April 26, 1948


April 26, 1948

She came looking for me.

Word of the Der Vershclinger spread quickly through this realm, and ere the second day had passed, I was being hunted.

Or so they thought.

My pack has grown, and there are a dozen dogs of various breeds and ages around me at any given time. We’d hunkered down in a pleasant spot. There was water and fresh fowl, and we all took the time to breathe and enjoy the fine air.

The roar of a shotgun shattered the peace, and in the distance, dogs howled.

They were not cries of pain but rather of warning.

Someone was coming.

A few more shots were let off, and as the wind shifted, I heard a high, furious voice screaming my name.

I drew my Colts, rested them on my lap with the weapons in hand, and I waited.

I heard the dogs coming closer, some of them crashing through the underbrush while others led the prey into the trap.

“Where is he?” a woman demanded, and her question was punctuated by another shot. I heard the distinct click of a weapon being reloaded, and I waited.

“Where is the fiend who butchered by mate?”

At the last word, I glanced to the left at the scalps stretched out and drying in the sun. I smiled and then fixed my gaze on the main path.

Champ came racing down it, his tail wagging, and he paused only long enough to chuckle and say, “She’s fit to be tied, Blood.”

Before I could respond, he was gone, and the shotgun roared.

The woman stepped into the small glade where we made camp, and she stared at me. Her hands went to reload the shotgun, but when I lifted the Colts, she froze. I cocked the pistols and kept them centered on her.

“Good morning,” I said.

She glared at me. “You killed my mate.”

“Who was that?”

“Der Vershclinger,” she hissed. “Do you deny it?”

“No. In fact, his scalp’s in the center of the rack.

Her eyes flickered to it, back to me, and she opened her mouth, screaming.

I put a shot through her mouth and blew the back of her neck out.

She wavered for a moment, hands desperately trying to load the shotgun, and then she fell back, hitting the ground with a thump.

The dogs came out, tails wagging.

“Leave the scalp for Blood,” Champ ordered, and I watched as the dogs settled in to eat.

#nature #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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