January 13, 1939

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Shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, the three Barron brothers – Alpheus, Gunther, and Friedrich – sold their home in Cross. With the proceeds of their sale, the brothers purchased horses, saddles, weapons, ammunition, and all the requirements for an extended stay in some lawless place.

Yet the brothers only went so far as the Blood Farm, where they were greeted by Duncan Blood. On January 2nd, 1919, the three brothers disappeared into the forest.

The Barron brothers, being unwed and unengaged, were talked about, but soon forgotten in the grand scheme of a small town’s social memory. Occasionally, mention would be made, but more as a comment on the peculiarities of people than as any sort of concern for their well-being.

As the years passed, gunfire could be heard from Blood Farm during the small hours of the night.

This too, however, was hardly remarked upon.

The Blood family was strange, and that was an accepted fact.

On September 11th, 1938, a horrific thunderstorm shook Cross. Bolts of lightning ripped through the streets and streams were flooded.

After the storm, no more gunfire was heard from Blood Farm. Duncan still appeared in town on a regular basis, and he was still his normal, peculiar self.

On the morning of January 13th, 1939, three men were brought into town by Duncan, and they were deposited outside of what Mrs. Matheson’s boarding house.

The men registered as Alpheus, Gunther, and Friedrich Barron respectively. They were clad in cast-off clothing, and happy to take a room together in the basement. While Alpheus walked with a serious limp, both Gunther and Friedrich had horrific scars on their necks and could no longer speak.

Alpheus alone could speak, and when asked where they had been, he replied, “Fighting the damned.”

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January 12, 1925

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Sometimes, killing a person simply isn’t enough.

Such was the case with Deborah Walch.

Deborah died at the age of 32, killed by a single bullet to the right temple. The round carried away most of the left side of her head. Her husband, along with their two children (ages 12 and 10), then proceeded to dismember Deborah. Neighbors and family friends purchased a specialty casket equipped with locks and a bell system which would connect to the headstone. The bell would serve as an alert to the cemetery’s caretaker, who would then fetch Duncan Blood.

To many, the murder of Deborah Walch, as well as her subsequent disposal and burial, would seem horrendous.

To those who knew her, however, it was the bare minimum.

No one knows what happened to Deborah in the weeks leading up to her death on January 12, 1925. Prior to January 1, 1925, she was a loving and generous person.

At exactly midnight, with the coming of the new year, she became a monster.

By the time dawn arose on that morning, Deborah had murdered the family’s pet dog and eaten the barn cat raw. She attacked anyone who came near her, burying a knife to its hilt in her 12-year-old son’s left forearm.

The doctor was brought in, then a priest, and finally Duncan Blood. None of them could determine what had happened to Deborah or cure her.

On January 12, she fired five rounds of a six-shot revolver at her family. Her daughter, age 10, seized the weapon from Deborah and fired the killing shot.

94 years have passed since Deborah Walch’s death, and still, the town wonders if her bell will ring.

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January 10, 1904

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The world is a strange and wonderful place, a singular entity of curiosity and beauty, where the darkness beneath the light is far worse than anything we can imagine.

On January 9, 1903, Daniel Freedman – age 13 – left his home to visit the Hathaways several miles away.

When Daniel hadn’t returned home by supper, his father, Ezekiel, set out on a horse to see what was keeping his son. To his horror, Ezekiel discovered his son had never made it to the Hathaways. Search was started immediately, but the worsening weather forced the searchers back into their homes.

The weather broke two days later, and for a week, the town continued its search for Daniel, but no sign of him could be found.

Then, on January 10, 1904, an old man was seen walking along Gods’ Hollow. He was curiously equipped with a pistol, an old flintlock rifle, a knife, and a hatchet. His steps were sure-footed, and he moved with a disturbingly lupine grace.

When he reached the Freedmans’ home, he walked unerringly up to the door and rapped sharply upon it. Ezekiel answered it, opened his mouth to ask what the stranger wanted, then stumbled back in horror.

The stranger’s eyes were a green-flecked gray, the same color as Daniel’s.

The man, who was indeed Daniel, told his father that he had spent 42 years in another, odder version of Cross.

Daniel would not say how he had gotten there, or how he had returned, only that he couldn’t stay. He had come back, he said, to let them know he was alive.

When his mother asked why he had to leave, Daniel smiled and said softly, “Why, Mother, I’ve children and grandchildren of my own now.”

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January 5, 1921

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Like many New England towns, Cross is fiercely independent.

The town does not accept funds from either the Federal government or the State. This way, Cross regulates itself in many aspects of government which other towns and cities cannot.

Since Cross is beholden to neither the Federal nor the State governments, it is not required to allow either to establish buildings or properties within the town’s borders.

Once, in 1921, shortly after the conclusion of the First World War, the Federal government attempted to house a medical research facility in an old building along the eastern border of Cross. Within this building, euphemistically called, Dawn’s Shining Light, doctors in the employ of the United States Army sought to incorporate the idea of the ‘men of steel’ as written about in Ernst Jünger’s memoir, Storm of Steel.

The doctors took this idea literally, seeking ways to graft steel to bone and sinew.

On the morning of January 5, 1921, a young woman was found wandering along the North Road. She was a mass of surgical scars and bandages.

When the local doctor was able to make her comfortable enough to speak, the young woman told of the facility, and what was taking place there.

A group of Cross citizens, many of them veterans of the First World War, gathered at Duncan Blood’s home, where they were presented with the information available.

As the evening light vanished, the Cross citizenry attacked. With covering fire from the women’s marksmanship group, Duncan led the attack on the building. The veterans forced their way in, but they were too late to save the other patients in the facility. The test subjects had been put to death.

The medical staff was captured alive, and they demanded to speak with their superior.

Duncan responded by drowning them all in a tub.

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