Recollections, 1960: Hank Bartlett

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By the spring of 1881, there had been a few more incidents with the strange creatures attacking sheep and other farm animals, but after the attack on Ed, they had stopped targeting the elderly.

April of 1881 saw that change and the creatures from the Hollow picked the wrong time, place, and person to attack, although they carried the assault out with a disturbing amount of forethought.

I had helped Hank Bartlett build a one-room house shortly after we returned from the War of the Rebellion. He and I had served, but Hank had given both his legs from the knees down in service to our country. He was as fine a carpenter as I had ever known, and he was happy to live alone and work.

On April 2nd, I was on my way to see him with a fresh jar of applejack, set aside the winter before. It was the 15th anniversary of the loss of his legs, and we tended to get drunk on that particular anniversary.

I was less than half a mile from his house when I heard the sharp crack of a rifle and the angry cry of a raven. While the rifle fired again several more times, more ravens took up the call of the first.

As I broke into a run, drawing a Colt with my free hand, one of the creatures crashed out of the underbrush and into the road. Its dark blood flowed down its side from a deep wound, and the thing’s eyes were crazed with fear. I blew its brains out and hurtled over the creature as it slumped dead to the ground. Two more of them lurched ou and I finished them off before I turned up the narrow drive that led to Hank’s house.

I found a trio of dead creatures on the ground and Hank Bartlett sitting on his porch, his false legs leaning against the house as he rocked in his chair, his rifle across his lap. He grinned at me and welcomed me as the raven settled down on the porch railing.

Without a word, I sat on the porch beside him and handed up the applejack.

It was a good way to remember our war.

#horror #CrossMassachusetts #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #ghosts #DuncanBlood #ghoststories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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