Some situations are frustrating.

Recently, a branch of Miskatonic University has been built in Cross. It is an institution for which I have no love.

The Cross branch is located on a parcel of land a little too close to town for my liking and definitely not far enough from my home.

About mid-morning, a group of women arrived from the school.

They did not ask permission to come onto my land. They did not ask permission to go to the younger orchard and prowl about the trees. When I found them, they had apparently made up their mind to come and speak with me.

Mrs. Darling, whose husband was the dean of students, was the mouthpiece for this group, and speak she did.

“Mr. Blood, I presume?” She asked it in a coy manner that I found grating. Without meaning to, I rested my hands on the butts of the Colts.

I nodded. “I’m Mr. Blood. I’m a little curious as to why you’re on my land and wandering through my orchard.”

The ladies laughed as though I’d said something funny.

Mrs. Darling smiled with a kindness that betrayed her thoughts. She believed me to be a country bumpkin and that any sort of flattery would get her what she needed.

“Well, we were simply admiring your apples,” she began, and I cocked the hammers back.

The click of the hammers locking into place cut through her sentence, leaving her staring with some surprise.

“This is my orchard,” I informed her. “My land. My trees. My apples. You’re entitled to none of them. Not even a single windblown apple rotten through with worms. Now, I’ve no idea as to why you think you can come on my land or for what purpose, and I don’t care.”

“Mr. Blood,” she started.

“Finish that thought, Mrs. Darling,” I warned, “and I’ll beat the teeth out of your husband’s head.”

Her mouth clicked shut.

“You’ve a few minutes to get off my land,” I continued. “If you don’t, I’ll pistol whip each and every one of you. My trees like the taste of blood, Mrs. Darling, and I’ve a mind to bleed you.”

With horrified expressions, the women raced off, their faces pale and the stink of fear lingering behind them.

I eased the hammers of Colts down and wondered just how much trouble Miskatonic was going to be.

#trees #horrorstories

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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