December 13, 1870

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There were monsters in the house.

I’d spent the night in the company of the Mare, and she told me there was a group of creatures in the house where the Man had lived. These beasts had been the ones to make him sad. He had referred to them as the monsters, and thus she assigned the same moniker to them.

As the sun crested the horizon and reflected off the snow, the Mare asked of me a favor.

“Will you kill them for me?” she asked.

My pipe, which had long since gone dark, was still between my lips. I took it out, knocked out the ashes and reloaded the bowl. Once the tobacco was lit, and I’d gotten a good draw from it, I nodded.

“Aye,” I answered. “I’ll kill them. From what you’ve said, they deserve to die.”

“And what if you think they don’t?” she asked. “Once you meet them, I mean.”

“That’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it,” I replied, getting to my feet. I checked my Colts and made certain they were loose in their holsters.

The Mare scuffed at the earth with a hoof, then added in a soft voice, “He said they were always hungry.”

My eyes narrowed. “Did he now?”

She nodded.

“Well then, let’s see how hungry they are.”

Leaving my sled with the Mare, I went out the back door of the stable and saw a house about a quarter of a mile away. It was built in a familiar, rambling pattern, one I’d seen over most of New England in my long life.

I followed a slim, well-trodden path from the stable to the house, and when I climbed the steps of the porch and gave a hard knock on the door, I was ready.

My hands were on the butts of the Colts, and my ears strained for the slightest sound.

I needn’t have worried.

Running feet hammered down the hall and a set of stairs, and the door was thrown open. A woman, half naked and clutching a long knife in her hand, squealed with delight when she saw me.

“Long pork for dinner!” She lunged at me as she shouted, thrusting the blade forward.

I sidestepped the attack and drew a Colt all in one motion, and as she passed me by, I blew out her brains.

By the time her corpse hit the porch, others were racing toward me.

And the Colts, their thunder, shook the house.

#paranormal #christmas

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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