A Temper


Her hatred burned with every step he took.

‘I heard my wife’s voice today.

‘It was not from a woman who had been my wife in another version of Cross or in another time. No, it was the woman who I had married before traveling to the New World from England. The one I thought I loved.

‘Perhaps I did. Perhaps it was all illusion.

‘Regardless of the truth of the matter, or the lie, I heard her voice in Gods’ Hollow.

‘She was displeased.

‘The names she called me and the curses she hurled were neither original nor particularly witty, and so I shall not write them down here. I was more impressed with the discovery that she has somehow become part of the Hollow, though what part exactly remains a mystery still.

‘As she hurled her empty threats and vulgar taunts at me, I ignored her. How her spirit had managed to travel from my home in Cross to this place, I do not know. Or perhaps there is some bond between the two.

‘Should I ever leave this place, I will have to inspect it.

‘Walking along a narrow path, I noticed that the temperature was increasing. Uncomfortably so. In a short time, I found myself sweating, and as I paused to wipe the perspiration from the back of my neck, I heard my dead wife’s maniacal laughter ring out through the woods.

‘Within seconds, the first flames appeared among the fallen leaves.

‘Fire was one of the few things I knew would kill me. And my dead wife knew that as well.

‘With a curse of my own, I turned to leave and saw a wall of fire creeping toward me. It was too slow and focused to be natural, and I knew she was directing it.

‘My only escape lay in going forward.

‘And so, I did.

‘I sprinted into the smoldering leaves, kicked aside flames as they leapt out to bite into my flesh, and made all haste to anywhere that safety might be found.

‘It took a long time to find it, and when I did, I had been burned in more than one place.

‘As I tend to my wounds, I am reminded again of Duncan killing his mother, and it is a pleasant thought to reflect upon.’

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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