December 28, 1870


They hid from me.

I slept the night in a bank, my back against the vault and the Colts in my hands. No one bothered me, nor did any come looking when dawn arrived.

When I exited the building, I saw the street was deserted and had there not been a bit of light coming from one shop far down on the left, I might have spent a fair amount of time looking for directions.

The men in the shop weren’t pleased to see me, and I don’t blame them.

I wasn’t in a pleasant mood, and I had no intention of allowing it to be changed anytime soon.

As the door closed behind me, I heard the sound of running feet and the slamming of a door in the back of the building as people fled. Three others remained within view, and one of them was a young boy who’d been working in the back.

With a nod and a wave of a Colt, I sent him out.

I remained alone with a customer and a salesman.

Dead animals lay on the counter. It seemed as though I’d interrupted a sale.

I cocked the Colts.

“Where’s the academy?” I asked.

The salesman opened his eyes wide, feigning confusion. The customer’s hand slowly inched toward the opening of his coat.

“There is no academy here,” the salesman offered. “I fear you have been misinformed.”

“I don’t think I have,” I remarked. “In a moment, I’m going to put a .44 slug into your belly.”

The salesman’s face paled, and the customer’s hand paused for a moment before continuing on.

“Would you shoot a man for not knowing the answer to a question?”

“I’ve shot men for less,” I told him.

“There is no academy,” he started, and the roar of the Colt ended his sentence for him.

As the salesman fell back, the customer drew a short-barreled revolver. He tried to bring it to bear, but I shot him in the mouth and killed him where he stood.

I walked to the counter and found the wounded salesman crawling away, leaving a trail of blood and intestines behind him.

I put a foot on his back and pressed down, stopping him and eliciting a scream at the same time.

“Where is it?” I asked.

He gasped, “North of town.”

I knelt down, put the Colt to the back of his neck and pulled the trigger.

My stomach grumbled.

It was time to eat.

#paranormal #christmas

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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