Grass and Leaf, 1884


My mother has a temper.

She had spent too much time in the Hollow when I was a little boy before my aging slowed to a crawl. My father had warned her off, and even some of the darker creatures on our lands had told her the same.

Still, she had not listened.

The more she frequented the Hollow, the less motherly she became.

On a fine morning, she tried to cut my throat at the dining table. I was ten.

I took the knife from her and killed her with a rage that only a Blood can muster. When I finished, I found my father and told him what had occurred.

I’m not sure of what became of my mother’s spirit. Not at first. I always assumed she’d gone off to hell, but that wasn’t the case.

Some years later, her ghost set up shop in her old sewing room. Still, other facets of herself settled in the Hollow, and I suspect that other versions of herself come through from time to time. They all share one thing in common: their hatred of me.

This evening, a harsh wind blew across Blood Lake and drove a cloud of pollen and dust before it. When the wind broke apart against a grassy hillside, the pollen and dust settled down as I watched from the top of the hill.

Beneath me, the earth rumbled and shook. Leaves fell from the small bushes and littered the long grass. A heartbeat later, the vegetation twisted itself into knots, and a pair of men and one pony were formed.

The men conversed for a moment in a harsh and bitter language, and I caught only one word.

My name.

Without hesitation, I stood, drew my Colts and fired.

Leaves and grass exploded from the wounds, sap soaked their clothes, and for a moment, each creature held his form before collapsing.

Then, the pony charged me, and I had to kill that damned thing too.

The wind sprang back up, dragged the leaf debris into the air and formed a twisted mouth I remembered all too well.

My mother’s mouth sneered at me, turned on the wind, and raced back across the lake.

With a sigh, I sat down, reloaded the Colts, and wished she’d stayed in hell.

#horror #fear #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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