Strangers in Cross: Jan. 3, ‘38

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Once more, the ravens serve me well.

They are scouring the skies of Cross, searching for sign of the creatures that slew the Rois and assumed the family members’ forms.

The old one-eyed raven has returned, his feathers white and his demeanor fierce. I know him from before, and of all the names he has, I prefer Grimnir best.

It was Grimnir who brought me news of Art Grafton’s horses, and I went to Art’s house on East Road near the border with my own land to see what was going on.

I found Art’s horses still in their traces, snow on their backs as they stood in silence a short distance from the old auto he tinkered with when his rheumatism wasn’t acting up. It was strange to see his animals out in the weather. Not only was Art a careful judge of horseflesh, but he was genuinely sympathetic to their plight as dray animals. He kept them in harness only as long as necessary.

Unless he was dead, Art wouldn’t leave them outside.

Art lived alone, and so I had no compunction about entering through the front door. It was, as usual, unlocked. The house was far colder than I had ever felt it, another bad sign about Art’s health.

When I reached the parlor, I found Art, and he was most certainly not alive.

Yet neither was the creature which had attacked him.

Art was stretched out on the floor; the creature, clad in the garb of Harriet Lindell, was sprawled across him. Much like the one I had slain in the hotel, this creature was a vomitous spread of flesh that had seeped out onto the rug. An old bayonet, one Art had put to good use in his youth when fighting outside of Atlanta, protruded from the center of Harriet’s dress.

In silence, I went outside, gathered the horses and brought them into the barn. I gave each a good rub down, plenty of feed, and then went back into the house.  

Art had been my friend, and I’d no intention of leaving him covered in the creature’s filth.

#horror #fear #art #writing

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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