Tuttle Farm, 1936

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The bed linen fluttered in the wind and whispered of death.

Tuttle Farm had been empty since 1920 when influenza had carried all five Tuttles off. John Tuttle had owned the land outright, and I made sure the taxes were paid on it. The farm was close to the Hollow, and the fewer people who lived near it, the better as far as I was concerned.

I was headed home from killing the familiars off Lake, and I was in no mood. When I was passing by Tuttle Farm, though, a piece of bed linen hung out to dry caught my attention.

There shouldn’t have been anything there. Not a damned thing. All the buildings had been emptied, and the items burned, just to make sure there was no illness clinging to them.

But there it was.

It was getting on towards evening, and I knew I should have continued to home.

I didn’t.

Instead, I crossed the field and went to each building in turn. Only in the main house did I find sign of inhabitation. There was a pair of bedrolls and the remains of a fire. Some canned goods were stacked off to one side, and two sets of men’s shoes were set near the bedding. A quick look around revealed the dirt around the root cellar’s door was disturbed, and when I went to pull it up, the door wouldn’t move.

It was bolted from below.

I put the bedding on the door and then tore off a few pieces of wood, all of it dry and seasoned. When I had a goodly pile, I set the damned thing alight and left the house. I took the BAR off my shoulder, brought it up and waited.

I didn’t wait long.

An ungodly screeching broke the stillness as smoke poured out from the house, and then the wall exploded outward. A pair of young men threw themselves out into the waning light, their skin bubbling and popping as the sun burned into them as fiercely as the fire had.

I held my fire until I was certain no one else was coming out, and then I shot them both as they writhed upon the ground.

As I cut off their heads and staked their smoldering corpses, the house collapsed on itself, and the earth smothered the fire of its own accord.

It was Cross, after all, and it has as little love for the undead as I do.

#fear #horror #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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