The Bridge, 1936

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I walked alone across the bridge.

Ned Jones had helped me dispose of the bodies of the Sattler family. Once they were decapitated, their mouths stuffed with the buds of wild roses, he had gone on to my home to gather up young Ben and to bring him to town.

It bothered me that there were now two orphaned children, and the thought of it gnawed at the depths of my memories. As I worried at the problem, I struck out towards the farthest point of town.

The covered bridge stretched over the Cross River to a few scattered outbuildings that had sprung up when the mill was first built. Normally, I didn’t pay much mind to those structures. Transients holed up in them now and again, but given that this newest vampiric scourge seemed to have arrived with some drifting fieldhands, I thought it might be best to give the buildings a quick look.

I was halfway across the bridge when the wind shifted, and I caught the smell of the undead.

I stopped where I was and listened, and as I did so, I heard a single, soft pat.

Turning towards the sound, I saw a droplet of blood off to one side, and as I looked up into the darkened rafters, I saw them.

Three women were pressed between the wood and the underside of the bridge’s roof. Their clothes were threadbare, their hair in disarray, but their faces were flush. Lips were red and plump, the skin disappearing into the necks of their dresses pale and dreadful.

These were not familiars. They were vampires. Perhaps two or three days old.

I drew both Colts, took a step back and aimed not for the undead but rather the ceiling slightly above them.

The roar of the pistols reverberated off the walls of the bridge as holes were punched through the old shingles. Sunlight poured in and struck the vampires in their faces, and as they shrieked – smoke pouring out of their wounds – they burst into bright blue flames and crashed to the floor.

As the vampires tried to crawl away, I kicked them back into the light and put more holes into the roof.

Once the women lay still, I dragged them into the sun, where I removed their charred heads and dumped them in the river.

The infection was spreading.

#fear #horror #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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