Duncan Blood’s Journal: 1877

I have never been overly fond of any who come to Cross in an effort to establish a church. From my experiences, which span two centuries now, these people tend to be the worst of the lot.

The Reverend Timothy Sweet was no exception to this rule.

He arrived early on a train from Boston, carrying a small satchel and holding a walking stick. There was a raw stench about the man that brought a frown to my face and caused my fingers to itch for the triggers of my Colt.

As he passed by me on the street, I turned around and followed him for a short distance. I overheard him ask directions to town hall, and then I followed him there as well.

Once inside, he requested the necessary paperwork for the establishment of a church and then exited quickly. I held the door for him and struck up a conversation as we left town hall.

He was a Baptist, he informed me and suggested that I might wish to attend his church when he found a place to put it.

I confessed to him that I knew of an excellent place for a church, especially one which might grow under the guidance of a learned man. I offered to show it to him, and he agreed.

We walked along North Road and came to the stonewall separating Gods’ Hollow from Cross proper. I informed the Reverend of the place’s name and his eyes became wide.

He misheard me.

“God’s Hollow?” he asked. “Why, it’s as though this is a sign from heaven!”

I nodded. “You ought to take a walk out to the tree-line, Reverend.”

“No, thank you.” The smile on his face faded when he saw the Colts in my hands, their hammers back.

He tried to argue with me, but a single round at his feet helped him understand that I was not interested in conversation. A look of righteous indignation settled over him, and he scrambled over the stonewall. He walked briskly to the tree-line, and when he reached it, he turned around and glared at me.

A moment later, something reached out and snatched him into the forest.

His horrified scream was cut short, and I went back to my business.

Somedays, the only killer in Cross is me.

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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: 1851

They came into town on a crank handcar, checking the lines and, as I was to learn later that evening, looking for some ‘sport.’

For most men, looking for sport meant finding an agreeable female.

Not for these men. Their tastes ran to something a little viler.

They found me sitting at the train station, smoking and waiting for the summer sun to set. There was a fair chance of a lycanthrope in the area, and I was anxious to get my hunt underway. My pensive attitude, youthful appearance, and distant expression must have made these men think that I was a simpleton and that as such, I might be fine to speak with regarding the satisfying of their base desires.

They introduced themselves to me, and they inquired as to whether there might not be any Irishmen about.

When I responded no, not of late, that most of them resided in Lowell and Boston, they then asked if there were any men of African descent, though they did not use such a politick term.

I confess, I feigned idiocy at that point and asked in a none too bright manner what they might want such men for.

“To hunt,” was the answer I received.

I nodded with a simpering smile and told them yes, there were several on my father’s farm.

The men were all too eager to follow me home.

They chatted amongst themselves as we went, and when we arrived, I invited them inside. I sat them down in the parlor and told them I would inform my father that we had guests.

My father was missing, and presumed dead, and had been for some time.

While they helped themselves to some bourbon, I found my garrote and brought it back with me. I waited until they were well in their cups, and then I called them one at a time into the kitchen, ostensibly to speak with my father.

Instead, I garroted each in turn.

In the morning, after I dined with the corpses, I brought them out to the center of my land and left the bodies to rot.

Not a one of them deserved a burial.

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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.

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The War of the Rebellion: Virginia, 1865

The war is over, but I believe the killing isn’t done.

The Secesh graveyard is small, the markers made of wood rather than stone. At some point, someone will come and make these markers permanent.

I am not that person.

Tonight, while the rest of the nation celebrates, I wait.

My Colts are loaded and beside me. The Spencer rests across my knees, a round in the breech and waiting. My Bowie knife is still in its scabbard, but it is within easy reach. Henry, the dog I liberated from George Custer, sits beside me. He waits, as do I, for this one last act of killing.

Something has been rising from this graveyard, though I am not certain as to what it is. Word has been passed down to me, reports of the dead leaving.

As the sun sets, I light a lantern and wait.

My wait is not long.

The dead do rise. They climb up from their graves, and they bear their wounds. Yet these men do not seek the flesh of the living, they do not turn on me or Henry. Instead, they walk.

There are perhaps thirty of them, and they fall into formation easily, as old soldiers are often want to do. They travel perhaps twenty feet before they stop and face me.

It is clear they want me to follow.

I holster my Colts, shoulder my Spencer, and Henry, and I follow them.

We walk for a short time, to a field of battle that has since been passed over. An old sergeant stops, and so to do I. In silence, we watch his detail spread out across the field. Singly and in pairs, they stop, and when they do, they are joined by others. Men and boys steal up from the undergrowth, tired and worn and as dead as the men who found them.

I look at the sergeant and nod.

Without a word, Henry and I leave the field.

I must find some living Secesh who will help me bury the forgotten dead.

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The War of the Rebellion: South Carolina, 1865

There are some events which defy explanation, and those, I believe, are the worst to experience.

Early in 1865, I was in South Carolina, deep in Secesh territory, and hunting down a pack of were-folk. They were a strange, mixed lot, ranging from wolves and dogs to cats and, I’m almost positive, a damned elephant – though it escapes me as to why a Hindi was this far east and in the Carolinas of all places.

I ran into a group of Federals who were having a hell of a time entertaining themselves with a group of contraband, freed and runaway slaves who had attached themselves to a Federal unit. These Federals were not high-minded abolitionists, nor were they particularly concerned with the plight of their fellow man.

No, they were enjoying taking potshots at the contraband who had dared come close enough to beg for food.

As I prepared to whup some of the soldiers, the contraband scattered, leaving only one young boy behind. His clothes were tattered, and his hair was wild and unkempt. He was whipcord thin and there was a gleam in his eyes that I could see from fifty paces away, and I knew he was not what he presented himself as.

