There were a lot of them.

More than expected, and it didn’t please me. Langer had almost a full platoon of troops with him, and they were fine soldiers.

None of them panicked.

None of them let off hasty shots.

No, they were well-disciplined troops, calling out to one another in Swedish.

Which was perhaps the only mistake they made.

Someone assumed I couldn’t speak the language, but when you’ve lived for close to three hundred years, well, you get bored.

While I hadn’t spoken the language in some time, it only took a short while for me to regain fluency. Especially since I was listening and not trying to converse.

I heard a call out for two groups to flank me from either side. A wise move and one that would have worked on just about anyone else. And, to be honest, it would have put me in a rather challenging position had I not heard them clear as day.

As it was, I gave my horse a slap and sent him home before I slipped across the road unseen.

The men who remained in the houses continued to put well-aimed fire on the copse of trees they thought I occupied. The others fanned out, four to each side. They moved with practiced ease through the underbrush and the trees. The men were undeniably skilled, and I watched them with both admiration and sadness.

They were going to die, and I would lay their deaths, along with Jack’s, at Langer’s feet.

I lay my rifle on the ground and drew the Colts. With the hammers cocked, I watched and waited.

It didn’t take long.

In a rush, the men erupted from the woods on either side of the drive and charged what they thought was my position. The shooting from the house stopped, replaced by the men firing into the copse of trees.

Without standing up, I took aim, and I gunned them all down from behind.

Once more, the men in the house showed their true worth.

Not a damned one of them hesitated.

They expressed their rage with a thunderous roar of fire on the copse of trees, still believing I was there.

As their brethren bled out in the road, I reloaded my Colts, put them in their holsters, and took up the rifle once more.

Sighting along the barrel, I took my time. I wanted each shot to count.

And they did.

#trees #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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