November 10, 1891


The unmistakable whistle of a Whitworth rifle cut through the air.

The bullet smashed into the tree beside my head, cutting the tree and shaking dead leaves from the branches as I dropped to the ground.

I lay where I was, pressed against the earth, listening.

Neither bird nor animal called out, and I waited to hear what the sniper would do.

Minutes passed by, and then the silence was broken by the whisper of a boot against brush. The copse to my left shuddered as another round from the Whitworth was fired.

The shot had come from my front, perhaps fifty yards, no more than sixty. Beyond that, the shots wouldn’t reach me. The forest was too crowded. I drew one of my Colts and brought it up. Beneath my coat, I eased the hammer back, the fabric silencing the telltale click of the weapon being primed.

I kept my eyes forward, searching, and soon I saw it. A faint bit of movement. A second after, another hiss of shoe leather against wood, and then the sniper fired again.

The sound of the discharge reverberated off the trees, the ill-used copse of pine trees on my left trembled, and I saw the muzzle flash.

The wind shifted and carried the smell of tobacco and gunpowder to me, even as I saw the sniper take a knee. The fellow’s uniform had once been Federal blue, but it was faded from long years of use. I could hear him, ever so faintly, as he reloaded the Whitworth.

I took my shot.

A single round from the Colt smashed into the knee on the ground, passing through the joint and traveling along his shin before blowing his shoe off his foot.

The man’s scream of pain was utterly satisfying.

I saw him fall onto his side, the Whitworth tumbling from his hand, and I took a moment to put another round into the weapon. The stock shattered, and the firing mechanism exploded backward, the metal burying itself in the man’s hand.

Standing up, I approached him in a wide semi-circle, keeping an eye on him.

For a moment, I considered questioning him.

But only for a moment.

Instead, I blew his brains out, reloaded the Colt, and went back about my business.

#fear #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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