Fertilizer, 1895


They killed Kent Mast.

No one knows what, if any, reason they had for it. Perhaps they felt slighted in some way. Perhaps it was done out of pure meanness.

No one got the chance to ask them.

Well, more importantly, I didn’t get a chance to ask them.

Two nights ago, Kent was called out from his house to give a hand to some folks along Gordon Way. Neither he nor his wife gave it any mind, and so he left around eight with their one dray horse and his work gloves.

They found his body in the morning on Washington Street. He’d been beaten to death, and from the marks and swelling on his body, whoever had done, it had taken their time.

Mrs. Mast brought Joy with her to identify Kent’s body. She and the girl stood there in silence, and after a short time, they nodded in unison.

I’d just come up to the crowd as they picked up the body and loaded it into the back of a wagon. Mrs. Kent and the girl refused to ride with it, and none there felt the need to press newly minted widow and child on the subject.

Soon, the three of us were alone on the street, the dirt still wet with Kent’s blood.

“You’ll bury him, Duncan?” Mrs. Mast asked.

I nodded.

“And with your family?”

“If you like.”

“We would,” the woman answered.

“What of you?”

“We’ve work to do before we go to my own people,” Mrs. Mast told me. “Meet us at the Hollow in two days. We’ll say our goodbyes, and you’ll tell me how the funeral went.”

I left them on the road and did as she wanted. I made the arrangements for the funeral, dug the grave in my family’s plot in Old Cross Cemetery, and this evening, I went to the Hollow.

The woman and the girl stood on the other side of the stonewall, the battered swollen bodies of half a dozen men in the field.

Whoever they were, they’d died badly, and I was glad to see it.

“Is it done?” she asked in a raw voice.

I nodded.

She pulled Joy close. “I’ll be back from time to time, Duncan. There are more to kill.”

I nodded and watched as they walked towards the tree-line. In a moment, they were gone. Only the bodies remained, and soon enough, the meat would feed the Hollow.

It was better than the bastards deserved.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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