November 2, 1891


They came out of the Hollow hell for leather.

Didn’t do horse or rider any good.

The man could ride, I’ll give him that. His horse stood at a good 18 hands, and the man was not dwarf. They cleared the split rail fence, which had appeared overnight, and had the man had a gun in his hand, I think there would have been more of a fight.

As it was, they weren’t expecting me. Nor I them, for that matter.

But I was armed.

The rider turned his steed toward me as I drew the Colts, and I was loathed to shoot the horse. The animal had none of the Hollow’s taint to it, and I’d not kill it unless I had to.

Still, the rider tried to run me down, and my lack of equine bloodlust forced me to spring away, sending off a pair of shots, only one of which clipped the rider. The man swore and wheeled his horse about, dropping to the other side of the saddle to avoid giving me a clear shot at his torso and his head.

I didn’t shoot him in the leg either. The .44 slug would have torn right through him and buried itself in the horse’s back.

I crouched down and waited for a shot, and it came a moment later.

The rider adjusted his grip on the reins, and his left hand went up a tad, and I sent a round into it. Fingers exploded away from the palm, and the reins fell to the horse’s back with a spray of blood. The rider grasped the saddle’s pommel with his ruined hand while clawing at the reins with the other.

I fired again, and the bullet tore the right hand off at the wrist. Dark, arterial blood pumped out as the rider urged his horse back toward the Hollow.

Straightening, I stepped to one side, took aim at the rider’s back, and shot him twice.

He sagged, struggled, then collapsed to the ground, his boots becoming entangled in the stirrups for a moment before the horse shook him free.

The steed, no stranger to combat, glanced at the rider, then walked to a patch of grass and began to feed.

Walking up to the rider, I put two more rounds in the back of his head, blowing his brains out.

Soon enough, I’d rolled the body into the Hollow, and I rode the horse home.

#fear #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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