Home > Hollow Heathens (Tales of Weeping Hollow #1)

Hollow Heathens (Tales of Weeping Hollow #1)
Author: Nicole Fiorina

I believe this world is filled with nothing of the normal, that we are all monsters and freaks, and if my beliefs are true, we can come out of our hiding places and find one another.

I believe something more hideous and cruel than us has put us there, in the dark corners of our minds.

Something that isn’t normal itself, for normal is the lie to keep all the monsters and freaks tamed.

 

 

HOLLOW HEATHENS

By Nicole Fiorina

 

 

Once upon a Time

 

 

Things lurk in the darkness. Monsters, ghosts, ghastly supernatural beings tethered by bottomless energy to keep them there, pinned to the earth and walking without direction, without purpose. A growing gaping hole fed hastily on their darkened soul, and most cannot understand why. Pain, anger, sorrow, grief … emotions bleed into one another after so many years, most forgetting what caused them to be left behind and invisible to most of us.

And the cruelest is love. Long after death, love has the power to turn us all into the darkest of monsters.

 

I had been born with one foot in this world and one in the next. “You’re a Grimaldi,” Marietta would always tell me. I’m a Grimaldi, yet no matter how many times I repeated the mantra, the young man in the corner of my room refused to go away. He was curled up in my reading chair, his knees pressed close to his chest. During the cold months, I’d leave my window open to allow the chilling breeze to slip through the cracks, but he couldn’t be shaking because of the cold. Spirits only felt the hungry emotions eating away at them. Yet, he was shaking. There was something different about him.

“Don’t cry,” I whispered under the paper white moonlight streaming between us. I’d learned not to fear the ones who would come to me, and kept them as my secret. But there was something different about this one, fading in and out like a poor picture on a TV. His lips were glacier blue and his hair as white as an Arctic wolf. And his eyes … his eyes were demonic. Cold. A starless galaxy. And terrified.

I pushed the thick quilt off my legs and slid my feet to the cold wooden floors. “What’s your name?”

His frosted brows pulled together as he looked up at me under thick wet lashes, trembling. Most were surprised I could see them and was unafraid by their presence, but he seemed more confused about my question. He didn’t remember his name, which only meant he was new.

But he seemed so real, blurring between dimensions. He wasn’t like the rest of them.

The floorboards creaked as my feet inched forward, and I paused halfway to him when Marietta’s footfalls echoed off the hollowed stairs.

“Y-y-ou have to help me,” he said through a desperate plea. “F-f-find me.”

Then my bedroom door creaked open, and I rushed back to bed and under the quilt. The sound of her footsteps crept closer, and I slammed my eyes closed to pretend to be asleep. My hair covered my face. I pulled my arms and legs and fingers and toes, every part of me hiding beneath the thick, hand-made quilt.

“I know you are awake, moonchild,” Marietta’s silky voice said, and my bed dipped as she sat at the edge. She pulled the quilt down, and I turned to face her. “You cannot be up all hours of the night, or you will sleep all day,” she added with a light tap on my nose.

I pushed my hair from my eyes and peeked over to the chair where the ghost was sitting.

But the ghost was no longer there.

My gaze slid back to my nanny. “I can’t sleep. Will you tell me a story?”

“Ah! a story is what she wants to hear.” Marietta’s purple lips pulled into a slight grin, and the bracelets lining her arm banged together as she tucked the blanket around me. “I tell you a story, and then you will sleep.” Her brow peaked into the shape of a crescent moon.

I nodded eagerly. “Yes, I promise.”

“Oh, I do not know,” she replied with demise. “I do not think you are ready for this one.”

“I am, Marietta. I am.”

“Oh, child, all right. But, you see, I will need to start from the beginning.” Marietta dragged in a long breath and shifted beside me…

“Once upon a time, far, far away, lies a mysterious land. This land became a town, but the new town cannot be seen by people from away, for it is invisible on maps. Many know the name and have even set out to find it, but this town can only be discovered when it wants to be seen. No barriers exist between worlds. Strange happenings. A town of magic and mischief, where superstition and constellations are the only guides, yet just as unpredictable as the Atlantic tide.

“You see, centuries ago, two separate and very different covens founded this land, yet the stars aligned when they crossed paths. A boat sailed in by sea, escaping cruelty from their country. At the same time, outcasts from the New World came up from the south, running away from the same torment, trudging through dense woods as harsh temperatures and sleet slammed against their chapped faces. Neither would leave once arrived, both marking their claim on the land, casting this very spell, an invisible shield, to hide and protect their people, making the town unseeable to all outsiders. Little did either one of these covens know, something else had already lived in those woods.

“Branches from birch trees whispered, ravens sang their darkest tale, and with every crackle of fallen leaves beneath their heavy boots, secrets of the forest unraveled, spinning words together like a web from a black widow spider. And this was just from the forest because the sea, child, oh! the sea, it roared with prophecy, waves crashing against the imperishable cliffs, the moon’s transcendent phases glimmering over the eternal waters.

“And one day, the town will call upon you, my moonchild. But hear me when I say, you will always have the freedom to choose. You will never be forced to return. But if you do, there is no escaping. Not until the town lets you go—”

“To return? Return to where?” I asked with my fingers clutched around the quilt, ears perked and hungry for more.

“The town of Weeping Hollow …”

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Fallon

 

 

Bouncing off the refrigerator's glass door, which housed numerous caffeinated drinks options, I caught myself staring at my ghostly reflection. My white hair and pale blue eyes looked opalescent, almost as if my doppelganger was stuck between the glass of the chilled door. The more I stared at myself, the more I wondered who was really looking into who.

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