Strangers in Cross: Jan. 28, ‘38

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The footsteps led deep into my lands.

I’d awakened to the sounds of the ravens screaming. The words spilling from them were nigh on the foulest I’d ever any of them speak, and when I went to my window, I saw why.

There were tracks that crossed through the thick snow in front of my house and into my forest.

It was, I learned from Grimnir, a single beast who had come close to the house. The ravens had attacked it, but the monster had managed to flee. I suspected the damned thing didn’t know I lived here, and it’s a pity the creature hadn’t made it inside.

There were worse things than myself lurking in the halls of my home.

I took my time getting dressed and breaking my fast. By the time I had finished my second cup of coffee, I was ready to hunt.

I strapped on the Colts and my Bowie knife, and I took down a double-barrel shotgun. I loaded the gun with buckshot, lit my pipe, and made my way out into the January cold.

I tracked the monster for hours, finally coming to a stop five miles in. Ahead of me stood an old barn, one that hadn’t been used since before 1700. And with good reason.

There was a creature in there that even my father had feared.

The rattling of chains caught my ear, and I made my way up the hill.

A groan rolled through the forest as I caught sight of the monster pushing the door open and then slipping inside when it saw me.

When I reached the top of the hill, the monster shrieked and tried to flee the barn.

I shot it with both barrels of the shotgun, cutting the beast in half. As it fell to either side of the door, pale white hands, terribly large and human-like in appearance, reached out and dragged them back into the darkness.

There was a sniffing sound, a chuckle, and a deep voice asked in archaic German, “Is that a Blood I smell?”

“It is.”

“Where is your father, little Blood?”

“Missing,” I replied.

“Where?”

“Gods’ Hollow.”

The creature in the barn laughed and closed the door, saying, “I told him to stay out of it.”

The door locked from the inside.

Fear quickened my steps home.

#horror #fear #art #writing

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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