November 4, 1891

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Well, damn.

It made the god-awfullest sound I’ve heard.

I don’t know what it is or where in the hell the Hollow conjured it up from, but it gave me a damned fright, and I’m not too proud to admit it.

I came down out of the sun over the Hollow and the sound of rapid-fire combined with whatever machinery powered it. The machine swept low, bullets tearing up the earth and smashing into the stonewall I took refuge behind.

The machine stank something fierce and belched out a hideous smoke as it turned sharply to the left and climbed back into the sky. It was then, for a moment before it was hidden by the sun, that I saw the machine had a woman controlling it.

Her long hair snapped out as she glanced over her shoulder and vanished.

The thunderous roar of the machine told me she was still above me, and I had no doubt she was preparing to shoot again.

I wasn’t afraid any longer, though. Not with having seen there was a person guiding the machine.

I settled into a better position behind the wall, drew one of the Colts and cocked the hammer back. With the stones bracing my arm, I waited.

It didn’t take long before she was back.

I saw flames spit from a pair of guns mounted on either side of the machine’s front, and as she urged the machine down toward me, I fired.

The bullet wasn’t destined for her.

It had never been.

It was the machine I’d been aiming for.

The slug crashed into the front of the machine, and whatever powered, it came to a halt. The woman’s head jerked back, and then she slumped forward as the machine twisted head over tail. Beneath me, the ground shook, and the Hollow groaned.

As I watched, waiting to see if I needed to shoot again, great roots pierced the dirt and exploded into the afternoon sky. For a moment, they writhed and twisted in the sunlight with all the grotesque grace of a dying cuttlefish. Then, the roots snapped out, wrapped around the machine and pulled it – and the woman’s body – down into the depths.

I was left with ringing ears and an unanswered question.

What in the hell was it?

#fear #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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