January 17, 1923


In all the years he has visited Cross, this man has only been photographed once.

He is a Reaper and one with whom Duncan Blood is well-familiar.

Each January, for as long as anyone can remember, this Reaper has walked out of Blood Farm and into Cross.

He has a smile for all he meets, and he smokes contently on his pipe. It is not unusual for him to stop and sit and smoke a spell, nor is it unusual for him to vanish into houses and streets as if searching for someone who needs him.

This man is a quiet Death.

There is nothing horrendous about his coming, and more often than not, he comes for the aged or the ill. Rarely does he leave with more than the single person he came for, although there have been times where he has left with two or three souls in tow.

Only once did he walk back to Duncan Blood’s home with more than what most would consider the Reaper’s fair share, and that was on January 17, 1923.

On that particular day, a group of young men and women raced into Cross in a pair of 1921, Ferris sedans. As the citizens of the town watched in fascinated horror, the first of the cars struck the Reaper, and the second ran over him.

Yet the Reaper was unharmed, and when he stood up, there was a look of disgust on his face.

Calmly, the Reaper relit his pipe, and as the flames touched the tobacco, the cars came to a sudden and quiet stop.

As the Reaper turned around and continued on his way, residents approached the cars, curious as to why they had stopped.

The answer, they discovered, was that all eight people were dead.

And each person’s body was mangled, as if they had been run over.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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