Strangers in Cross: Jan. 5, ‘38


The truck stood idling in the morning cold.

I’d tracked the footprints through the night, losing them once near dawn as snow squall came down upon Cross.

It was enough time for the creature to strike.

I heard the truck before I saw it, the engine idling heavy and hard in the cold air. When I came up around it, I found the driver’s door open and a trail of blood leading across the road and into the tree line.

The blood was fresh. Not steaming, but not yet coagulated.

Stepping into the woods with the Colts drawn, I tracked the blood and the boot prints of the man who was bleeding. Of the creature, there was no sign.

That changed a heartbeat later.

Near a tall fir tree, the man lay on his side, booted feet twitching as the creature, a dull, vaguely humanoid shape of green flesh, drank deeply from the man. Its face was latched to his neck, blood leaked from a wound in his belly, and a final, piteous moan slipped from the dying man’s lips.

I opened fire.

The roar of the Colts shook snow from the tree branches as the bullets tore into and through the creature. The slugs finished off the driver and shredded the chest of the creature as it tried to twist away.

It shrieked with fury and hunger as it brought its head around to face me, and I put a bullet through its open mouth. Teeth and brains exploded from the exit wound, and it collapsed to snow. Steam rose from both bodies, intermingled, separated, and drifted in two columns toward the morning sky.

My ears rang, and anger thundered through me as I reloaded my weapons.

Worry gnawed at me as well.

What if the others had split apart as well?

How many of them was I hunting?

#horror #fear #art #writing

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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