have liked them to be.

Ever.

That being the case, I present to you last year’s bit of Duncan Blood’s history. For those of you who haven’t read it, I hope you enjoy. For those of you who have, I hope you enjoy it again.

Be well!

From Blood’s History: The Horn

Gabriel Mills visited on November 9, 1938, and asked for the key. Never, in my life, have I refused it to him, nor did I do it then.

Regardless of your religion, or lack thereof, there are certain undeniable facts about this life. One of them, and I should know, is that there are beings far more powerful than us who walk this earth.

Gabriel Mills is one of them.

I have heard some people refer to him as an angel, although he has never laid claim to the title (and he has scoffed at such declarations). What I do know is I choose not to be around when he brings out the horn.

Why he keeps it at Blood Farm is another matter entirely.

Early in 1642, he made a deal with my father to keep the instrument with us, and that he would visit us upon occasion. Usually, it was to herald in some horrific event, and November 9 was no different.

He asked me to walk with him to the shed, and there we unlocked the door together. Gabriel took out the horn, sat upon the stairs, and put the instrument’s mouthpiece to his lips. He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, and let out one of the saddest sounds it has been my misfortune to hear.

I shall never forget the sound, nor shall the world forget what it ushered in.

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

In Gods’ Hollow: May 26, 1912

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I carried the blind boy on my back and sought an exit from my mother’s warren.

The cat had fled with the death of its mistress, and the raven had led the other boys into the room. No one spared a glance at the corpse of the Keeper.

“She was young here,” the raven observed as we found a narrow passage.

“Younger than she was when she gave birth to me,” I replied.

We walked on in silence, the boys behind us marching in single file.

“Do you think there are others of her here?” I asked.

“No,” the bird replied. “You are far too dangerous, Duncan Blood. They cannot risk having you kill more than one at a time. It throws off the balance.”

“The balance of what?” I inquired.

“Of everything,” the raven stated, blinking his good eye at me. “This is nexus, as surely as the Hollow is a nexus. You will close this when we leave?”

“Of course,” I answered. I glanced over my shoulder at the boys behind us. “How many?”

“Thirty-seven,” Grimnir answered preening. “They will stay with you.”

“Me?”

The raven nodded. “Until it is time for them to move on.”

“When will that be?” I asked, trying to think as to where I might put thirty-six boys, some of whom I doubted spoke any language I knew.

“Some tomorrow, others the day after,” the bird stated. “Quite a few will drift out to your islands on Blood Lake. They will remain there, living out their days in solitude and reflection. Such is the way of our world.”

I shifted Johnny’s weight, and the boy sighed.

“He is asleep,” the raven observed.

“Good. She took his eyes.”

“Ate them, to be precise,” Grimnir informed me. “Then made him sew his own lids closed.”

I swore, and the bird nodded. “Yes. It is good she is dead, Duncan Blood. Tell me, what will you do when we leave this place?”

“I’ll burn it to the ground.”

“Good.”

For hours, we walked in silence. When we finally climbed out of a tunnel and into the Hollow, with the sun shining upon us, I set fire to my mother’s warren.

Then, as the day ended, the boys gathered around me, and we watched her world burn.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death