9:43 AM January 1, 1931


Higgins Barrow was a miserable bastard.

He delighted in the torment of others.

Higgins developed a technique designed to inflict emotional injury to others, and he taught this to select students at the university using wards of the state.

Two months ago, I learned of this, and it took me less than a day to confirm it.

Doctor Allen Rigby made a profit on the side by renting out the feeble-minded in his care at the sanitarium. Since Higgins returned the wards without any physical marks on their bodies, Rigby was satisfied that he was doing no wrong.

At first, Rigby refused to speak with me. It was only after I threw his assistant down a flight of stairs and broke all the fingers on Rigby’s left hand that he began to talk. He showed me the contract he had with Higgins and even a large sum of cash which Rigby hadn’t yet deposited.

I stuffed the money down Rigby’s throat and watched him choke to death.

I found Higgins in his office at the university reading a proof of his newest work. He started to speak, but I didn’t let him.

Twice I punched him in the face, the second blow rendering him unconscious. And although he was heavy, I managed to get him back to the farm without interruption.

When he came to, we were in one of the rooms I generally keep closed off. I had bound him naked to a chair, and in the semidarkness, I waited.

“My mind is too strong,” he chuckled. “You can’t break me with torture.”

“I’m not going to do anything,” I told him.

He grinned. “You’re a weak man, aren’t you. The stories about you are merely that. Stories.”

“Mm. Possibly.”

I lit my pipe and smoked.

He was about to speak again when they came into the room.

Dark shadows peeling away from the walls. They whispered and crept closer. Long and paper-thin, hands cold and eyes dead. I saw the gooseflesh rise on Higgins. One of the shadows leaned in and whispered in his ear.

Higgins’ eyes widened, and he shook his head. The others crept close, long fingers trailing along his arms.

I stood up, and as I closed the door behind me, I heard Higgins let out a long, low whimpering, “No.”

It turns out he wasn’t difficult to break at all.

Room Three


I entered a classroom and met a man who needed to die.

I’d seen medical rooms, and I’d been in field hospitals. I’ve watched men bleed out while others tried to reattach their own arms. I’ve held friends who lay dying and others who went mad from the carnage they’d witnessed.

None had enjoyed the butchery. None had been flush with excitement at the sight of it.

Not so for this man.

This man, no older than thirty if a day, stood over the remnants of a corpse. A single leg, to be precise, and he poked and prodded it with unabashed delight.

He was so enraptured with the limb he never noticed me enter.

Which, I suppose, was best for both of us.

Had he noticed me, I might have gotten angrier than I already was.

Had he even caught sight of me passing through the door, I might have been tempted to draw the Colts.

My hands were already itching for them as I watched the man lean down close to the leg and whisper, “You shouldn’t have been so tempting, my dear.”

I stood still as he brought his lips to the jointed thigh, kissed the wound, and then dragged his lip along the ragged edges of flesh. Then, with a soft sigh, as though he was touching his lover’s cheek, he caressed the top of the femur with a single finger.

“Yes,” he continued. “Had you been plain, my dear, I would have left you buried in the Hollow. Left you there to rot and feed the earth. But you were beautiful. Are beautiful. Once your head is mounted, you’ll be in my room with the others. Won’t that be pleasant? Won’t that be exciting?”

I walked up behind the man, my feet silent and my heart cold.

For a moment, I stood there, listening to him coo and prattle on to the severed limb.

When he went in for another kiss, I grasped him by the hair, pulled his head back and cut his throat. I held him there, over the leg and the table, his own lifeblood splattering out hot and stinking in the cool air of the chamber.

I shifted my position slightly, just enough for him to see me and for me to see the terror in his eyes.

I held him up for a heartbeat longer and then dropped him onto the table.

There was more killing to be done.

#horrorstories #vengeance

Room Two


They made poor decisions.

The second room was worse than the first.

I stepped into a stink reminiscent of Flanders and Verdun, where the corpses of tens of thousands of men lay rotting in the charnel house of No-Man’s-Land.

A woman, perhaps in her mid-thirties, looked at me in surprise. In one hand, she held an infant by its ankles. The infant was, without any doubt, dead.

She stood by a desk, the top of which was littered with journals and papers, pieces of scientific equipment, and what looked to be several liters of blood in a dark bottle. Whether the blood had come from the child or whether she intended to put the blood in the child, I didn’t know.

I didn’t care, either.

The expression of surprise on her face was replaced with one of disgust.

“I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow,” she stated. “Is this Professor Davenport’s doing? I told him I needed this chamber, alone, for at least another day.”

