From the Hollow

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He spoke well.

I wasn’t sure how many of the little bastards were out there, running loose around my lands on my islands. The ravens were out looking, and even a handful of goblins were keeping a weather eye open.

But there’d been no word. No sign for three days.

And then, of course, there was.

I came across a man I didn’t know, a man I never would know.

He’d been stripped naked, nailed to the side of a barn close to the Hollow, and his legs stripped of meat. The remnants of a fire stood off to one side, and the unmistakable odor of cooked human flesh hung in the air, curling around the barn as though it had nowhere to go and no desire to leave.

Unfortunately, the man was still alive.

How he had managed to last through such abuse, I do not know. But I do know he wouldn’t survive it. The legs had been tied off, but his eyes had death in them. His face was gray, his lips blue. He looked at me and tried to speak.

I could see what he wanted.

I put my hand over his eyes, drew a Colt, and shot him in the temple. His body sagged forward, head lolling on his chest.

A cough caught my attention, and I turned to see a small boy, one of the creatures, atop a donkey. The boy held a stick and grinned at me.

“Will you come with me, Mr. Blood?” the child asked. “Or will I take you?”

As the child/thing spoke, the donkey turned to look at me, its eyes narrowing.

“Blood?” the donkey asked.

The child/thing’s eyes widened at the donkey’s voice, and I nodded.

“Good,” the animal sighed and bucked the creature off his back.

The creature hit the ground running, darting into a clump of bushes and vanishing as I sent off two quick rounds after him. They smashed into his lower back and cut the creature in two.

I turned my attention to the donkey.

“My name is Octavius,” the animal informed me. “And you are Duncan Blood. Is this Cross or Bloodtowne?”

“Cross.”

“It would be,” the donkey muttered. He cleared his throat. “Well, would you put an old friend up for the night?”

“Are we old friends?”

“Older than you know,” the animal replied. “Fix me a coffee with some applejack, and I’ll tell you the tale.”

I nodded, reloaded the Colts, and led the way home.

#supernatural #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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