Madness: Nov. 25, 1867

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She had a wild streak that cost her everything.

Melanie Throcke went by at a gallop, a gleeful smile on her face and a high note of madness in her voice as she yelled to me. Her chestnut mare was riding hard down the road, foam flying out around the bit and the mare’s eyes rolling in their sockets.

I’d been ignoring Melanie Throcke and her bad acts since she’d turned twenty the year before, and I had every intention of continuing the habit.

The scalps hanging from her saddle caught my eye and changed my mind.

By the time she was past my drive, I was following her backtrail. Spots of blood were easy to see in the dust, and by the time I reached the stonewall along the border of the Hollow and North Road, I found the bodies.

There were three women and two children, all natives, though I knew not to what tribe they belonged. I could see they’d died badly, and it didn’t please me.

I heard a groan from the Hollow, and when I looked up, there was a rough-hewn house a short distance away. A trio of men sat upon the front step, and their somber expressions told me they knew what had occurred.

They called out to me, and I motioned to them, and they left the house. They did not look upon the bodies, though they stiffened as they passed the corpses.

When the men stood beside me, one of the men asked, “Where did she go, Duncan Blood?”

“To her home. It’s where she always runs to.”

The men looked to me, their question unasked.

“I’ll bring you to her,” I told them, “and I’ll kill any who get in our way.”

With my Colts in my hands and our death songs in our ears, I led the way to Melanie Throcke’s house, to take back the scalps and to claim some of our own.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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