Information, 1936

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He stopped me on Blood Road to pass on a bit of news.

Carl Mydans had been born and raised in Cross and, when he was old enough, he had joined the Navy and left town about as quick as he could. I didn’t blame him. When he was 13, Carl had the misfortune of watching a bear with two heads eat his father.

Eventually, Carl had returned from his travels, and he had settled down at the ripe age of 60. But not in Cross. No, he had taken up residence in Pepperell, but he did find occasion to come into town now and again. Mostly it was to jaw with me and one or two others he cared to see.

I was walking and considering how I’d had to butcher Joel Hanson the day before when Carl pulled up beside me, his wife and their children in the carriage with him.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes, Duncan Blood,” Carl told me.

“Why’s that?” I asked. “My bourbon’s at home.”

His children giggled, and his wife raised an eyebrow at my statement, but Carl merely shook his head. “We passed by the Church of the Good Shepherd not twenty minutes ago.”

“And?” I asked, disliking the way the conversation was going.

“Doors are open, Duncan,” he told me. “Looks like they’ve been open all night, too.”

“Pastor Daniel?”

“No sign of him,” Carl continued. “I took a quick look ‘round the back, and some of the windows are busted in. All the rose bushes, they’ve been pulled up by the roots.”

I shook my head. “Where are you headed?”

“Into town to stop at Von Epp’s,” he explained. “The kids want new books, and they’ve worked hard for ‘em.”

“Make sure you’re home before dark,” I warned.

Carl nodded.

I looked from him to his children and then his wife. “There’ve been some mountain lion sightings,” I said to them. “At least two. If they’re hunting together, they won’t be bothered by the size of your horse.”

“Would they attack?” Carl’s daughter asked, holding onto her doll protectively.

“They might,” I said. “Best not to tempt them.”

“A wise course,” Carl’s wife agreed.

Carl tipped his hat, clucked at the horse and gave the reins a gentle snap.

As they headed into town, I adjusted the Colts in their holsters and started for the Church of the Good Shepherd.

#fear #horror #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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