July 26, 1938

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The whisper of steel against steel was no deterrent.

The house was madness, a glimpse inside the twisted worlds in which my mother and all her iterations lived.

Stairs that led up invariably opened onto basements. Windows looked into the earth doors collapsed in upon themselves. The farther I traveled, the more the house tried to trap me.

I had given up searching for Turk. I would find him when I wasn’t looking, and so, I wasn’t looking.

I was hunting.

I stepped into a large room and found four men in the middle of practicing with fencing foils. They turned their attention to me. None of us spoke.

I dropped my rucksack to the floor, left the Colts in their holsters, and drew my pruning knife.

The men chuckled, saluted with their swords, and advanced.

There is a tremendous difference between a duel between gentlemen and a fight.

I’m neither a swordsman nor a gentleman. I’m a fighter and a killer.

Killing’s a chore, one that I do well.

The men were quick, stabbing and slashing with their swords.

But I can take pain.

The first stab pierced my left shoulder, and as the man tried to draw the blade out, I slammed my fist onto the thin steel, bending it out of shape and forcing him to let go. As he stepped back, attempting to retreat to the wall where a great many other foils waited, I opened him from one side of his belly to the other. Blood soaked his fencing gear, and he scrambled to catch hold of his intestines as they spilled out onto the floor.

He failed, and then one of the other men got tangled in one of the coils, slipped, and fell.

The remaining two men lost their nerve and tried to flee.

I didn’t let them.

I hamstrung one man, sending him sprawling to the floor, and then I caught the fourth with the tip of the blade, which dug into the bone of his arm, spinning him around. He lashed out with his sword, missed, and died as I leaned in and tore his throat out with my teeth.

The man slumped to the floor as I finished off the hamstrung man and the other who had yet to free himself from the tangled knot of innards.

#horror #fear #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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