Day 7

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The rattle of gunfire raised the alarm.

I was up and out of my bedroll in a heartbeat, Colts in hand, as the soldiers around me reacted with equal alacrity.

“Where did it come from?” Marius demanded.

A sentry pointed to the southeast. “Toward the edge of town.”

A frown creased Marius’ brow. “We cleared that area yesterday looking for wounded and bells.”

“Someone’s there,” I remarked.

“Or they were,” Pedersen sighed, lifting up his rifle.

“How many men do you want?” Mikkelsen asked as he walked over, flanked by two sergeants.

“Just Pedersen,” I answered. “Any more than the two of us, and we’ll attract too much attention.”

“Pedersen?” Mikkelsen asked. “Limp and all?”

I smiled. “Have you seen the way the man gets in and out of a house about to come down around his ears?”

“Aye, Blood,” Pedersen chided. “That’s for brandy and naught else.”

A rough chuckle went through the men within earshot.

“True,” Mikkelsen admitted. “Take no chances, though. Either of you.”

Pedersen and I nodded, and I picked up my hammer before we left the protective circle of our small encampment.

“Think we’ll find trolls?” Pedersen asked.

“Holed up in a cellar?”

“Aye.”

“No,” I stated. “But this hammer, heavy as it is, has worked. I see no need to get rid of it. Not when I can save ammunition.”

Pedersen grunted his agreement, and we moved on in silence. Neither of us made any noise as we passed through the debris-laden streets. As we reached the edge of town, I saw a fortified structure and glanced at Pedersen.

“It’s empty. Or it was yesterday when they checked,” he said.

We advanced upon the building, Pedersen chambering a round slowly as we neared the entrance.

Within, we saw a grotesque display of corpses. Seven men and a single creature the likes of which I’d not seen in some time.

“What in the hell is that?” Pedersen muttered.

I entered the building, crouched down beside it and turned the head from one side to the other.

“Skratti,” I answered. Goblins.

Pedersen spat and cursed behind me.

In a moment, he was helping me strip the dead of weapons and ammunition.

Where there was one Skratti, there were generally a hundred more.

Evening would be difficult.

#Denmark #supernatural #monsters #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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