December 18, 1870


We sat in a council of war.

“There are few here who might give you aid,” Obadiah said. “They are her creatures, and few of them will stray from the protection she offers.”

“Do you know where she is?” my father asked.

Obadiah shook his head. “No. She has many places she travels to, both within and without of town. Captain Davin Hawksmoor, however, will know.”

“How do we get to him?” my father inquired.

“You can’t. And neither can,” Obadiah replied. “He knows you of old, Ezekiel. As for me, well, let’s just say his wife and I got along a little too well.”

“I take it the good captain doesn’t know me?” I asked.

Obadiah grinned. “Leave your hatchet here, Duncan, and keep those Colts hidden. Put a knife in your pocket. You’ll need it.”

I nodded, and my cousin gave me directions. Within moments, I was on the street, moving along easily and finding the home without any trouble.

When I knocked on the door, a young maid answered it. I explained I had business with the captain, and she took me at my word.

I was ushered into a room with a low ceiling, one that reminded me of the sumptuous cabins aboard the grand sailing ships of the Union Navy.

Captain Hawksmoor sat at a round table, and his wife stood off to his left.

“What is it?” the captain demanded.

“I’ve word about Obadiah Coffin.”

The man stiffened, and his wife blushed. He shot an angry look at her, and without a word, she left the room, closing the door behind her.

“What word do you bring about that scum?” the man snarled.

I smiled. “He wants to know where my mother is.”

“Who in the hell is your mother, boy?!”

I drew my knife and drove the blade deep into his right hand, pinning it to the table. As he opened his mouth to scream, I slammed his jaw up and closed. Thrusting my arm beneath his jaw, I kept it shut and twisted the blade in his hand, causing him to shake violently.

“My mother,” I whispered. “Is Mistress Blood.”

Captain Hawksmoor fainted, and I jerked the knife from his hand, allowing him to fall to the floor.

Kneeling over him, I put the tip of the blade into his scalp and helped him wake up.

In the end, he didn’t say a single word.

But I took the bastard’s scalp.

#paranormal #christmas

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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