“No,” I responded, closing the door behind me.

“And is that how you come into a laboratory?” she snapped, gesturing toward my bloodied clothing. “Have you any idea of the effects it could have on our experimentation? Do you think a sample such as this is easy to get a hold of?”

She shook the small corpse for emphasis.

I glanced around the room and was pleased to see there was no way for her to call for help. There was no telephone line, no intercom system. Hell, there wasn’t even a pull chord for a butler’s pantry.

“Well, if Professor Davenport didn’t send you along, who did?” she demanded, setting the body down atop an open journal.

“Her name is Hulm,” I answered. “And she bid me come for her child.”

The woman opened her mouth, closed it, and then shook her head as her face paled.

“No, they said all were dead. There was no one coming.”

“Then call me no one,” I replied, taking out my pruning knife and snapping the blade open. “Whisper to me where the boy is.”

She looked from the knife to the blood on my clothes, reached into her pocket and drew a small pistol.

I frowned as she placed the muzzle against her temple and pulled the trigger.

By the time her body hit the floor, I was already leaving.

I had no time to waste.

Rutherford Hall


I found Rutherford Hall.

The building was a massive structure less than a hundred yards from the building which housed the library. A fact for which I was truly grateful, as well as the lack of any other people on the short trip to the Hall.

I stepped into a grand entryway and spotted a flight of steps going up through massive columns. Moving in cautiously, I paused at a corkboard with numerous attachments on it. I saw the typical, mundane announcements of campuses around the world. Offers of tutoring and others seeking tutors. Explanations of different philosophical beliefs and political ideologies.

And there, in the lower right-hand corner, a single name and an arrow pointing down.


I left the openness of the grand entryway for a smaller hallway, seeking and finding a number of other signs. They were all small, each informing the reader of where they needed to go next.

And I followed them.

The arrows reached a small door, and I found it locked. After several minutes of rifling through the professor’s keys, I managed to choose the right one, and I let myself in. I closed the door behind me, slipped my knife out, and made my way down a wide set of stairs.

By the time I’d descended thirty or so feet, I came to a stop at a wide landing. There were hooks for hats and coats and small lockers for shoes. Half a dozen of these were occupied.

And another door.

Engraved into the wood were tall, bold letters.

Gods’ Hollow Explorations.

This door, too, was locked, but I found the key quicker, and I entered a narrow chamber. Multiple doors stood to either side and these, too, were closed.

From behind them, I heard voices. Some were raised and angry, others begging.

A glance at the doors showed none of them had keyholes. Not a lock to be seen. Perhaps they were latched on the inside, but I doubted it. Not if these people were working on creatures from the Hollow.

A high scream sounded, and gooseflesh rippled across my skin as I tightened my grip on the handle of my knife.

The Colts would be a last resort, power when I had the boy and needed to get him out.

Until then, it would be wet work, and I didn’t mind.

The Keys


I found a locked door and let myself in.

At first, I was pleased the keys I’d taken from the professor worked. Then, as I closed and locked the door behind me, I discovered I was alone. Initially, this didn’t please me. In fact, it brought me fairly close to rage.

There is, after all, a child to locate and rescue. I’d spent too much time traveling and most of the day hunting down someone, anyone, who might be able to tell me where the boy was.

No one was willing to talk with me. They had, conversely, attempted to kill me. Not an unusual reaction when I ask questions.

After a moment alone in the room, however, I realized I was in a small library.

Despite the library being part of Helforth University, I felt a small measure of peace. Books have always soothed me, and the sight of so many of them acted as a balm upon my tired heart.

I walked with a gentle step among shelves, glancing at the titles. I made my way to the far end of the room and stood by a massive globe. Sun poured in through the windows, and the rays fell upon the countries.

I looked down at the globe and saw something strange.

While the rest of the planet was flat and without any extraordinary features, Arabia was raised.

Reaching down, I felt coarse sand against my finger, and I pressed upon it.

A soft click filled the room, and the top of the globe rose.

Several books lay on a velvet platform in the globe, and a single journal rested beside them. I lifted the journal, closed the globe and sat down in one of the chairs. In the early afternoon light, I found the last entry.

“Kiernan has managed to isolate the subject acquired from Miskatonic. It sleeps in the cell prepared for it, and there have been some issues with the co-eds in Rutherford Hall. They don’t understand why the lower levels are suddenly off-limits. I said several years ago that the girls should never have been moved into the building. I was sure it was going to come back to haunt us, and it has.”

I closed the book and shook my head.

No. The decision wasn’t coming back to haunt them.

I was.

I had to wait.


