April 7, 1948

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They thought I couldn’t see them.

They hung from the trees, looking like nothing more than moss and vines. They hid in the darkness of structures long abandoned and offered as sacrifice to the forest.

I was a meal and nothing more as far as they were concerned.

But they didn’t know who I was or what I had been created to do.

I took the rifle off, chambered a round and lay it on the ground in front of my feet. In silence, I widened my stance, drew both my Colts and cocked the hammers back.

I looked into their hiding places, and I spoke in a loud and clear voice. I wanted there to be no misunderstanding between us.

“When I was a child of four, a goblin spat in my eyes and wiped the veil that separates our two worlds,” I told them. “I’ve seen you ever since, and I’ve no fear of your kind. No particular like either. You’ve a choice, and I suggest you choose well. Let me pass, or I’ll butcher every last one of you.”

I spat on the ground and grinned at them.

“There’ll be no quarter asked,” I stated, “and there sure as hell won’t be any given.”

The vegetation came to life as they launched themselves toward me.

Long and thin, short and squat, goblins of every kind. They carried rough weapons and wore cast-off clothes. Their skin was mottled and their eyes wild. I could smell their stink and the bloodlust that poured from them.

And I smiled as I brought the Colts up.

The pistols roared, the heavy revolvers a beauty and a comfort in my hands. The fey exploded beneath the onslaught, slugs tearing through them and sending them crashing to the earth.

Iron and hate, centuries of practice.

I couldn’t miss at this range, and when the Colts went dry, I dropped them in their holsters and snatched up the rifle.

Five more shots and the rifle was nothing more than a club, and so I used it as such.

The fey tried to flee, and I chased them down, beating them down into the earth, their bones crunching beneath my feet, their blood spraying across my face.

A few tried to surrender, and I put the boots to them.

My word is good.

No quarter asked and no quarter given.

#nature #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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