As I write these words, I’m sipping a steaming cup of cocoa by a roaring fire while pondering the many questions that you, dear reader, may have concerning the origins of my tale—The Beast of Macon Hollow. It’s a crisp November evening—not long after Halloween, in fact—and the moon is sitting serenely on its throne high above the earth. It was on a night like this that the Beast first slunk from its boggy lair to prey upon the fears of—not Macon Hollow—but another small town. My hometown of Bladenboro.
You’ve never heard of the Beast of Bladenboro? Oh, it’s a true story. You have my word. In fact, I remember it well. Allow me to tell you just one more Halloween tale…
It happened in 1953. Our pets and livestock were being killed. It would happen at night while we were sleeping safely in our beds. Something would attack! …and we, the puzzled townspeople, would find the mutilated bodies strewn across our property like discarded rag dolls. A dog… a goat… a small calf. As the casualties mounted, so did our fear and paranoia.
No one had any explanation except to blame the mysterious creature that some claim to have seen. A large cat. Black with glowing red eyes. No doubt a vampire beast considering the lack of blood in its victims. The reactions of all of us were not unlike those of Macon Hollow’s citizens. Some of us were scared. Some of us were desperate. And some of us were ready to hunt down and rid ourselves of the pestilence.
But that is where the similarities of the real Beast and those you will find in the pages of my novel end. The creature that terrorized Macon Hollow was much more…unforgiving. And its ambitions were much…grander than merely its next meal. After all, my book is a work of fiction. And our Beast was quite real.
It pains me to say that we never did catch our Beast. Whatever it may have been. It disappeared back into the swamp with little fervor. But it still remains within the collective memories of those who lived through its brief reign of terror. And it wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t get another visit from it one day.
Now, if you’ll— Wait! What’s that? Sounds like scratching on my window. Yes, it’s unmistakable. The ear-rending screech of sharp claws on glass.
Dear reader, pardon the interruption. But it seems that I must tend to this matter at once. Please excuse me while I — Oh, my…that sounds like shattering glass. Muddy tracks leading into the— No! It can’t be…no…NO!