Madness: Nov. 26, 1867


She declared herself defender of Cross.

Lydia Knott was five-years-old, and she lived with her grandparents at their home on Hart St. The home was close to Hassell Brook, which fed into the Cross River.

According to Daniel Knott, her grandfather, Lydia announced her new role at breakfast and then left the house, much to the bewilderment of her grandparents. When he went out to see what the child was up to, he found her harnessing a pair of turkeys to her small dogcart. She ignored his questions, climbed into the seat and in a voice of command he had never heard her use before, she told him to step out of the way.

He did so, without thought or question.

The turkeys pranced off and led the child away.

Concerned, Daniel shook off the daze her command had thrown him into and followed as best he could. Soon, he found her at the bridge, parked in the center.

He was about to approach her when one of the Coffin brothers arrived on the other side and started across. The boy called good day to both and continued walking toward them. Before Daniel could respond, Lydia snapped the reins, and the turkeys charged.

The Coffin boy raced back to the other side, the turkeys nipping at his calves and thighs.

“This is my post,” Lydia announced, “and I shall defend it to the last.”

Daniel told the boy to take the long way to my house, and so I was informed of the situation. By the time I arrived, she had successfully kept over half-a-dozen people from using the bridge. When I stepped onto the bridge, her eyes widened and filled with a depth of hate that surprised me. The turkey’s charged, and a hideous torrent of abuse spewed forth from the child’s lips.

I pulled both Colts and shot the birds dead. As they fell, still locked in their traces, the dogcart struck the bodies and was upended, launching the girl out of her seat. She hit the bridge heard, but in a heartbeat, she was up and running, blood streaming from her nose and scrapes on her forehead.

I did not kill the child.

Instead, I sidestepped her attack and let her run into the arms of her grandfather.

We burned the bodies of the birds, and the girl is in her room, screaming about the sanctity of Cross.

That is perhaps the strangest sentiment of all.

#horror #fear #art

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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