November 15, 1891

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The schnapps was good.

We drank clear through the night, and Horatio drank a few men under the table, although none of us could quite figure out how the monkey did it.

The lot of us were still drunk when we stumbled out into the light, singing in German and talking about the finer points of different rifles and angry German women. The latter, we agreed, was the more dangerous.

We’d persuaded Ernst to part with several bottles of his own personal stock of schnapps, and we were more than halfway through them when we reached the Hollow. It was there, standing by the stonewall along that runs between North Road and the Hollow, that we came to a somber stop.

Rolfe, the group’s commander, looked into the Hollow, shook his head and turned to face me.

“There is an ambush prepared for you,” he stated.

“Usually is,” I observed.

A good-natured chuckle ran through the group.

“Yes,” Rolfe continued. “We were to be one. There was a second, established should we fail. It seems we have.”

He was silent for a moment, then he added, “I think, Duncan, we should like to help to prevent this ambush from taking place. If you would be amicable to assistance.”

“I’d appreciate it greatly,” I replied.

It is a good and true thing to walk with soldiers. It’d been almost thirty years since I’d last done so, and there are times when I remember how much I miss it.

Today was such a day.

We went over the wall easily, Horatio darting ahead. While our heavy boots punched through the snow and the thin crust of ice that coated it, he raced across it. Soon, as is the way of the Hollow, the snow melted, vanished, and left us in the comforting warmth of an autumn day.

We were silent, and soon Horatio could no longer be seen.

Within a few minutes, though, we heard him.

A litany of foul words streamed from his mouth, and someone yelled for the monkey to leave.

In a short time, we stood behind a group of men gathered around a large gun, the likes of which I’d not seen before.

The men’s eyes were focused on Horatio when we gunned them down.

We left the bodies where they lay, and when Horatio joined us, we drank the last of the schnapps.

#fear #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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