I sat with the corpse of the swordsman.

It wasn’t by choice but rather through necessity.

His wasn’t the first sword to be buried in my chest, but it takes a bit of time to heal from such an injury. I’d learned in the past that pushing myself after such an injury would result in additional pain and lengthen the healing process, neither of which I could afford in the hunt for the boy.

So, I passed the time sitting in silence. Waiting.

And when I felt the last bit of flesh stitch itself closed, I got to my feet.

Then the door I’d entered opened, and a man stepped through.

His eyes went from me to the corpse and then back again. He was wearing a loose-fitting robe, and with a face stamped with anger, he stripped the garment off. The man wore nothing more than short pants, socks, and a pair of athletic shoes. The stranger was finely muscled, and when he approached me, he clenched his hands into fists.

There was no bravado about him as he took up a stance across from me, body tense and at the ready.

I slipped my hands into my pockets, eased my fingers into the brass knuckles, and nodded to the man.

“I suspect you’re going to try and stop me,” I stated.

The man nodded.

I sized him up, smiled and said, “You’re going to die.”

The man did not rush me.

He walked in, slightly crouched to present less of a target, and came at me swinging.

The blows were light, probing, seeing how I might defend myself.

I kept my hands in my pockets and my secrets to myself.

The man stepped back, nodded, and came in harder and faster.

I shifted my weight, drew my hands out, and struck back.

His blow caught the side of my head and sent blood rushing down into my eyes. But my own punches caught him in the chest and stomach. I heard his sternum crack and his ribs break.

His gasp of pain was mingled with surprise, and before he could move away, I swung again.

And again.

Each blow landed, bones breaking and blood spraying. He hit the floor, and I went down with him, knees crashing into his broken chest.

I blinked away the blood and saw him gasping on the floor.

Kneeling down beside him, I smashed his skull open, spilling his brains onto the floor.

The Sword


I found a set of keys on the professor.

I didn’t bother with the man’s wallet other than to make sure there was nothing worthwhile hidden away in it. There were no combinations written down, no secret keys.

I went through his pockets, took his tobacco for myself, and removed a signet ring from the remains of a finger

Taking a few moments, I examined the room I’d executed the man in and found there was a small door hidden off to the right in the shadows of a bookcase. The door was unlocked and opened onto a narrow stairwell.

Sticking close to the edge to cut down on the sound of my steps, I followed the stairs up until I came to a landing and another door. This one, like the first, was unlocked. When I opened it, I found myself in a fair-sized gym and saw I was not alone.

A man stood in the room’s center, body still, frozen in the act of thrusting a rapier forward. He wore the garb of a fencer, and when he turned his head toward me, I caught a glimpse of a young man’s face beneath the helmet’s mesh. In silence, he brought the sword back to him, knocked off the practice tip, and saluted me with the blade.

I was sorely tempted to shoot the bastard, but I had no desire to have anyone in earshot come rushing to his aid.

I pulled my knife, snapped open the blade and nodded. Beneath the mesh, I saw a faint smile, and then the swordsman was moving toward me.

The rapier was a blur in his hand, slashing and stabbing with deft skill and confidence.

He was, without any doubt, a far better swordsman than I could ever hope to be.

The thing is, I’ve never wanted to be one.

Not even as a boy.

I know what I am, and what I am is a butcher.

The man lunged, and I stepped forward. I caught the point of the rapier beneath my left ribs and bit back a groan as the steel drove through my lung and out through my back.

He let out a chuckle and tried to draw back, and I caught his wrist and buried the pruning knife in his belly.

He gasped and sagged to the floor.

I went with him, dragging the blade to the left and spilling his guts out.

I didn’t need to question this man, and I didn’t want to.

And he hadn’t earned a quick death.

An Inquiry


They were questions without answers.

Not that I didn’t ask. No, I asked hard. Harder than I usually do.

After I’d killed the young women and hidden the bodies, I looked for a surer source of information. I thought I’d found it a few minutes later when I came upon an older man standing outside a small house. He appeared lost in contemplation, smoking a pipe with fine-smelling tobacco and a look of satisfaction on his face.

I approached him directly, without any attempts at subtlety or any greetings.

His eyes caught my movement, dragged his attention away from his inner thoughts and showed him, in a heartbeat, my blood-stained clothes and the anger on my face.

He was decidedly faster than the students, and he cast aside his pipe without any hesitation. Had I been farther away, he might have drawn his knife.

As it happened, I was not farther away.

Before his pipe could hit the ground, I sprang and slammed into the man, driving him back through the open door of the building. I drove a fist into his groin and the hilt of my knife into his throat.

