Not all of the dead sleep well.

This harsh fact was driven home to my father when he entered yet another fractured version of Cross.

‘I have seen my share of graveyards,’ my father wrote, ‘and I have laid entire towns in their graves. When I wandered out into this place, I could smell the wrongness in the air.

‘I came to a stop, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and my breath caught in my throat. My eyes darted around the place, searching for the threat, but I could see nothing.

‘Nothing that would cause me worry.

‘From what I saw, the church and the outbuildings were well-cared for, as were the headstones. I could read neither the dates nor the names carved into the granite, but that fact did not disturb me. I have not my son’s gift with languages.

‘Still, the air was pleasant, and the day was bright. I sat down on the grass, with clear fields of fire all around me, and shucked off my haversack. I had been hungry for some time, and this was the first opportunity to ease my hunger.

‘Satisfied that I would be granted some bit of peace, I prepared to enjoy a quick bite to eat before moving on.

‘I was not afforded that opportunity.

‘I had no sooner settled in than the smell of fresh-turned earth and rotten flesh assailed my nose.

‘The dead were climbing out of their graves.

‘There were clothes were in tatters, as was their flesh, and a keening wail pierced the bright sky as they opened their mouths. The teeth within were not those of men or women but rather of some beast I cannot name.

‘As one, the creatures paused, heads raised slightly to the air. The wind shifted, carried my scent with it, and a low, rumbling growl issued from their mouths. They turned to face me, jaws working slowly as they began a shuffling walk towards me.

‘I clambered to my feet, drew the pistol, and fired off a quick shot. While it struck the closest beast in the chest, it did not slow the monster down. Nor did the second shot.

‘Or the other four in the damned weapon.

‘Swearing and cursing, I put the pistol away and took to my heels.

‘I had no desire to be made a meal of.’

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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