Strangers: The Musician

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Music did not tame the beasts.

With the building of the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University, the number of strangers arriving from the Hollow increased exponentially.

This, needless to say, did not please me.

Far too many times, I intercepted some person or creature which had no place within the boundaries of Cross. Most I slew, others I chased back into the Hollow, but some few did manage to make it into town, where they sought – and found – refuge within the walls of the University.

On several occasions, I made my own way to the University, but it was in search of a specific individual. Sometimes, it was a person. Others, it was an animal. And, far too frequently, it was something in between.

I was outside the Cross Historical Society one evening when a creature which was not quite a dog went barreling past me. The damned thing was hairless, its eyes a silvery green, and the tail on it was better suited for a bullwhip than the back end of a dog. Its paws were hooves and evidently shoed, for as the thing ran, it threw sparks up from the stones.

And it ran straight for the University.

Resisting the urge to shoot the animal down in the street, I loosened my Colts in their holsters and followed after the creature. When I was close to the school’s grounds, I heard the piano.

Heard it, and saw the animals slipping out of the darkness and making their way unerringly toward the University.

I found the building from whence the sound of the piano came. It was an easy enough task, given that nearly a score of creatures was gathered around one window. When I drew near it, the music’s tempo changed, and they charged me.

The fight was short and brutal and had I not been the right foul bastard that I am, they would have killed me. As it was, I stepped over their bodies, smashed open the window, and climbed in.

The man at the piano looked at me with a horrified expression, even as his hands flew across the keys. He looked down at the instrument in disbelief, then played harder, his eyes flicking past me to search the window for some sign of help.

There was only me.

It took them a week to clean his guts out of the piano.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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