The History of Old Hollow
Early Spring, 1865. The Army of the Potomac has cut a path of destruction through large swathes of enemy territory in its relentless pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s once-vaunted Army of Northern Virginia. Union cavalry have raided every town, village and hamlet in the Virginia countryside between Petersburg and the James River in search of food and supplies for the Northern army’s men and horses. Every town, that is, but Old Hollow. Even as nearby towns like Cumberland succumb to often savage Yankee foraging, Old Hollow remains virtually untouched, as if protected from the outside world by some unknown, unseen force.
The town’s beginnings are a mystery. No record exists to tell the story of how and when it first came into being. Some in neighboring communities say it was founded by English settlers in the late 17th century who tried and failed to eke out a living as tobacco farmers. Others say its history goes back further, that the town began when a small group of colonists wandered west after being exiled from Jamestown for practicing witchcraft and Devil worship. No one knows for certain.
Whatever its origins, Old Hollow and the outside world are on the verge of a violent collision with the arrival of a trio of Union cavalrymen seeking shelter for a wounded comrade. Led by Captain Benjamin Lawson, the Yankee soldiers think they have stumbled upon a quiet, little town that, some how, some way, the Union Army has missed – perhaps, they think, a result of its remote nature, nestled as it is in the deep woods of Virginia. What they don’t know is that something diabolical awaits them in the dark recesses of an ancient, white tree in the forest north of town. And that something is hungry.