Murder in Cross: December 19, 1921

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They went riding hellbent for leather at a little past midnight as I watched and waited for them on the North Road.

I didn’t know who they were or why they were raiding into Cross from Gods’ Hollow, but I had had about enough of them.

Shortly after my encounter with Adam Stanton, I learned that in the past week over a dozen sheep had gone missing as well as a pair of young women. The women I found, dead and cut to pieces just in the tree-line of Gods’ Hollow across from North Road. There were a great many hoofprints in the snow, and I suspected that the killers had come from the Hollow itself.

My suspicions were true.

As the first horse raced towards the blind I had built earlier in the day, I lifted my Winchester and shot it in the chest, dropping the animal in front of the others. Several of the men were thrown, but the others kept their seats. These I finished off while the riderless horses ran back towards the Hollow.

Of the seven men who had come riding out into Cross, only four of them were still living. They drew long knives from their sheaths and called out to one another in a language I had never heard before but did not need to understand to know they were hunting for me.

They were curiously dressed for America, reminding me more of Russia and the Cossacks, which had wreaked havoc on the Eastern Front during the war. I was impressed with their poise, and the fact that they were armed only with knives.

It made shooting them down that much easier.

It did not, however, make them any lighter, and by the time I finished dragging their corpses back to Gods’ Hollow, I was not inclined to be charitable.

I took a pint of whiskey out of my pocket, took a nip, and waited for someone to come for the bodies.

When they did, I killed them too.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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