August 1, 1954

I have been home from Korea for less than a year. July was hotter than I remember, and I decided this morning to wander along the edge of Gods’ Hollow. In the past, a sudden rise or drop in temperature has often marked the beginning of trouble in the Hollow, and I have found it beneficial to make certain said trouble remains contained as best as possible.

This morning, less than a mile into the Hollow, I discovered a building which had been destroyed in the early thirties. Somehow, according to the whims of the Hollow, the building had been returned.

It was not a welcome sight.

St. Ann’s Home for Orphaned Children had been a Catholic establishment on the border of Cross and Pepperell, and in 1932, someone had set fire to the establishment. All records of those who had lived there worked there and died there had vanished in the flames. The destruction had been so complete, only a scattering of bricks had been discovered amongst the charred remnants of beams and wood. The bodies of children and staff were burnt beyond recognition, and it was believed they were lightning rods of ill-luck.

They were buried in a mass grave in Gods’ Hollow, much against my wishes.

I suppose that I should not have been surprised at the discovery of the building here. It may or may not be the original. Some power may have torn it out of time and thrown it here, or the collective memories of the deceased may have finally reconstructed their home, however horrific it might have been.

I am packing some supplies this evening, and soon I shall return to the orphanage. There is a slight chance that someone may be alive within it, so I owe it to them to look. It has been some time since I carried anything larger than an M1 carbine. Tomorrow, I will wear my Colts again, and I must admit, the thought of pulling their triggers is enticing.

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July 31, 1920

In the end, I proved myself a liar.

I entered Mrs. Orlando’s estate a little past dawn, shortly after the changing of the guards. The undead had gone to their hideaways, and the living were stepping out to take up their positions around the grounds.

I locked the living out and proceeded to kill the vampires. It is easy work, when vengeance is a motivator, and when equipped with the appropriate tools.

I worked my way up, room by room, and floor by floor. Every living and undead thing I found, I killed. Men and women fell in time with the thunderous roars of the Colts, and my hands ached when I finished with them. I lost track of the number I killed between the front door and that of Mrs. Orlando’s.

By the time I reached her, it was 7:31 in the evening, an apt and fortuitous time. I broke open the door to her rooms, killed her maid and her servant, as well as the three men guarding her.

I took my time with Mrs. Orlando. Unlike the other women in her organization, she was neither strong, nor was she stoic.

She was a fainthearted screamer, and she died at 9:55 PM.

Far earlier than I planned.

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July 30, 1920

She has hidden herself away in a place she believes to be unassailable.

During the day, the grounds of her estate are patrolled by police and dogs. After nightfall, the undead guard it.

I am in a place where I am unseen and undetected, two entirely different situations when the undead are concerned.  At midnight tonight, Mrs. Orlando will receive a letter, one which informs her she has less than twelve hours to live. Another letter will follow on its heels, giving her a countdown of the number of minutes.

I have planned for the attack and can do no more at this point. All I can do is stay where I am.

So, I will remain in my hide, keep an eye on the guards, and wait for my moment to strike. I have enough food and water to be comfortable and alert. My weapons are with me, the Colts fully loaded. There is a comforting weight to them, a weight which changes when they’re fired.

The wind shifted a minute ago, carrying with it the stench of her home. Despite the foulness of the odor, I did smile.

The rank, fetid odor of fear was upon it.

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July 29, 1920

I am intrigued by Mrs. Orlando.

She has yet to fully understand her situation. The woman has attempted to kill me and bribe me. She now has enlisted the assistance of the police department in protecting her. Not only has she brought in the police department, but she has brought in police dogs as well.

This situation, while not pleasing, is interesting.

For one, I am curious as to what she has said to the police. I doubt she has bribed every officer guarding her estate. Perhaps one or two at a higher level, but not all the men patrolling her grounds.

I have approached one gentleman, handing three magnificent hounds, and asked him what the occasion was. He replied that he didn’t know and that he merely went where he was told. I told him I could appreciate that, having served overseas with the British.

