Strangers: The Ursi


They shambled over the wall, and I wished to hell they hadn’t.

They were the largest bears I had ever seen, and they were Hollow born and bred.

I watched as the four bears gathered and held an unmistakable council of war. Armed only with my Colts, I knew I had little chance to survive an encounter unscathed. The smallest of the bears was twelve feet on its hind legs, and the largest topped seventeen.

My only thought was to get home and to find the Browning Automatic Rifle I had tucked away at home.

Unfortunately for me, the wind shifted and carried my scent to them.

From where I stood, I saw their eyes widen and their nostrils flare. All four ursi turned and faced me, and a single, clear word issued from all their throats.


There was no time to run.

I drew both Colts, but by the time the barrels had cleared leather, the bears were barreling toward me. The road shook beneath their combined weight, and the Colts thundered in my hands.

The closest bear dropped, tumbled and rolled over itself, knocking into its nearest companion. I had a moment to twist away and suffered only a glancing blow from a bear’s shoulder. Still, the speed and size of the ursus sent me flying to the side.

I emptied the Colts into that bear’s head, dropping it to the road.

The two remaining bears pivoted toward me as I managed to reload one of the Colts. My head swam, and my vision was blurred, and only four of my shots found the throat of the nearest bear.

The last bear, with spittle hanging from its yellowed teeth, snarled at me and let out a torrent of words that needed no translation. It was cursing me, and I cursed it right back.

The bear charged, and I drew my Bowie knife.

It’s a hell of a thing to scramble onto the back of a charging bear, and not something I’d recommend. At least not when sober.

I buried the Bowie knife into the base of his skull and twisted as he tried to buck me off, and he lived a hell of a lot longer than I expected.

The skins are tacked to the barn wall to cure, and the meat’s been sent into town.

Bear meat has too fat for my taste.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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