For a moment, he lay stunned on the floor, and I took the opportunity to drag him away from the doorway and into another room. I threw him against the wall, tore his tie off him and bound his hands behind his back.

He recovered enough to swear at me while I removed his belt and bound his legs together.

I let him swear for a moment longer, and when he inhaled to begin again, I struck him in the chest. The air rushed out of his lungs, and he collapsed to one side, gasping for breath.

“Where’s the boy? I asked him, unfolding my pruning knife.

He spat at me, and I put a foot upon his neck and cut his ear away.

Not a sound passed his lips as I did so, nor did he flinch when I shoved the ear into his mouth.

The hard bastard grinned, chewed, and swallowed his own ear.

“Ask away,” he said, bits of his own flesh between his teeth. “You’ll get no answers from me.”

I asked, and he was right.

I didn’t get a damned thing from him.

For an hour, I worked on him. For an hour, he ate whatever I cut off.

In the end, I cut his throat.

He’d earned a quick death.

The Student Body


Helforth is going to be more difficult than I thought.

An interaction this afternoon helped solidify that fact.

Being that I wasn’t in Cross, I didn’t think it wise to go barreling into one of the buildings and demand the return of a child I couldn’t prove the university had. The police force here certainly didn’t know me, and I’ve a suspicion that they are more than a little close to the administration. Nor was there any sort of history between myself and the school. Anyone who might have remembered my lesson in skinning would have long since been put in the ground.

No, I knew I’d have to play this one slow and steady, and I didn’t much care for that. Every moment I wasted was one where the child was in danger.

Well, I’d scouted the main buildings and the perimeter, then made my way onto the campus itself. I spent an hour or so exploring the paths between the inner buildings, and then I came across a group of young women.

They sat out in the sun, enjoying the fine weather and chatting about their classes. I was fortunate when I overheard one of them say, ‘Miskatonic.’

And that’s where my good luck ended.

I paused, took off my hat and smiled.

The young ladies returned my smile, and I returned my hat to my head before clasping my hands behind my back.

“I’m sorry to intrude,” I stated. “But did one of you mention Miskatonic?”

I’d no sooner said the name than their expressions of goodwill and cheer vanished. In a moment, all five young women were on their feet, and long, slim fighting knives came from hidden sheathes.

The Colts, I realized, would be too much.

“Your papers,” one of the young women demanded.

I smiled, nodded, and drew my pruning knife.

I snapped the blade open, and the women attacked.

They were quick, skilled, and eager to draw blood, which they did.

I don’t mind a few cuts. And while the women could fight, they weren’t killers.

I am.

Three were dead before the last two realized what was happening, and then there was one.

She tried to run, but I caught her.

And she plunged her knife into her chest.

She died with hate in her eyes and a curse spoken with bloody lips.

Lake Oneida, NY


Helforth University stands a few miles north of Lake Oneida.

I visited the university once, in 1844, and had to cut my way out of the office I was in. Three men had decided that the Blood family was worthy of study, and they intended to keep me there for exactly that purpose. I was well over a hundred at the time, but I looked to be no older than fourteen or so. I suppose it was my appearance and what I did to one of the men that made a lasting impression.

I’d dragged one of the men, Professor Clyde Young, out in front of the building. There were students and faculty watching, and those who couldn’t see sure as hell heard what happened next.

I told them all how I’d been invited by Young to visit. Told them what he wanted to do. Then I put a hole in his belly and skinned him alive.

While Helforth University never invited me back, I gave the place a wide berth. Over the years, the school has grown, and I’ve heard more than a few rumors about the place. But, seeing as how it’s a fair distance from Cross, I didn’t worry myself. I’ve enough of a time caring for one small town. I can’t add an entire state to my burden.

I caught a train to Syracuse, a ride to Lake Oneida, and then a ferry across the lake. From the northern shore, I walked until I came upon the university. Students wandered the grounds in groups of two and three, and I could see they were armed. Each one had a side arm, and there were guards at each building.

From my haversack, I retrieved my Colts, strapped them on and tied them down. I slipped my pruning knife into a sheath in the small of my back and took out something new; a pair of brass knuckles. I eased them on, flexed my fingers, and then made my way toward the main entrance of the school.

The university had grown exponentially since my last visit. The grounds and the buildings spoke of wealth and power, darkness and exploitation.

Helforth University was made of sterner stuff than the faculty and staff of Miskatonic. And they’d put up a better fight.

And that suited me fine.

There was a child to rescue, and I planned on killing anyone who tried to stop me.