December 26, 1870


The townsfolk were at ease.

Whoever removed my parents from this place must have informed the citizens of the deed.

My father was gone again, and I was ill-pleased with the world at large.

I did not bother with subtlety, nor did I attempt any form of discretion.

I was done with it all.

I entered the first store I came upon, and the man behind the register looked up with kindness in his eyes as he greeted me with a nod.

“Good morning,” he said as I walked toward him. “How might I help you today?”

“I’m looking for a man,” I explained, coming to a stop in front of him. “I don’t know his name. He tried to kill his wife and newborn son after he swore allegiance to my mother.”

The cashier’s face paled. He stuttered, then managed to get out, “What’s your name, boy?”

“Duncan Blood.”

His movements were clumsy, made so by fear. He stumbled as he drew a scattergun from under the counter.

My Colts cleared leather long before he brought the weapon up to bear.

I didn’t bother with any more questions but blew his brains out across his wares.

A shot rang out from the balcony above, and I saw a woman pointing a derringer at me. She tried to step back, but the heavy .44s sent their rounds through the floor and up into her legs. The woman fell forward, tumbled over the railing and smashed down into the display case. She clawed at me as she bled out, and I put a single round in her head.

I heard running feet above me and caught sight of a second man racing for a door.

I put a pair of bullets into his legs and sent him crashing into the floor.

I was halfway up the stairs when a gun went off, and when I reached the balcony, I saw the man was dead. He’d shot himself in the heart with a small revolver.

Anger swelled within me, and I went back down the stairs.

Kicking open the door, I stepped out into the street as a gentle snow fell.

Men and women with weapons were racing towards the store, and I reloaded my Colts. A man wearing a policeman’s badge stepped forward, a Spencer repeating rifle in hand.

“Put the guns down, boy,” the man snapped.

I smiled and brought the pistols up.

“I’m Duncan Blood,” I told them.

And the townsfolk ran.

#paranormal #christmas

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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