Augustus Avery

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I told him his sister was dead.

Augustus didn’t appreciate the information and demanded the right to go searching for her body.

I denied him.

I’d known Augustus since he’d been birthed and his father as well. Hell, I’d fought beside his grandfather when the man was just a boy and an indentured servant at that.

His father, grieving, warned his son to stay off my lands and tried to assure him that I spoke the truth.

Augustus didn’t listen.

He waited until he saw me headed into town before slipping onto my land. I didn’t find out about it until nearly six hours later, and by then, it was too late.

With my Colts on my hips, I went in after him, following his trail as it wandered to the north and west. He was headed far from where his sister had died, and while it was fine that he wouldn’t see the giants making bread from her bones, it didn’t bode well for him.

He was heading towards a particularly disagreeable weeping willow, one that disliked being disturbed by anything remotely human. I’d pulled members of the fey and even goblins out of the bastard’s clutches and buried more than a few fools who’d sought to camp beneath its canopy.

The tree went by the name Willow, and he was a damned deadly hunter. On more than one occasion, I’d had the opportunity to sit and watch him at his work, catching small prey that wandered in.

He made short work of them.

When I reached a clearing, I found evidence of Augustus. Some wood had been piled high, and his walking stick lay by it, as though he had gone into the woods for something and forgotten to come back.

His trail led straight toward Willow.

I hastened along the trail and found the tree at his work.

Willow stripped the last section of skin from Augustus and dropped it onto a pile of the same.

“Blood,” the tree greeted, and Augustus turned his head.

The man was still alive.

I drew the Colt and put a slug into his skull, splattering the tree with bone and brains. As Willow cursed me, I holstered the revolver and went back for the walking stick.

I had to go into town and tell Mr. Avery both his children were dead.

I was not looking forward to the task.

#trees #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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