March 27, 1943

Philip Coffin wandered the streets of Cross for 63 years.

In 1883, at the age of 10, Philip Coffin was taken out of school and given the Watchman’s Clock after his father was beaten to death on Olive Street.

Philip accepted his new responsibility easily, and put on the traditional black of the Coffins.

Around Cross there are dozens of keys that must be used to wind the Watchman’s Clock. Each night, before his shift began, Philip would learn in which order the keys needed to be used, and at which time.

Through the use of his clock, Philip kept back the monsters that roamed the dark. He served as a conduit for the magic within the keys, bridging the distance between life and death for the entire town at times.

By 1943, Philip was growing tired, and he knew his time was short.

The patterns for the keys was changing rapidly, sometimes in the middle of his shift.

Philip had never married.

There were no children for him to pass his legacy of guardianship onto.

On March 27, 1943, Philip stumbled.

Some people on Washington Street heard a commotion close to two in the morning, but it sounded like nothing more than a pair of feral cats fighting over trash.

When dawn graced the town, a boy delivering papers found the Watchman’s Clock, and a splatter of blood on the wall of 54 Washington Street.

Nothing more was ever found of Philip.

The Watchman’s Clock is currently on display in the library of the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University and any interested in the position of town watchman is invited to apply.

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March 19, 1942

Why do the dead linger?

The citizens of Cross have no answer for this, although many wish they did. Perhaps then, they argue, the dead might be put to rest.

Hawkins’ Mill is located at the widest part of Murders’ Creek, and until 1943, the Mill was still used by descendants of the Hawkins family.

On March 17, 1942, Carl Hawkins went into Murders’ Creek to examine an issue with the wheel. His brother and cousin watched as he went into the cold water, swearing and declaring – adamantly – that the world hated him.

It seemed Carl was correct.

His hand became caught in the wheel, and for a moment the wheel was freed, jerking Carl around and pulling him beneath the frigid water.

But then the wheel stopped, and the man did not surface, although his feet kicked up and out of the water.

His brother and cousins leaped into Murders’ Creek to assist him, but it was no use.

By the time they freed him, Carl was dead.

March 19, 1942, a day after his internment in the family crypt, the ghost of Carl Hawkins returned to work.

He wasn’t happy to be dead.

From the moment the mill opened, until the moment it closed that day, Carl Hawkins screamed about the ineffectuality of his relatives.

It continued the next day, and the day after.

Following a week of profanity laden diatribes, the Hawkins family brought in a priest and hoped for an exorcism.

The action only angered Carl.

He tore up machinery in the night and hung living rats from the rafters.

Each day, it seemed, was worse than the one before.

Finally, after a full year of spectral abuse, the Hawkins family closed the mill on March 19, 1943.

Carl can still be heard screaming in outrage when the wind shifts.

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March 9, 1868

Vengeance is often a bitter draught.

On March 9, 1868, former Confederate sergeant Antoine de Sainte Beauvoir arrived in Cross. His purpose, as he had told friends and family prior to his departure, was to avenge his three brothers and his father, as well as several uncles and a baker’s dozen worth of cousins.

All this could be done with the slaying of one man: Duncan Blood.

In the heat of battle, during the war between the States, the Sainte Beauvoir Militia (made up of relatives along both the paternal and maternal lines) attempted a raid upon nearby Federal forces.

The militia was foiled in this by Duncan Blood, who had first fought Indians before the United States was a country.

The few survivors, including Sergeant Antoine, were adamant that they had faced at least a company size force of Federals. In all actuality, they ran into Duncan Blood, and no one else.

He had shown the militia no mercy, killing the wounded as he cut a bloody swath through their ranks. In the end, Sergeant Antoine and three others lived because they had fled the battle.

Furious at having been put to flight by a single man, Sergeant Antoine vowed to find Duncan Blood and exact his revenge.

On March 9, he attempted to do just that.

He found Duncan Blood in the street, and he called Duncan out.

Duncan, who had left the general store carrying a new hatchet, killed Antoine where he stood. Then, much to the horror of all, Duncan scalped the man.

When asked why, Duncan replied, “What was good for his father was good enough for him.”

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February 28, 1901

What do we know of madness?

This was a question that Dr. George Merrimac asked himself, and it was a question he valiantly sought to answer.

George was an accomplished psychologist, one whom many of his colleagues went to when dealing with particularly troublesome patients. In a time when hysteria was a common diagnosis for any woman who failed to fall in line with the standards of society, George was an outspoken opponent of such a diagnosis.

Thus, when George, a widower, retired at the age of 68 to Cross, it was unsurprising that he sought to help those who were tucked away in the maddening labyrinth of lunatic asylums and poor houses.

In an effort to determine how imprisonment affected the perception of reality, George purchased an old ‘coffin,’ a device used in Vienna, Austria to restrain lunatics.

He wrote a letter to Dr. Mitchell Anderson, a colleague in Boston, requesting that the man visit him at his home on 1st of March 1899. The letter contained explicit instructions on where to find a key to the home and, more importantly, the key Dr. Merrimac’s private study in the basement.

