October 8, 1976

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“Some men are fools.”

The dog’s name was Thain, and I couldn’t have agreed with him more. Claude, his horse traveling companion, was an animal of few words. Upon Thain’s statement, Claude snorted his agreement with his friend’s assessment.

We were in the barn, and I was smoking a pipe and drinking coffee while Claude ate and Thain worked on a bone.

“There were quite a few men gathered,” the dog continued. “A handful of animals, but only one other spoke. A raven of sour disposition.”

“One-eyed bastard,” the horse said around a mouthful of food.

“One-eyed?” I asked.

Thain nodded. “Thought for sure he was an albino, but he was just the oldest damned raven I’d ever come across, and I’ve been around Duncan Blood. Let me tell you.”

“What was this one-eyed raven doing?” I asked.

“Chuckling for the most part,” Thain answered. “I thought perhaps he wasn’t doing much more than mimicking a sound he’d heard. Then after a moment, he started complaining about how the men were going about with too much weaponry.”

The bone cracked, and Thain chuckled. Licking at the old marrow, the dog added, “Last we saw, he’d attached himself to a unit of artillery and left with them yesterday morning.”

The heavy flap of wings silenced us all, and Grimnir landed at the far end of the barn. The giant raven waddled into the room, his single eye piercing the darkness.

“They’re in the north field, Blood,” the raven stated.

I nodded and as I stood, the bird faced Claude. “I’m no bastard. I know exactly who my father is.”

Without another word, Grimnir took to wing and flew from the barn.

For a short time, the three of us remained where we were in silence. Finally, Claude cleared his throat.

“He may not be a bastard,” the horse admitted, “but he’s a crotchety sonofabitch.”

I could only nod.

The horse wasn’t wrong.

#paranormal #Halloween

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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