October 3, 1976


He thought he was fast.

I tracked one of the Killed soldiers from the Hollow to Pepperell. He’d left a string of dead animals behind him. Random birds and a pair of stray dogs.

He’d taken nothing from the beasts.

He killed for pleasure.

When I found him, he’d broken into a house that was blessedly empty.

He was waiting for me, his rifle set aside and his sword in hand.

“I could have killed you from here,” he informed me, a small smirk playing across his face.

“That a fact?” I asked, hands resting on the butts of my Colts.

He nodded. “I would have, in fact, had I not seen the pistols on your hips. I want them.”

I smiled.

“But,” the Killed soldier continued, “I will take only weapons I have won in battle. It is how I gained this sword. How I acquired my rifle and my pistol as well.”

He patted the pistol on his own belt.

“You think to kill me and take my guns?” I asked.

“I will.”

“They won’t let you,” I replied.

“They?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. “Surely you mean yourself.”

“I don’t tend to misspeak,” I told him dryly, “and I sure as hell didn’t now. The Colts won’t let you. They’ve grown accustomed to my hands, and we’re rather fond of each other.”

The Killed soldier chuckled. “Shall we duel then?”

“Duel? No. Draw and shoot? Yes.”

“What say you then?” the Killed soldier asked, flipping the top of his holster back and dropping his hand onto the butt of his own revolver.

“I say shoot and be damned,” I answered and drew my Colts.

He was fast.

But not fast enough.

He got the pistol up, but the Colts had already cleared leather, and both barrels were pointed at his chest. I saw his eyes widen with understanding, and I pulled the triggers.

The rounds punched through his chest and sent his shot wild.

As he spun around from the force of the slugs, I put in another pair, each bullet striking him where the neck meets the back of the head.

The lead tore through his collar and his skin, shattered bones and ripped flesh. For a moment, his head tottered, and then it tumbled to the floor. His body followed it a moment later.

I took his weapons for my own and left.

I’d be damned if he was buried with his weapons.

He didn’t deserve them.

#paranormal #Halloween

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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