Toys in Cross: Cavalry


Hooves thundered along North Road and brought death to Cross.

Emmanuel Kalt was an unhappy child. Like Sabine Mont Bleu, he was a refugee. Unlike Sabine, Emmanuel was German.

How he ended up in Cross, I will never know. It was a shame, though, how some people held him accountable for the crimes of a government and a nation.

I would see him occasionally at the library, where he would sit and look at the few books in German. I taught him English when he was willing and played chess with him when he was bored with lessons.

He never spoke of the Summers, with whom he lived. Nor did he speak of the frequent visitors. It was only by happenstance that I learned he was being roundly abused by his foster family, and by those they invited. The Summers, it appeared, were making a fair amount of money by allowing the boy to be beaten by those who had lost sons in the war.

He confided this to me only after I saw that two of his fingers were broken on his left hand. The Summers, he told me, made a great effort to make certain he was not permanently damaged or marked. They would lose money from their investment.

I was enraged, of course, and I told Emmanuel that I would kill them for him.

He asked, instead, if I would instead be willing to write a letter on his behalf.

Confused, I agreed.

It was a short letter, nothing more than a note. It read, ‘Send me my horses.’

I promised to post it that day, and I did. I offered the boy sanctuary at my home, and he politely declined. He needed to be at the Summers’, he said. It was the only way his horses would find him.

As much as it pained me to do so, I agreed, and I allowed the boy to return to his foster family.

It took three weeks for his horses to arrive, and I heard them at dawn, thundering into town.

I followed the sound of screams to the Summers’ abode, and there, on the front lawn, I found Emmanuel and his foster family dead. He was smiling, and toy soldiers were scattered by his open hands.

I keep them with me, a small reminder of the vengeance of a child.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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