The Federals, well, they were blind to it.

They hollered and shot at the boy, and when they finished, the child grinned at them, bowed, and let out a string of profanity, which was both exquisite and exceptional.

The men around me did not appreciate the boy’s creativity.

Instead, they fired off their weapons again, and when not a single round struck home, they gave chase.

The child took off at full speed with the men hot on his trail, yelling and calling after him like wild and feral dogs. I watched them go over a slight rise, and then there was another round of gunfire.

Silence filled the air, and I walk forward, careful to leave my Colts holstered and the Spencer on my shoulder. When I reached the top of the rise, I saw the men. Or, rather, I saw what men remained.

They were dead, and it appeared as though they had shot one another. Their companions were missing, as was the young boy.

To this day I’ve no idea who or what he was, and I can live with that.

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Hunters

From, Blood’s History: Hunters

 

I have done my share of hunting. As a young man, it was necessary. Occasionally, over the years, I have gone afield to hunt game, when the desire for venison or waterfowl has taken hold of me.

In 1927, however, I spent the better part of a summer hunting down the Spahis.

I believe this particular group slipped into Cross via Gods’ Hollow. More than likely, it was done with the help of my dead mother, wretched woman that she was.

The Spahis ranged out from the Hollow and into the neighboring farms, taking wives and daughters, leaving any males dead in the farmyards.

From June 6th to August 15th, I tracked them down. I killed several on the outskirts of their camp, and by the evening of the 15th, I fought my way into their tents. Most of the men were dead. Those who were not fled into the Hollow. While I was victorious at that moment, I would not be free of the Spahis completely for another month.

In among the tents, I found the kidnapped females, all of whom were pregnant with the children of the Spahis dark and foul Gods. The tongue of every prisoner had been torn out in order to silence their agonized screams. Some of the prisoners were mad from the pain. Others knew exactly what was coming.

I killed the prisoners, putting a shot through each head and one through every fetus. Then, I set fire to the tents and went to hunt down those who thought they could escape.

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April 30, 1930

April 30, 1930.

The last day of April and I have found most of Cross’ missing. They were gathered in the shelter of a small building, each body in the process of excavation. It seemed as though centuries had passed since each individual vanishing, and perhaps here, in Gods’ Hollow, such a wealth of time has passed by. Who am I to judge in that regard?

I sat down in the building, lit a smoke and cleaned my Colts. An uncomfortable sensation took up residence in the nape of my neck, and I waited for someone, or something, to appear and make some sort of demand upon me.

Nothing happened.

After a short time, I stood, wandered amongst the remains and gathered up what personal possessions I could find.

There were not many.

The Hollow shuddered beneath my feet several times as I made my way through the skeletons, and I knew, without having to be told, that the Hollow would no longer reveal itself come May.

Once again, the Hollow would keep its secrets.

Burdened with the belongings of the dead, I left the house, retraced my footsteps, and hoped I would make it home before the Hollow closed itself to prying eyes.

The sound of my mother singing hurried me on my way.

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April 23, 1930

From the Gods’ Hollow journal of Duncan Blood.

 

April 23, 1930.

I came upon them in the early morning, only an hour or so after I had crossed the border into the Hollow. The mother and child stood in the remains of their home without any sense of shock or surprise.

When they heard my approach, they turned and nodded to me. In beautiful French, the mother said, “Yes, we will have breakfast with you.”

Feeding them had been my intention, but I had not voiced it to them. I did not hide my surprise, yet neither did I comment upon it as I sat down and took out my provisions. Soon, the three of us were eating the slim repast I had prepared.

When we finished, the woman, without introducing herself, stated, “We have done this before.”

“How many times?” I asked.

She sighed, smiling bitterly. “For eight years now.”

“Always with me?” I asked.

“Always with a version of you,” the woman answered. “There are times when you know French, and others you don’t. Times when you kill us both, and times when you pass us by.”

“How did you know I wouldn’t kill you today?” I asked, handing her a slice of bread for the child.

“You knew French,” she said, smiling, and spoke no more about it.

I left the mother and child as I found them, standing in the ruins of their home, and waiting for me to arrive in the morning.

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February 25, 1951

Marion Cass’ middle name should have been ‘Kindness.’

The man was kind and generous. Hardworking and faithful.

When the First World War broke out in August of 1914, Marion traveled to Canada and joined with the Canadian Army to serve abroad. He fought until the armistice of 1918, and then he returned home. Yet when he stepped off the train from Boston, his father died of a heart attack in the station, leaving Marion the task of running the family farm and helping his mother to raise his three younger siblings.

And Marion did just that.

His farm prospered, and he shared his prosperity with his neighbors. No family went hungry, no child lacked for a job if they went to Marion.

He was, in the words of Duncan Blood, “A man I am proud to call a friend.”

On February 25th, 1951, Marion Cass learned that the six-year-old son of the Hawkins family was missing.

Marion packed himself enough food for a day’s search as well as extra for the boy, and blankets too. Then, knowing that no horse could go where the boy was believed to have gone missing, Marion climbed onto his tractor and set off into the dark woods around Gods’ Hollow.

It was Duncan Blood who found the tractor at the edge of the road, and the Hawkins boy was wrapped in Marion’s blankets and coat.

There was no sign of Marion, and Duncan did not search for him.

Later, when the Hawkins boy was reunited with his family, and Duncan sat with Marion’s family, Deborah Cass, Marion’s wife, asked Duncan why.

From his pocket, Duncan drew a folded piece of cloth which she recognized as part of Marion’s shirt. When she opened it, there was a single sentence written in blood.

“His life for mine.”

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