Toys in Cross: The Hobby Horse


Victor Krulak didn’t like his father.

I didn’t like his father either, but then again, I didn’t kill the man.

Victor did.

Or, more to the point, the hobby horse Victor rode killed Victor’s father.

Peter Krulak was a man who I beat on a regular basis. I’d like to say there was a specific reason each time, but that would be a bald-faced lie. While I had no proof, I suspected that Peter was heavy-handed when it came to dealing with his wife and their young son. I’d seen enough abused women and children to recognize the signs.

Peter was as foul and as despicable as they come, and on more than one occasion, I came close to strangling him in the street. He was, unfortunately, generally saved by circumstance. No sooner would I work up a sweat than someone would happen by and convince me that killing the man wasn’t necessary.

Victor disagreed.

I was sitting in the Cross train station when I heard a horrific scream come from the platform. Along with several other men, I ran to see what was wrong, and I came to a sharp stop when I saw it was Peter Krulak.

He writhed on the platform, blood blossoming on his clothing and spewing from his mouth. I watched his arms break, and his chest sink in, and while those around me vomited from disgust, I watched with fascination.

In minutes, Peter was dead, and I decided I would bring the good news home to his wife and young son.

I reached their home a short time later, where I found Victor riding his hobby horse on the front lawn. His mother sat in a rocker on the porch.

Before I could speak, she asked, “Is he dead?”

I nodded, and Victor climbed off his horse.

“Will you take it from us?” she asked.

Again, I nodded.

“Good,” she said, smiling bitterly. “I would not have it kill again without just reason.”

I turned to see if this was alright with Victor, considering it was his toy, and the child smiled at me.

“His name is Ivan,” Victor informed me. “Ivan the Terrible. Will you stable him for me?”

“I will.”

There is a small stable at the back of my library, and Ivan waits there for the next child who needs him.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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