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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February 13, 1913

The fog hides many sins.

What particular sin emerged from the depths of Cross on February 13, 1913, is still unknown. The damage it caused is a matter of history.

At 1:13 PM, the Boston & Maine southbound train came in for its final turn towards Cross station. It did so through a long, deep fog that enveloped the entire town. Residents and survivors recalled hearing the train’s whistle as it alerted Cross of its imminent arrival. Several seconds later, an answering whistle pierced the fog, and then the earth shook.

A hideous explosion filled the air, and sudden silence that followed was shattered by the screams and shrieks of the injured.

Three of the train’s cars were knocked off the track, scattering both the living and dead. The train’s engine was stopped on the track, the front of its tank smashed in as if a giant fist had been driven through the iron.

Neither the engineer nor the fireman could be questioned; they were both dead, necks broken by the impact. The brakeman was found a day later, his body shattered and hanging in the topmost branches of a pine tree.

Several children were never found, and while it is the belief of most that their bodies were pulverized in the wreck, there are others who would argue the point.

Around the train were deep impressions, as if some tremendous bull had stalked around it in the fog. Even some of the trees bore gouges, far higher than any bull could reach.

One or two have whispered that it was a minotaur that derailed the train and thus stole away some of the children.

Few people doubt the veracity of the latter statement, but in June of 2018, the bones of three children were discovered in a cave on the edge of Gods’ Hollow. Above the remains, a single word was carved in ancient Greek: Minos.

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February 12, 1850

Duncan Blood.

This is perhaps the earliest known photograph of Duncan Blood, taken on February 12, 1850, after successfully enlisting in the New York Infantry.

Duncan Blood is a fighting man. Not only does he enjoy the martial aspects of life, but he excels in them.

He has fought in nearly every war that America has fought, both as a nation and as a colony of the British. Duncan killed his share of Huron’s in the wilds of Canada during the French and Indian War, and he waded through pools of blood at Gettysburg. In Europe, Duncan fought the Germans in both world wars, and it is rumored he may have traveled to Korea and Vietnam to fight in those countries as well.

All the bitter, brutal skills he brings to combat against his fellow men, however, were honed on the beasts and creatures that have attacked Cross.

He is as deft with a blade as he is with a gun, and there is a rumor, among the older folk, that he has done terrible things with hatchets as well.

When Duncan joined the New York Infantry in 1850, it was to seek vengeance on a Wendigo that had ravaged part of the Massachusetts volunteers who had fought in the War of 1812. He had tracked it to NY, and with the infantry unit to mask his scent, he moved into the deep parts of that state.

Near Lake George, Duncan slipped away from his unit (later claiming to have gotten lost during a storm) and found the Wendigo’s cave. The battle lasted for three days, and when it ended, Duncan Blood burned the corpse and stitched up his own wounds. Duncan served for another four years with the New York Infantry, before returning home.

He bears the scars of the Wendigo’s teeth upon his stomach still.

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February 9, 1915

Who knows true hunger?

Often, we hear people complain that there is nothing to eat when what they really mean is that there is nothing they want to eat.

Young Angelica Spellman discovered the difference.

Pictured here, to the right of her cousin Michael, and between her cousin Elizabeth and aunt Marianne, Angelica was a humanitarian.

On January 5th of 1915, a rare and freakish snowstorm descended upon Cross. Within a matter of 20 hours, two feet of snow was deposited upon the town. Angelica and her family took decisive action, volunteering to deliver food to people they knew to be trapped in their homes.

With the sun shining brightly, and not a cloud in sight, they set off for the farthest houses first. Before the noon, however, the sky darkened, and another storm swept over the town. For 37 hours the storm raged, and there was no sign of Angelica or her kin.

Teams went out searching for them, exploring all the routes which they could have taken to the distant houses, yet there was no sign of them.

It was with regret that the townsfolk called off the search.

On February 9th, smoke was seen rising from a small copse of trees in Gods’ Hollow and Duncan Blood went out to see what the cause of it was.

He found Angelica Spellman and the remains of Michael, Elizabeth, and Marianne. Angelica was thin, hardly more than skin and bones. She was wrapped in the clothes of her kinfolk, the bones of which were broken and scattered about the small shelter they had found in a shallow valley.

Angelica explained how it never stopped snowing in Gods’ Hollow. There was no sun, no moon. Nothing except snow and darkness. The food ran out swiftly, and Marianne was the first to die. Elizabeth was the next, and then Michael.

When asked how she had survived for so long, Elizabeth smiled and replied, “I saved a bit of each of them for later.”

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