November 2, 1891

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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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