Stories from the Sentinel: 1856

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She was patient, quiet, and a hell of a fighter.

None of it did her any good.

Samantha Rudnick was a woman who could write, shoot, ride and fight better than most men I knew, and in the middle of the 19th century, that was saying a hell of a lot.

She took to the Cross Sentinel when she was twenty-one, shortly after something from the Hollow came out and ate her husband and their two-year-old daughter.

There wasn’t a story Sam shied away from, nor was there anything she was afraid of.

She should have been.

In 1856, Sam was called out to the Coffin Farm to have a chat about the disappearance of a hired hand. Now, a young man running off wasn’t any big deal. When a young man leaves without his wages, belongings, or his shoes, well, that’s a different story.

Sam went out there to get her head around the story, as it were, and to make sure she knew how much to hide and what to lie about before she went back to the newspaper to write up her copy for the following day’s edition.

According to the Coffin family, she did just that, and then she went out to the young man’s bunk to see what she could.

It was a bad decision.

I arrived at the farm as she was crossing the back yard to the small bunkhouse, and she paused long enough to call out and wave to me. I waved in return, and I saw her die.

Whatever had gotten the young man had come back for seconds.

It was a great, monstrous beast that sprang out of the open doorway, and by the time my guns cleared their holsters, she was dead. My Colts roared, the bullets smashing into the creature’s bulbous eyes as it reared back. A spray of blood clouded the air, and Sam’s lower half, remained standing, the rest of her gone into the creature’s gullet.

It vanished before I could finish it off.

We searched for two hours before we found the damned thing. It was half-hidden beneath a beaver lodge.

Turns out, it had choked to death on Sam’s upper half.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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