December 22, 1870


We asked hard, and the tough bastard lied to us.

Lied and got his revenge on Obadiah.

After three hours of questioning, the man broke. The answers to our questions came tumbling out past broken teeth and shredded lips. His eyes moved beneath swollen lids, and the man could do nothing more than whisper as he lay on his side, bleeding from dozens of wounds. All painful, though none fatal.

The man told us that the Woman’s husband could be found in the seed shop, even with the alarm having been raised. As for my mother, she was in her house, protected by her guards.

My father asked Obadiah if he knew where that was, and my cousin nodded.

“Your part is done,” my father told the man, and Obadiah killed the prisoner with a single, smooth cut.

We left the man bleeding in the forest and made our way into town.

Slipping past patrols and nervous men with guns, we found the seed shop. The back door looked worse for wear, but when my father raised a questioning eyebrow, Obadiah shook his head.

In a low voice, my cousin said, “There was a bit of trouble a few days before you arrived, although I do not know what sort. Something to do with a shipment brought in by your former wife.”

My father grunted his disgust and took hold of the doorknob. With his warclub at the ready, he pushed the door in and stepped aside as Obadiah dashed inside on silent feet.

A thump and a groan followed, and then so did we.

The Woman’s husband did not lie on the floor.

It was Obadiah.

His eyes were open, his expression dazed. We caught a glimpse of movement, and the thing which had struck him down was among us.

It was monstrous.

I could make out no discernible shape, no eyes or mouth. It appeared to be a pile of leaves and rotting plants, and it stank of the same. It rolled over Obadiah’s prostrate form even as we leapt forward and beat at it.

Our blows were useless, and in a heartbeat, we were forced back. From the creature came a sharp wheeze, followed by a pop, and a mist of blood sprayed into the air.

There was no doubt as to whose it was, nor was there any doubt as to Obadiah’s fate.

Without a word, we retreated.

There was naught else we could do.

#paranormal #christmas

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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