The War of the Rebellion: Georgia, 1865

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Hell can be found in the strangest of places.

The cabin was small and tucked away off a long, narrow country road. From what I could see, the home was well kept and well cared for. Smoke rose from the fieldstone chimney, and there was a good supply of wood off to one side. A summer kitchen was set up to the left of the home, but unlike the rest of the property, it looked unused.

The windows on the building’s front were closed, as were the draperies, and the front door as well.

There was a fine breeze blowing, and Georgians, by and large, rarely kept their doors and windows closed on such an occasion. The smoke from the chimney confused me as well. It was too early for a mid-day meal and too late for breakfast.

I’d heard no rumors and word of any sort of beast operating in the area, no vanishing bodies or missing pickets. Still, stranger things had happened and were bound to happen again.

I approached the cabin with caution, the Spencer in my hands as I walked in the grass along the edge of the road. At less than thirty feet from the cabin, I heard a woman’s laughter, joined a moment later by a second, then a third. What followed next caused me to grit my teeth and move quicker.

I heard a man beg, in a voice near breaking, for them to leave him be.

A part of me hoped I was coming upon some reckless scene of young love, but I doubted it.

When I reached the door, I heard a long, low groan, and there was no pleasure associated with it.

I kicked the door in and shocked the inhabitants, three old women crouched over the emaciated form of a Federal soldier. The eyes of the women were wild, their gray and white hair lashing about their faces as they launched themselves at me. I killed two with shots from the Spencer, and I beat the third to death with the stock.

With her brains splashed across my face, I stepped over to the Federal, lay on his back, eyes wide and filled with tears.

“Three months,” he whispered. “They’ve been feeding on me for three months.”

I bashed in the brains of the other two as well.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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