April 28, 1875


The boy was terrified.

I found him lying on my front porch close to noon, his eyes wide open as he shook violently against the screen door. It was the rattling of the door in its frame that had caught my attention and brought me, cursing, out to the porch. When I saw the child, I scooped him up, brought him into the study and set him down on the divan.

A whiff of brandy and a cup of tea helped him gather his senses, and in rough, Canadian French, he told me what had brought him to my home.

He and his family had been walking along Blood Road when they heard the sound of people singing. There was a rhythmic quality to it, one that reminded him and his family of working in the fields outside of Quebec. They were migrant farmhands looking for work, and so they had made their way to the source of the sound.

When they arrived, the boy stated they had seen a type of people and crop strange to them. His father had hailed the workers in English, and the fieldhands had stopped. As one, they had turned toward the Canadians, opened their mouths, and shrieked.

The boy, whose name was Louis, was a little hard of hearing, and so what had once been a curse to him had turned out to be a blessing. He had lived while his parents and older siblings let out brief, agonized screams before their heads exploded.

Mine was the first house he had come to.

I poured him another cup of tea, told him to remain in the study, and strapped on my Colts. Louis begged me not to go, but I assured him I would be fine.

And I hoped I would be.

By the time I reached the end of my drive, I heard the singing, and, like Louis’ family, I followed it to the source.

I didn’t call out to the workers as I stepped over the bodies of the boy’s family.

I didn’t say a word.

My guns spoke for me.

The strangers died as they opened their mouths and then as they ran.

I set the field on fire, rolled the bodies of the Louis’ family into it, and then made my way home. There was a boy to care for, now, and I knew he was afraid.

I had to tell him that his monsters were dead.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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