Hunting Mother Day 30

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I found the path home.

I could smell my Cross on the air. A mixture of the sea, apples, and violence.

I stopped in the center of the path, took out my pipe and packed it with a celebratory grin.

My grin didn’t last long.

I’d no sooner lit the tobacco and gotten a fine smoke from it when I heard a soft scuffle of shoe upon dirt. Looking up, a chill raced through me.

A short distance away, a child stood upon the path.

His clothes were strange, but that was no surprise. I’d seen all manner of dress on my travels. But it wasn’t his apparel that caught my attention.

No, it was the simple fact that I was looking at myself.

In the boy’s left hand, he held a dinner pail. I suppose it could have carried his dinner in it or any other item the boy might have found necessary to pack, but it worried me some. Something dark dripped from it and stained the dirt.

“Ahoy,” I called.

The child shifted his pail from one hand to the other and replied in a wary tone, “Ahoy.”

“Have I permission to pass?” I asked.

A smile played across the child’s face for a moment. “If you like.”

I approached him warily, knowing full well what I could do as a child.

As I neared him, I saw a long knife tucked into his belt, and his face had a fine spray of drying blood upon it. He stood still, his hand never straying towards the hilt of his blade.

“Your dinner seems to be leaking,” I informed him.

“My trophy,” the child corrected. “Not my dinner.”

“Trophy?”

He nodded. “Would you like to see it?”

“Aye, that I would,” I replied and stepped a bit from him. I rested one hand upon the butt of a Colt.

The child squatted down, set the pail in front of him, and undid the latch. When he opened it, my mother’s face stared up at me.

Her eyes were wide, and her mouth was twisted into a howl. The flesh of the neck was jagged and raw from where the boy had sawed it off.

“Have you many of these?” I asked.

“Eight,” he said with pride. His face grew grim. “I hate her.”

“Our mother is a foul beast.”

The child smiled. “I hate her.”

I winked, relit my pipe, and we went our separate ways.

It was good to know another hunter wandered the wilds of the Hollow.

#horrorstories #mother

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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