November 16, 1891

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He was far too sure of himself.

The ravens had told me of a stranger deep in my lands, and it had displeased me.

My mood had only gotten worse as the day wore on, and I suspect he thought I’d be tired when I found him.

I wasn’t tired, just angry.

The stranger sat atop a felled tree, the sight of which only increased my ire. I knew he hadn’t done the deed, but that didn’t matter. He was on my land, and so he’d pay the price.

I’m not sure if he garnered his confidence from the shotgun he carried or the seven hounds gathered ‘round him. Perhaps it was something else. Perhaps he’d had some sort of expertise when it came to killing my kind.

I let my hands drop to the Colts and curved my fingers around the smooth wood.

“You’re on my land.”

“That a fact?” He smirked as he asked the question, his mustache twitching. The dogs got to their feet, hackles raising.

“It is.”

“I’ve come for you, Duncan Blood,” he stated, and he shifted the shotgun a fraction of an inch. “You try and draw those pistols, and I’ll have my dogs on you in a heartbeat.”

I nodded and eased the triggers back. “I’ve no quarrel with the dogs.”

The hounds looked from their master to me. The man’s brow furrowed.

“Pull that iron and see how fast they move,” he grumbled.

I smiled. “I pull my iron, you’ll be dead before the first dog gets halfway to me. Then they’ll have a choice to make.”

The dogs fixed their eyes upon me.

“And what choice could you offer my dogs?”

“Freedom,” I answered. “I’ve a lot of land and no quarrel with most of those that run wild on it. There are even some islands close by they could swim to when the weather’s nice. Plenty to hunt.”

“My dogs don’t want freedom. They wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

As one, the dogs looked at their master, and they sat down.

The man’s eyes widened as I heard him inhale to yell, and I pulled my Colts, firing on the draw.

The rounds struck the man in the chest, knocking him back and killing him as the shotgun tumbled from his hands.

The dogs stayed where they were, and I holstered the Colts.

“House is up the way a bit. Visit if you like,” I told them, and I made my way home.

#fear #horrorstories #supernatural

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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