Madness: Nov. 4, 1867

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He sat and waited for death.

It was not a Reaper that came for Thomas Redd, but fear.

At sunrise on the fourth, he walked out into the middle of Ash Street. He carried with him a tall, caned chair, and set it down. Thomas adjusted his clothing, raked his fingers through his hair, and sat down. He stared into the east, never blinking as the sun burned into his eyes and turned his bald pate red.

Some of his neighbors attempted to move him, but it was to no avail.

He could not be budged.

A soft keening sound whistled out of his nose, and his neighbors backed away, which they were wise to do.

The ground around him trembled. Dust rose up and snapped at the air, twisting and curling in ways best described as unnatural.

It is no surprise, then, that I was called to Ash Street.

I approached him cautiously, hands on the butts of the Colts.

Thomas never turned his head. Never blinked his eyes. I could see that the sun had blinded him, and the dust had scratched his eyes.

At my approach, his nostrils flared, the only sign of life other than the curious noise emanating from his nose.

“Thomas,” I said, drawing a Colt.

His lips parted, and he spoke to me in a voice that was barely above a whisper.

“She’s coming for me,” he whispered, and as the words left his mouth, the ground trembled again. “I’m afraid.”

“Who?” I asked.

“Your mother.”

“Why?”

His breath hitched in his throat.

“Because I smell like you,” Thomas whispered, “and she hates you more than life itself.”

“When?”

“Soon,” he answered. “She said she’ll suck the living marrow from my bones.”

I put the barrel of the Colt against his temple and blew his brains out.

He slumped out of his chair.

She might indeed crack his bones and get out the marrow, but I’d be damned if he was alive while she did it.

#fear #horror #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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