Strangers in Cross: Jan. 15, ‘38


The creatures despised water.

It was a fortuitous discovery.

I was on the edge of Blood Lake, following a trail left by a pair of the creatures. I found the occasional bodies of animals, each stripped of its fur and holes in their bellies, and I knew the creatures were feeding as they sought to find more sustenance and a place to hide.

I hoped to deprive them of both.

While they followed the shore of the lake, they did not appear to make any great efforts to avoid the water. Perhaps they didn’t know of its effects upon their flesh. I confess I was pleasantly surprised when I witnessed it.

I had a sawed-off shotgun with me, a keepsake from my time in the Great War. I had the bastard loaded with buckshot and a pouch full of shells on my hip.

When the creatures attempted an ambush, I was glad for the weapon. Not only for its ability to wreak havoc on a body close-by but for the fear it instilled in them.

The buckshot tore through them, sending a splattering of ichor and foul flesh out in a wide spray onto the snow. As the creatures attempted to recoup, I reloaded the shotgun and fired again.

Their shrieks echoed across the water, and they stumbled back and away, injured and seeking refuge.

I followed them, leaving a trail of spent cartridges in my wake.

One of them stepped into the water, and the sound that erupted from its fetid mouth was something I’d not heard before.

The creature stiffened, shaking violently for a moment before it collapsed into the water and vanished. Its compatriot tried to flee, but I drove it into Blood Lake with a pair of well-placed shots.

As it, too, disappeared beneath the water, an oily slick rose to the surface. Reloading, I waited to see if anything might crawl out. When nothing did, the ravens sang out from the trees, and I nodded my agreement.

It was good to see the monsters suffer.

#horror #fear #art #writing

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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