War in the Hollow: Dec. 11, ‘36


They were waiting for me.

Someone, or something, had told them I was on my way, and so the four-man team had set themselves up behind an old stone wall mounted with iron pickets.

But they were facing the wrong way.

Earlier in the morning, I’d shifted course and taken the righthand fork of a path. That simple act had brought me around to the back of the little ambuscade, and it had set them up as pretty as a picture for me.

The sight of the men with weapons at the ready suggested that not only were they expecting me, but that they might not be the only ones who were.

With that in mind, I left the Colts holstered, shucked my rucksack and my Spenser, and drew my Bowie knife from its sheath.

There’s an art to killing with a knife, and any fool can stab.

But, at times, it’s good to play the fool.

The first man was dead and falling before his three comrades knew I was there, and what followed next was as short and as brutal a fight as ever I’ve engaged in.

The surviving men tried to bring their rifles to bear. Before they could, a second man was gasping out his last, and I was too close to the other two for them to risk firing.

They should have, though.

One man parried a thrust from me, only to go down like a felled ox as his comrade swung wide with the butt of his rifle, clubbing the man in the head. The man with the wild swing swore in French and died with those words on his lips as I drove the blade of the knife up into his jaw with enough force to knock his hat off his head and put the point through his skull.

I kicked the corpse off the blade, turned around, and saw the surviving soldier struggling to sit up.

A boot to his face shattered the man’s nose, drove him to the ground again, and left him easy prey.

I finished him off and did a quick search of the bodies. I found three bags of tobacco and a box of wooden matches.

Thorn’s expression was one of mild amusement, and I shook my head at him.

The tobacco was too damned good to leave on a corpse.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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