September 18, 1880


They’ve another damned ship.

I spent an entire day walking through some of the thickest forest I’ve seen in a long time. By the time dusk came on yesterday, I had a difficult time staying awake long enough to make certain I wasn’t going to be stumbled upon.

I slept clear through to dawn, and now, as the sun continues climbing towards its zenith, I can see the ship.

It’s come in along a waterway that smells nothing like the ocean and everything like death. I can hear men laughing in Russian and loading supplies. As the day progresses, I find a decent spot to watch from and weave myself a hide from branches. Across the waterway, I can see some houses, and a bit beyond that, I can see the church where I killed one of the men trying to put the bell into place.

I’d come full circle.

Unslinging the Berdan, I loaded a round in, sighted in on the ship and waited for a target to appear.

I didn’t have to wait long.

A number of young women clambered up into the rigging and moved deftly about the spars, checking the ties on the sails and making sure everything was shipshape and Bristol fashion.

They needn’t have worried.

I doubted they’d be crossing the Atlantic to Bristol.

Hell, I had no intention of letting them down from the rigging.

I spread out my ammunition, brought the rifle back up to my shoulder and took aim at the lowest sailor I could see.

The gunshot rolled across the water and took the woman in the small of the back, sending her crashing to the deck. Before she’d even let go of the rigging, though, I was reloading.

None of the sailors panicked, and it made me smile.

I’d been counting on their courage.

I could see rifles being passed up to the women at the top of the rigging, and I shot another sailor closer to the deck.

I killed three more before one of the women pointed toward me, but I killed her too.

In a moment, only two remained, and we began a duel at long range.

It didn’t take me long to knock them both down from the spars or to pack up my gear as the thunder of hooves rolled out of the town across the water.

Whistling, I slipped into the woods in search of another spot to kill from.

#horrorstories #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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