Strangers in Cross: Jan. 18, ‘38

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Rose Franken was a kind woman with a sweet disposition.

I suspect that’s what killed her.

Rose was a recent transplant to Cross, a rare breed of person who came to the town and found that it was right for her.

She was a forward-thinking woman, and she lived on her own in a well-kept home on Olive Street. Rose worked at the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University, assisting in the library. She was, from what I recall, a woman of encyclopedic knowledge. If you were to ask her where a particular volume was and whether that volume was available, she would be able to put her hands upon it or tell you when it was due back.

Rose was one of the few people I enjoyed speaking with at the university.

I was prowling through Cross, searching for sign and waiting for the ravens to reach out to me to let me know if any of the monsters had been spotted.

As I walked along Washington Street, the ravens landed in the trees and bade me follow. I did so, drawing my weapons as they guided me onto Olive Street, landing on the roof of Rose’s home.

Some of her neighbors saw me and wisely drew their blinds.

When I reached her home, the front door was ajar, and I let myself in. A tea kettle whistled, its high, keening cry filling the air.

I approached the kitchen with caution, the hammers cocked on the Colts, anger growing in my heart.

When I stepped into the kitchen, I found Rose on the floor dead. The monster, in the form of an elderly woman I did not know, sat gasping in a chair, flickering in and out of the old woman’s shape. A pair of knitting needles had been driven through the thing’s left eye, and its black blood trickled down the cheek.

It was dying, and I had no intention of helping it along.

With its remaining eye, the creature watched me take the kettle off the burner and pour myself the tea Rose had readied. I carried the cup to the table, pulled a chair out, and sat down.

It took the monster nearly an hour to die, and I enjoyed the tea.

#horror #fear #art #writing

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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