Strangers: Birds

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Joe Le Clerq was a pain in the ass.

I can’t put too fine of a point on that.

He was from Louisiana, and I’m not sure what dragged him up North. It sure as hell wasn’t his personality. That man would stomp around town with damned spurs on, even though he didn’t own a horse.

I doubt he even knew how to ride one.

He’d walk into a bar and talk about how the South will rise again. Generally, most of the men would ignore him. On occasion, there would be an old member of the GAR in the place who would remind Le Clerq about how the South was put down the first time. Usually, at that point in the conversation, Le Clerq would finish his beer and take leave of the establishment.

Well, one morning, I heard a few shots come from the direction of the lake, and since I hadn’t given anyone any sort of leave to hunt, I set off in a hurry.

I found Le Clerq with a brace of ducks and a pump-action shotgun.

With my Colts leveled at his belly, I told him to leave the birds and to get off my property. For a moment, he protested, evidently not believing I would put a slug in his belly.

The cocking of the hammers on the revolvers changed his mind.

He cursed me out roundly, but he left all the same.

After he was gone, I took a look at the ducks. Their coloring was wrong. A little too vibrant in some places, a tad dull in others. They were stamped with the strangeness of the Hollow, and I buried them there on the lake’s shore.

Joe Le Clerq, apparently, came back for them later.

It was a decision he would come to regret.

From what I understand, he plucked and gutted the birds when he got home, tossed them in a pot, and set them to boil a bit to tenderize the meat. He added his vegetables, a handful of spice, and then he sat down to his dinner.

It was his last.

His neighbors found him on the front porch, naked and dead. He’d cut open his stomach and pulled his guts out. Being from the Hollow, the birds were evidently poisonous.

Le Clerq was a pain in the ass, but at least he’s dead now.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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