Strangers: Carrier

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Death comes in many forms.

On an August night in 1880, as the night insects sang out through the darkness around Blood Lake, I wandered the shore, rifle in hand and Colts on my hips. There had been curious creatures making their way from the Hollow, and I’d killed a few recently.

For three hours I roamed, then, as midnight neared, I decided it was time to go home.

It was then that I heard a soft splashing coming from a short distance offshore.

I knew it couldn’t be any of the naiads; they kept to themselves unless I was actively in the water.

Looking out over the water, I saw a figure coming closer, and I was surprised to see it was a young woman. She was dressed in oriental finery, and her movements, despite the resistance of the water, were graceful.

As the half-moon shined down upon us, it caught in her hair and the earrings she wore. The light glowed in her eyes, and the water seemed to part for her.

Had a barn owl not taken that moment to screech past me as it sought its prey, I might not have survived the encounter with the strange young woman.

As it was, the bird broke the line of sight for the briefest of moments, but it was enough.

Blinking, I saw the young woman continuing her advance, but I also saw what was in her wake.

Dead fish and frogs, turtles and even a few fisher-cats floated in the water, and more joined them as she moved along.

Her presence was poison, and she was killing all those who were near here.

I snapped the rifle up to my shoulder and put a round through her forehead. Her brains were blown out the back, but she only laughed and hurried toward me.

I emptied the Spencer into her chest, but it didn’t slow her.

She scrambled onto shore with the sickening grace of a crab, and as she reached for me, I blew her hands off with the Colts. Her screams shook the trees, and a moment later, I shot through her neck, decapitating her.

She’s buried in an iron drum on a small island in the lake, and every so often I go out to make sure she’s there.

One day, I’m certain she won’t be.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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