1931: Negotiations


They got the drop on me.

The unmistakable clack of a round being chambered into a shotgun brought me up short. My hands were at my sides, easing the hammers back on the Colts as a young man stepped out from a hedge and settled into a wicker chair. A trio of other men stepped out as well, holding shotguns in their hands.

They flanked the seated man on either side, and he grinned at me.

“You’re not supposed to be around this area,” the man stated.

“In fact,” the speaker continued, “you’re not supposed to be here at all. Especially not with those hand cannons you’re holding.”

I didn’t bring the Colts up. The men were fixated on my every move, and I didn’t blame them. Whether they knew me or not, the way I held the Colts showed I meant business.

The way they held their shotguns meant they did not.

The men carried the weapons as though they were uncomfortable with them. I suspect they were more afraid of shooting one another than they were of shooting me.

“I’m going to have to ask you to put your pistols down,” the speaker stated, “and leave the campus.”

I smiled. “Where did they bring the breeders?”

Surprise flickered across his face. “Drop your pistols.”

I opened fire instead.

My Colts cut the shotgun bearers down, and the speaker became tangled in the wicker chair, tumbling to the ground in his attempt to escape.

He screamed in both pain and fear as I placed the hot muzzle of a Colt against the back of his neck.

“Where did they bring them?”

“They’ll kill me if I talk!”

I clipped the side of his head with the butt of a revolver and remarked, “What do you think I’m going to do if you don’t?”

“Just kill me now,” he stuttered, trying on an air of bravado. “I won’t tell you anything.”

I holstered the Colts, took hold of him by the hair, and retrieved my knife. His eyes widened as he watched me, and when I snapped the curved blade open, he gasped.

“What will you do?”

I smiled. “I’ll prune your lies from the tree of truth and your scalp from your head.”


He let out a shriek as the blade bit into his skin. He jumped and twisted in my hands as I scalped him.

Soon, he told me what I wanted to know.

#paranormal #mystery

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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