Toys in Cross: A Toy Rifle

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Never underestimate the power of hate.

It had been a rough year for the Copp family. Elbridge’s father had been killed in a train accident, and his mother had died of a broken neck when she tumbled down a flight of stairs at her aunt’s house. Elbridge Copp had been left in the care of his grandfather who was disabled, having lost both legs during the Spanish American War.

Grandfather Copp was too old to work, as he liked to tell me, and too proud to ask for money.

Shortly after the death of his son and daughter-in-law, the Cross Trust Bank called in the note on Grandfather Copp’s home, and they refused to listen to him as he pleaded for some sort of leniency.

While waiting for his eviction, Grandfather Copp carved Elbridge, a toy rifle. It was a rough semblance of a weapon, but the boy cherished it and he walked everywhere with the rifle. Elbridge could be seen standing guard outside the home with the dog.

On a Sunday morning, a little more than a week after the notice of foreclosure had been signed, Mr. Matthew Donaldson, the president of the Cross Trust Bank (and the man who had personally refused to entertain any notion of forbearance for the Copps), passed by the Copp house. Mr. Donaldson was accompanied by his wife, their son, and their daughter-in-law.

With a nod from his grandfather, Elbridge raised his rifle to his shoulder, sighted along its barrel, and whispered, “Bang, bang, bang, bang.”

The Donaldsons were knocked off their feet, and neighbors claimed to have seen them twitch and shudder on the ground.

By the time I arrived, the four Donaldsons were dead, blood leaking from their eyes, ears, noses, and mouths. Elbridge sat on his grandfather’s knee, crying. Not from the strange effects of his toy upon the people, but because someone from the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University had taken his rifle from him.

According to the university, the weapon is secured in the school.

In reality, the rifle is in my private library, mounted over the mantle. Over the years, I have used it to kill five men, two of whom had taken it from the boy.

I suspect I’ll use it again.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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