He, for his part, had served with the Canadians before America entered the war. We had a rather long and pleasant chat about comrades no longer with us, and then we parted ways.

I have sent her another letter, letting Mrs. Orlando know the exact number of hours she has left to live. My coffee is nearly ready, and I think I’ll read Chambers’, The King in Yellow this evening.

Perhaps I will clean my Colts as well.

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July 28, 1920

This morning I had a visitor by the name of Charles M. Watson. Mr. Watson, an eminent lawyer out of Harvard, represents the interests of Mrs. Orlando and her organization.

Over several cups of coffee, Mr. Watson presented Mrs. Orlando’s desire a truce between her organization and myself. Through Mr. Watson, she offered me a tremendous amount of incentives. There was no threatening. Not even a hint of terrible deeds to occur should I turn down her offer.

Mr. Watson is an extremely eloquent man. His manners are impeccable, and his ability to carry on a conversation is quite impressive.

He enjoyed my coffee, liberally dosed with apple schnapps, and the tobacco which I had to offer.

In the end, I had to tell him that while I appreciated his efforts, I was going to have to refuse the offer made to me. I stressed to him that none of this would have happened had she not, in the end, written the orders for the bombing of the train which had claimed the lives of my friends.

Mr. Watson understood, of course, although he was quite surprised, at the end of our conversation, when I shot him twice in the chest.

I truly did regret his murder, but I needed him to deliver a very specific message to his employer.

It is now nine in the evening as I write this.

His head should be arriving at Mrs. Orlando’s estate shortly.

I trust she’ll understand my message.

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July 27, 1920

Last night, shortly after sunset, I learned from some friends that Mrs. Orlando had sent a request to some of the undead currently living in Boston. She asked these vampires for assistance. Specifically, she requested they travel to Cross to deal with me, stating that my ‘continued existence’ threatened the unending supply of food which had been part of their agreement.

I decided that I did not want any more vampires in Cross, so I traveled to Boston. An hour or so before sunrise, three vampires left the safety of their club for a car which they had hired. The driver was to deliver them to an abandoned farmhouse in Cross, and from there the undead would strike out at me.

Unfortunately for them, I struck first.

It does not take much to create an explosive. Even less to set it off, especially when you know what you’re doing.

I found the car they hired, paid the driver to take the rest of the day off, and waited for the vampires to come into the vehicle. When they did, I apologized for the inconvenience, stepped out for a moment, and lit a small fuse hidden beneath the scent of a garlic, onion, and liver sandwich left on the front passenger seat.

The explosion not only destroyed the vehicle, but it shattered the windows of the vampires club, thus allowing the rising sun to destroy their brethren within.

I sent another letter to Mrs. Orlando, chiding her for her foolishness, and reminding her of her remaining days.

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July 26, 1920

I am impressed with the lengths Mrs. Orlando is going to protect herself.

At her estate on the outskirts of Newburyport, Massachusetts, she has established a broad perimeter, one which is heavily guarded by troops with obvious combat experience. In addition to this, she has brought in an armored vehicle, which I assume she will use for any future events she must attend. Most impressive, however, is the small group of aeroplanes she has gathered. All are from the Great War. Several from France, at least one from Britain, and two more from Germany. The pilots are all effective as well. They fly extremely well, and the machines are equipped with machineguns, truly an impressive feat.

What Mrs. Orlando has failed to realize, however, is the basic vulnerability of such a machine. The men are aloft in nothing more than canvas and wood. Neither of which is particularly effective when it comes to stopping a bullet.

While I am not a sharpshooter, I am fully capable of hitting a vehicle as large as an aeroplane. On this occasion, I was able to kill the pilot, who crashed into the small building housing some of the other pilots.

I have penned a short letter and have had it sent to Mrs. Orlando. The gist of the missive is simple enough.

I will kill her on July 31, 1920 and she would do well to get her affairs in order.

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