Toys in Cross: From Paris

The toy was found near Gods’ Hollow, and that alone speaks volumes.

From what I’ve put together, it was Erin Black, age eight, who found it while walking along near the Hollow and brought it home. Three days later, no one could find the family. Erin, her two sisters, and their parents had vanished. A neighbor, Mrs. Ida Wills, thought she had heard a wagon stop in front of the house sometime before dawn.

Nathan Hanks, age eleven and a neighbor of the Blacks, saw the toy in the backyard, and according to Mrs. Wills, took it home with him.

Nathan and his parents disappeared that night.

Within two weeks, another four families vanished, and several times there were reports of a wagon.

I had been away from Cross, taking care of some business, and I was disturbed to learn of the missing people. None of the families had taken anything with them. As I spoke with neighbors and friends, I discovered there was one common thread: a toy cart drawn by a pair of oxen and a man walking beside it.

Searching through the last house, I found the toy.

With a growing sense of unease, I brought it home with me, set it in the backyard, took out my Colts, and waited to see what the night would bring.

At two forty-one in the morning, I heard the groan and squeal of a wagon, the snorting of oxen. From the shadows near the main barn, the wagon approached – a nigh-on perfect representation of the toy. Yet where the bags on the toy were filled, those on the wagon were empty.

The Frenchman brought the oxen to within a dozen feet of the back porch, and as he prepared to fetch his bags, I cocked the hammers back on the Colts.

I don’t know what he was or where he came from, but he was damned fast and damned unpleasant.

He sprang at me from the wagon, covering the distance in a single motion. As he clambered up the steps, I saw his sharp teeth and blood-red eyes, and I put two rounds into his mouth, dropping him to the ground.

As his body sank into the earth, the oxen screamed, and a heartbeat later, they were replaced by the toy.

I keep the wagon in my library, another reminder of the horror that is the Hollow.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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