July 17, 1938


The click of a hammer shattered the silence.

I came to a stop as the door closed behind me. A middle-aged man sat at a large desk, a book in his hands and a smirk on his face.

The man at the desk glanced at me.

“Duncan,” he nodded. “Still as brash as ever.”

From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of his companion, a much younger man holding a large revolver casually in one hand, the barrel pointed at me.

“Oh, I know,” the man in the chair sighed, closing the book and setting it on his desk. “The shot wouldn’t kill you. It would, though, put you down, and then we could take our time with you. I’m just not in the mood to have blood cleaned off the floor.” He chuckled. “Do you enjoy the double entendre, Mr. Blood?”

I didn’t respond. Instead, I clasped my hands together, well away from the Colts.

“I want my dog,” I told the men, and I eased the pruning knife down from my sleeve with slow, patient movements.

“So, I’ve heard,” the middle-aged man sighed. “It seems to be your constant refrain. Your mother has overheard several of your conversations.”

“Where’s my dog?” I asked.

The man at the desk rolled his eyes. “Oh, I believe Bob and Gerta managed to catch him. He’s upstairs, somewhere,” the man answered, waving his hand in a vague direction.

“How do I get up there?”

The middle-aged man raised an eyebrow and chuckled. His companion laughed as well, and the barrel of his pistol lifted ever so slightly.

I dropped down to one knee, and as the pistol roared above me, I flicked the pruning knife open, bringing the blade up in a long, graceful arc that caught the young gunslinger’s gun-hand at the wrist.

Pistol and hand alike were severed and thudded against the door.

The young man clutched his wrist and staggered back, his face pale with shock and blood loss as I sprang up and over the desk, kicking the other man in the chest and knocking him back to the floor. With a snarl, I kicked in his temple, his body convulsing as he fumbled towards death.

Turning back, I saw the young man sitting on the floor, staring at me in horror.

“Where’s my dog?”

He died before I finished asking my questions.

#horror #fear #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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