October 22, 1976


Tonight is a hard night.

From my seat in the Child’s house, I can see the hills have returned to the Hollow, and I hate them.

They appear every so often, and in 1903, when my mother was sending the Killed Soldiers into Cross, the hills had appeared.

I saddled my horse Perseus, and I rode out to the hills armed with my Colts. The saddlebags had more ammunition than they did food. I never knew if my days in the hills would be long or short, but I knew they would always be bloody.

I traveled along North Road, past the stonewall, and entered through a wooden gate that’d not been there the day prior. Perseus stepped onto a well-worn and rutted path, and we followed it at the steady, ground-devouring gait he had. By midday, we found what I had feared would be there.

A pair of cavalry officers sat astride red-eyed horses, and it was clear that they were from a time and place I knew nothing of.

That they were soldiers and skilled was plain to see when they turned their mounts to face me. Around their necks, they wore braided human tongues.

They called out to me in a strange language, and when I didn’t respond, the lead man reached into his pocket, retrieved a fresh tongue, and ate it.

“Are you Duncan Blood?” the man asked, his voice clear and his accent British.

“Aye,” I answered.

“We’re here to hunt you,” the man stated with a bored shrug. “Your mother warned us you were clever and that we might well die before claiming you as a prize.”

I waited for the man to continue, and he did.

“We have hunted your kinfolk before, Duncan,” the man informed me. “We know what needs to be done to drive the life from you.”

I drew my pistols, and the men reached for their swords.

They dug their heels into their horses, whose teeth were black fangs, and they charged.

The Colts roared in my hands, the slugs striking the horses’ foreheads and killing them instantly. The men tried to clear the saddles but, caught in the act of drawing their weapons, they were trapped and pinned beneath them.

I shot each man in the throat and waited as they bled out.

They might have killed my kinfolk before, but they’d never killed me.

#paranormal #Halloween

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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