Return to Baker’s Mill, 1936


I heard her humming in the morning air.

I took the long way ‘round to Baker’s Mill, intent on coming up on the structure with the sun at my back. When I got within about a hundred yards or so, I came upon an old shack, and from within its decrepit depths came the sound of a child humming.

Peering in, I saw a girl standing near a makeshift counter, humming to herself as she prepared a dinner for the oven. When I cleared my throat, she looked over her shoulder and smiled at me.

“You’re Duncan Blood?” she asked.

Wary, I only nodded in response.

“They’re waiting for you,” the child said, the smile which had been on her lips faltering for the first time. “They told me last night that they were waiting.”

“How many of them?”

The girl shrugged and mixed the batter in her hands faster. “Ma and Pa for sure. Willoughbys, too. Maybe even the Coltranes. There was a mighty lot of yellin’ the other night.”

“When did they talk to you?”

“This morning,” she answered. “Just before dawn. Ma came in, and she said, ‘Mae, you make sure you tell that good for nuthin’ Blood we’re awaitin’ on him, and he better get in before we get him.’”

“Do you remember anything else?”

She shook her head.

“You look like you could do with a meal,” I observed. “Why n’t you head on to the Diner? You tell Steven that I sent you. He’ll fix you up. Anything you want to eat.”

Mae’s lower lip trembled as she put the mixing bowl down. “You’ll be quick? Merciful, as the good book says?”


Without another word, Mae left the shack, and I followed close behind.

When I reached the remains of Baker’s Mill, I didn’t waste time going in. I slipped off the coiled rope I had brought with me, found a good place to begin, and threw a looped end up and over an exposed beam. I cinched it tight, walked the rest around a solid oak, and started the process of bringing the place down.

Within seconds, the first of the dead screamed.

A few tried to make their way out, but I stood between them and the forest, and the water looped ‘round the mill itself.

I killed nine vampires before the sun climbed to noon and another two after I ate my lunch.

I was busy.

#fear #horror #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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