December 14, 1870

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I’ve reached the town.

It’s a fair bit bigger than Cross, and I don’t think finding the woman’s husband, or my mother, is going to be easy. Not if most of the townsfolk are devoted to her, which is what the woman told me.

If I could know for certain that the town was wholly my mother’s, then I would simply put it to the torch.

However, there’s the risk of innocents suffering, and I’ll not put them in harm’s way intentionally.

I spent the day going around the outskirts of the town, seeing what roads led in and what water, if any, gave access to the place. I found eight roads and three streams, as well as a single river. There was a fair amount of foot traffic, too. A few carts and a handful of carriages. The weather, cold and bitter, kept most of the people inside.

One fact I did notice was that most of the men and women went armed. Even some of the older children I saw carried rifles.

This would not be an easy place to take.

I would need to go house by house to find the man and shop by shop.

I went back into the forest, found a good spot to hole up for the night, and made myself a decent camp, though I could only build a small fire. Too much smoke would bring unwanted attention.

I’d no sooner put on some coffee to boil when I heard a distinct step in the snow.

My hatchet was in my hand, and moved into a crouch, ready to see whether I needed to split open someone’s head.

A shape stepped around a large tree. The first item that caught my eye was the heavy Abenaki warclub in his hand.

The other was the man’s face.

It’d been nigh on a century since I’d seen my father, and the man hadn’t changed.

My heart thumped wildly in my chest, and I waited for the man to speak.

“You look like my son when he was younger,” my father stated. “I suspect you’re a Duncan Blood.”

I could only nod.

A small smile played across his face.

“I watched you take stock of the town. You’ve skills my Duncan doesn’t, and I thought you might strike first, though judging by your expression, that might not have occurred.”

“Not first.”

My father chuckled. “Have you enough coffee to spare?”

“I do.”

And for the first time in ten decades, I sat with my father.

#paranormal #christmas

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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