War in the Hollow: Dec. 14, ‘36

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The food smelled less than appetizing.

I wasn’t hungry, and I suppose that was a good thing. Had I been suffering any sorts of hunger pangs, I doubt they would have survived the encounter with the cooking pots I came upon.

There were two men who, in the loosest of terms, could be called cooks.

They argued and fought in a bastardized French, occasionally striking one another with various ladles and pieces of meat plucked from buckets close at hand.

As they bickered back and forth, a rumbling issued from the building behind them, and their sergeant staggered out into the open air.

He was a monstrous thing, perhaps seven and a half feet high and clothes sewn together from horse blankets. He had a single, red eye set in the center of his brow and a mess of dirty blonde hair seated like a crown atop his head.

With a snarl, he lifted a bushel of cabbage and hurled it at the closest of the men, who ducked the oncoming projectile. In a matter of moments, all three were yelling, and I decided I’d heard quite enough of it.

I drew one of my Colts, and as I eased the hammer back, the cyclops heard me. Even as he yelled at his subordinates to be silent, I pulled the trigger.

The Colt’s heavy slug tore into his head through his single eye, rattled around his skull and exploded from his mouth, carrying away most of his teeth at the same time.

For a moment, he swayed on his feet, and then with a final exhalation, he pitched forward into the cooking pots.

The boiling broth sprayed up and struck the cooks, and as they screamed and shrieked, clawing at their own faces, I fired twice more. The shots took each in the head, and their bodies joined that of their master.

Neither I nor Thorn lingered overlong.

The stench of their food was too much, even for our stomachs.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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