War in the Hollow: Dec. 15, ‘36

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He called me by name and lived long enough to regret it.

The cardinal must have been waiting for me, though I’ve no idea as to how he knew I would be along that particular path.

When he stepped out from behind the hedge, hat in hand, he had an air of certainty about him.

“Duncan Blood,” he said, his English strong with only the slightest of accents.

“Aye,” I answered, hands on the butts of the Colts.

“You’ll have no need for those,” he stated, and I felt an impulse to let my hands hang loose. For a moment, I considered fighting it, and then, out of curiosity, I let them drop.

A broad smile filled his face, and the cardinal nodded.

“I have it on good authority that you have been killing a great many of my congregation,” the cardinal continued. “This is not something the Lord can allow to persist.”

“And why is that?” I asked.

“Because we are doing His work,” the cardinal informed me. “We are ushering the just to the kingdom of Heaven.”

“I’ve no interest in that,” I told him. “My concern is with the push into Cross.”

The cardinal shrugged. “Your concern doesn’t matter. You are merely an impediment to the greater glory of God. Do you understand me?”

“Oh, I do,” I answered.

“Good,” the cardinal smiled. “Now, while it bothers me to do this, you must draw your righthand pistol.”

I did as the man asked, leaving the weapon hanging by my side.

“Excellent,” he nodded. “Now, bring it to your temple.”

I did so, the steel cold against my skin. The hound growled low in his throat, but the dog was smart and waited to see what would happen.

“Squeeze the trigger,” the cardinal commanded.

I pointed the Colt at him and did as he said.

The bullet caught him in the throat, a spray of arterial blood soaking the hedge as he staggered into it and collapsed as he tried to hold himself up. I put another round into the small of his back, and he dropped dead to the ground.

I reloaded the Colt, holstered it, and continued on my way, the hound trotting at my side.

#horror #fear #art

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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