Dr. Anderson received the letter on the 27th of February 1901.

Curious as to why his friend wanted him to visit, and why he had left such detailed instructions, Dr. Anderson traveled to Cross on February 28, 1901. Once inside his friend’s home, Mitchell was disturbed by the dust on the furniture.

With a rising sense of panic, Mitchell descended the stairs to the private study, let himself in, and found the remains of Dr. Merrimac in the ‘coffin.’

When Mitchell managed to open the device, the remnants of George fell out, and two facts were painfully clear.

The first, Dr. Merrimack’s fingernails were embedded in the wood of the door.

And the second, the corpse’s teeth were ground to nubs.

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February 26, 1920

What would it be like to meet your double?

While much of the world theorizes and wonders whether the multiverse exists, many in Cross do not.

They know, first hand, that parallel universes, alternate planes of existence, and the maddening structure of the multiverse, all exist.

Few, however, can speak so succinctly upon the idea as Hazel Clay.

Or rather, who most people believe to be Hazel Clay.

On February 26th, 1920, another version of Cross bled through the thin fabric of the universe in front of the Cross Social Library, and it was Hazel Clay who found it.

And it was Hazel Clay who came through.

Both versions of Hazel were holding their dogs, and both women were wearing the same clothes. Their hair was identical, as were the expressions of shock on their faces.

Witnesses state that both women spoke at the same time, yet none of the words were decipherable. It was as if the two versions were so in tune that a new and brilliant language sprang up for those few minutes they were together.

Reports stated that the universes pulsed around the women. Waves of light and darkness, truth and lies, flowed about them, pulling and pushing at reality.

Finally, after nearly five minutes, the ground around the women shuddered and they were hidden by a black shape.

When it cleared, only one Hazel Clay remained. She held her dog in her arms, and smiled and called to those she knew.

Over the years, she has professed to be herself, which she undoubtedly is. But she does not know certain people, and has no memory of events in which she played a key role.

Thus it was that in 1921, Hazel filed for divorce on the grounds that she had never been married, and had never met her alleged husband.

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February 21, 1939

Where do nightmares come from?

 

Do they come from our thoughts and fears? Perhaps memories or experiences, both real and imagined, supply the fodder.

Or perhaps there is something far more sinister at work than base reality and chemistry.

On February 21, 1939, the citizens of Cross found a possible answer.

It came in the form of an abandoned building, one they had never seen before, and which sprang into existence on an island in Blood Lake.

Lead by Duncan Blood, a group of twenty men and women crossed the lake on foot, climbing up the steep sides of the island’s bank. Each was armed with a rifle and a handgun, and no one knew what to expect.

Cross, as they all knew, had a way of surprising everyone.

The building they explored did not disappoint them.

It had once housed a mail order business, although from what concurrent timeline they did not know. But what they discovered was that the business supplied nightmares. A sample catalog found in a foreman’s office listed nightmares from the mundane to the terrifying, ‘a nightmare for every price range,’ as the advertisement went.

Children could buy nightmares to terrorize classmates and peers. Adults could assail their enemies with sleepless nights and thoughts of suicide.

Deep within the storerooms of the business, the group from Cross found some of the nightmares. These boxed terrors were carried outside and burned, and upon the group’s return, the town kept watch on the building.

The abandoned business remains, and somehow nightmares continue to appear in their neat, cellophane wrapped boxes.

Not all the nightmares are destroyed, and not all who suffer from them survive.

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February 16, 1888

No trespassing.

It is a simple statement and one which generally should be followed.

Duncan Blood has been posting signs bearing those two words around his property for decades.

Yet so many people ignore them.

Or, worse still, they believe that they do not have to follow them. This is the case with the surveyors from the Boston and Maine Railroad, who – despite Duncan’s refusal to allow them access to his land – breached his border regardless of his warnings.

On February 16, 1888, ten men of various ages rode up to Duncan’s property where it abuts Gods’ Hollow. With them, they brought their dog, Rex, and they set about the business of planning a new line to pass through Duncan’s land.

Robert Bly, a photographer, accompanied them for a short distance, and when they reached a curious outcropping of rock, he took their picture. Feeling unwell, Robert returned to his horse and rode to his home in nearby Pepperell.

Several days later, members of the police department called upon Robert to ask him if he knew where the men had gone to following their examination of Duncan Blood’s land. He learned, much to his surprise, that none of the men had returned. The dog had shown up at the Cross police department, his paws soaked with blood. Yet the dog was uninjured.

While some witnesses stated they had seen a group of ten or so men riding away from Gods’ Hollow, none of them had returned to their homes in Boston and the surrounding towns. Nor had the horses been seen again.

Duncan, according to the police, hadn’t known the men were on his property.

Years later, Robert Bly bumped into Duncan in Cross. Robert brought up the subject of the still missing men and mentioned how it was curious that it was only the dog that had ever been found.

“Not really,” Duncan had answered. “I’ve never had the desire to kill a dog.”

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