April 22, 1875


They kill monsters.

I am not sure what their name is or if they even have one, but I’m damned glad they’re here.

I’d run into them twice thus far. Once, when they called me to them, and the second, well, there’s no way to put a fine point on it. I was in for a beating when they showed up the second time.

When we first met, their headman told me they kill monsters. If I had any doubt after the second meeting, I had none now.

The corpses of a few merfolk had washed up on shore, and while I’m always pleased to see such a sight, it generally does well to investigate what has done the killing.

Well, the strangers had the same idea.

I came upon them in a small cove. There were four of them in two canoes. One man stood in the fore of each while the others kept the canoes steady. Those in the fore were armed with long fishing spears. The men greeted me, their voices whispering through my mind.

I waved in return and waited to see what they were hunting.

I didn’t wait long.

Within minutes, both spearmen struck, their weapons slicing into the water and then jerking back with a speed that left me in awe.

That awe vanished when I saw the creature the men were dragging out.

It was easily as tall as myself and as wide as the canoes were long. The creature was a dull, murky green and the yowl escaping its mouths caused the water around it to boil. Long, insect-like arms snapped at the spears, attempting to draw the men in closer but failing to do so.

In a heartbeat, I was on my feet with my Colts drawn. The men in the canoes hoisted the creature farther into the air and held it skewered there.

I emptied the Colts into the back of the thing, blowing great chunks of it into the water, which continued to boil as the body parts sank into the depths.

In a short time, there was nothing left of the monster, and I confess my hands trembled some as I reloaded the Colts.

The men, for their part, were poling their craft out onto the lake.

For them, there were more monsters to kill.

And as for me, well, I too had more monsters to kill.

#horror #fear

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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