Strangers in Cross: Jan. 30, ‘38

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They were missing, and they were dead.

I heard from a member of the Historical Society that several students at the Cross branch of Miskatonic University were missing.

The young men, all members of the ski team, had gone into the hills on the western edge of town to ski. We’d had a significant amount of snow over the past few days, and evidently, the students had decided it was a good time to ski. There was rumor that they were looking for more of the damned creatures that I’d spent the better part of the month killing, and if that was true, well, they found them.

I am not a skier by inclination, though I don’t mind strapping on a pair of snowshoes. So, thus equipped, I took the Spencer and went in search of the missing students.

It didn’t take long.

What was left of them was a frozen pile of blood-soaked clothes and offal that not even the scavengers had touched.

The tracks that led away from the massacre were the same as those which had brought me to the Roi household at the beginning of the month.

As I was studying the tracks and considering why the creature might have shifted back to its natural form, I caught movement far ahead of me. I saw the beast slip between a pair of trees. I could tell that it had not seen me, and with that thought foremost in my mind, I eased the Spencer off my back, settled down in the snow, and waited.

For nearly half an hour, I sat there, the rifle at the ready, my breathing calm and measured.

When the creature appeared, I was ready.

The shot rang out in the stillness, shook some of the snow off the nearby branches, and took the monster in the center of its head. Whatever passed for its brains exploded in a fine mist, and the creature collapsed lifelessly to the snow.

I made my way to it, my nose wrinkling at the putrid stench rolling off the corpse. It was thinner than the others had been, and I suspect it had been on the verge of starvation before it found the skiers.

The thought brought a smile to my face, and I whistled as I made my way home.

#horror #fear #art #writing

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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