Selling Flowers, 1910


She had the stink of the Hollow on her.

She had set up beside Cornwell Black’s farm, and I doubt she received permission from the old man. He’d been a crotchety bastard for his entire life.

I walked on the opposite side of the road, wary of the girl and her wares while she sat and knitted in silence.

There was nothing good about her or the flowers. There was a wrongness to them. A sense of darkness foul and fetid.

But the young man who stopped at the stand seemed not to notice these things.

I stopped a short distance away, turned to look at them and packed my pipe as I did so.

The young man, a stranger to town, took a step closer to her, and the girl blushed as she looked down.

He chuckled and motioned towards the flowers. I heard him ask which were her favorite, and the girl put her knitting down and pointed towards a bouquet in the center. When he gestured to it, she nodded enthusiastically, and he offered to buy it from her.

Her look of excitement was genuine, and she told him in a soft, rich voice to pick the flowers up.

Smiling, he did so. His fingers wrapped around the stems, and a heartbeat later, he was jerked down and forward. His face paled, and for a moment, he stood bent over. First, he appeared confused, then an expression of pure agony filled his face, and he struggled to free his arm.

He did so after a brief struggle, holding up a ruined mass of flesh.

In the blink of an eye, I saw that his shirt sleeve had been stripped away, as had his skin, and the muscles hung in long, ragged strips. Blood poured onto the ground, and as I drew my Colts, the girl sprang into action.

She kicked the young man in the back of the knee, sending him to his knees, and she looped a length of yarn around his neck. As she garroted him, she twisted his body around and crouched behind him, using him as a shield. The first slugs of the Colt slammed into him, and then she dragged the dying man into her flowers and vanished.

After a moment, the stand disappeared as well. All that was left was a puddle of blood in the road.

A common sight in Cross.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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