Reapers’ Portraits: August 1900

Advertisements

Flashback

I was terrified.

No reaper before, or since, scared me as this reaper did.

She entered Meredith’s studio in silence, and neither Meredith nor I spoke while the studio was prepared and the portrait taken. When Meredith finished, she took the ledger out, placed it on the table, and retreated to the safety of her workshop, leaving me alone with the reaper.

My hands trembled as I sat down, opened the ledger, and picked up a pencil.

The reaper walked to me, leaned down, and kissed me softly upon my cheek. Her warm lips grazed my ear and lingered there for a moment, before she whispered a single name.

“Galveston.”

A month later, they were still finding bodies in Texas.

The War of the Rebellion: Virginia, 1865

Advertisements

The war is over, but I believe the killing isn’t done.

The Secesh graveyard is small, the markers made of wood rather than stone. At some point, someone will come and make these markers permanent.

I am not that person.

Tonight, while the rest of the nation celebrates, I wait.

My Colts are loaded and beside me. The Spencer rests across my knees, a round in the breech and waiting. My Bowie knife is still in its scabbard, but it is within easy reach. Henry, the dog I liberated from George Custer, sits beside me. He waits, as do I, for this one last act of killing.

Something has been rising from this graveyard, though I am not certain as to what it is. Word has been passed down to me, reports of the dead leaving.

As the sun sets, I light a lantern and wait.

My wait is not long.

The dead do rise. They climb up from their graves, and they bear their wounds. Yet these men do not seek the flesh of the living, they do not turn on me or Henry. Instead, they walk.

There are perhaps thirty of them, and they fall into formation easily, as old soldiers are often want to do. They travel perhaps twenty feet before they stop and face me.

It is clear they want me to follow.

I holster my Colts, shoulder my Spencer, and Henry, and I follow them.

We walk for a short time, to a field of battle that has since been passed over. An old sergeant stops, and so to do I. In silence, we watch his detail spread out across the field. Singly and in pairs, they stop, and when they do, they are joined by others. Men and boys steal up from the undergrowth, tired and worn and as dead as the men who found them.

I look at the sergeant and nod.

Without a word, Henry and I leave the field.

I must find some living Secesh who will help me bury the forgotten dead.

Help Support Cross, Massachusetts!

Hello! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please consider putting a dollar in the pot. 🙂 Every little bit helps, and each dollar allows me to spend more time creating posts and stories for you to read. Thank you for your support!

$1.00

The War of the Rebellion: Georgia, 1865

Advertisements

Hell can be found in the strangest of places.

The cabin was small and tucked away off a long, narrow country road. From what I could see, the home was well kept and well cared for. Smoke rose from the fieldstone chimney, and there was a good supply of wood off to one side. A summer kitchen was set up to the left of the home, but unlike the rest of the property, it looked unused.

The windows on the building’s front were closed, as were the draperies, and the front door as well.

There was a fine breeze blowing, and Georgians, by and large, rarely kept their doors and windows closed on such an occasion. The smoke from the chimney confused me as well. It was too early for a mid-day meal and too late for breakfast.

I’d heard no rumors and word of any sort of beast operating in the area, no vanishing bodies or missing pickets. Still, stranger things had happened and were bound to happen again.

I approached the cabin with caution, the Spencer in my hands as I walked in the grass along the edge of the road. At less than thirty feet from the cabin, I heard a woman’s laughter, joined a moment later by a second, then a third. What followed next caused me to grit my teeth and move quicker.

I heard a man beg, in a voice near breaking, for them to leave him be.

A part of me hoped I was coming upon some reckless scene of young love, but I doubted it.

When I reached the door, I heard a long, low groan, and there was no pleasure associated with it.

I kicked the door in and shocked the inhabitants, three old women crouched over the emaciated form of a Federal soldier. The eyes of the women were wild, their gray and white hair lashing about their faces as they launched themselves at me. I killed two with shots from the Spencer, and I beat the third to death with the stock.

With her brains splashed across my face, I stepped over to the Federal, lay on his back, eyes wide and filled with tears.

“Three months,” he whispered. “They’ve been feeding on me for three months.”

I bashed in the brains of the other two as well.

Help Support Cross, Massachusetts!

Hello! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please consider putting a dollar in the pot. 🙂 Every little bit helps, and each dollar allows me to spend more time creating posts and stories for you to read. Thank you for your support!

$1.00

The War of the Rebellion: Louisiana, 1864

Advertisements

Upon occasion, I am fortunate enough to fight alongside exceptional men.

Today was such a day.

I had heard rumor of an ogre operating in Louisiana, and it was an unpleasant bit of information to receive. Whether it was true or not, I didn’t know. What I did know was that whatever was propagating the rumor was going to be difficult to deal with. Ogres are a nasty, brutish breed, and for one of them to be blamed meant there was a significant among of carnage.

When I arrived in the area the rumors had originated from, I discovered a group of New York Zouaves who had been sent along by their commander. The Zouaves were transplanted Frenchmen, and they knew, without a doubt, that it was an ogre they were hunting. The Secesh had somehow managed to import one from Breton, and they had set the damned thing loose.

There were twenty-one of us altogether, and we tracked the ogre down to a plantation that had been abandoned. We learned from an escaped slave that the ogre had eaten most of the plantation’s slave population, although a few had been fortunate enough to make it into the swamps. With his hunger far from sated, the ogre had made his way to various Federal encampments, eating his full of pickets and sentries at night, and the wounded and dead from various battles.

The ogre was, according to the former slave, still in the plantation manor, but he would be leaving close to sundown. We gave the man as much food as he could carry and made our way to the house.

We took up stations around the house, and then one of the Zouaves raced forward and set the damned place afire. Within moments, the ogre came barreling out a broken wall, and the fight was on.

While the fight did not go as well as we all would have liked, it was not as terrible as it could have been. We only lost twelve men killed and two wounded. I cut the ogres head off, and as I write this, I have it boiling down in the biggest damned kettle I could find.

The Zouaves will send it home to New York City, and hang it in their local church.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

The War of the Rebellion: Virginia, 1864

Advertisements

George Custer and I never agreed on much. I felt him too much the fool and too reckless when it came to his men’s lives. I especially disagreed with his keeping a dog.

I didn’t think he was good enough for a dog.

After a short argument about the merits of certain tactics, an argument for which he threatened to have me horsewhipped, I decided he most certainly didn’t deserve his dog. I stole the dog away, which was nothing difficult considering the man, and the dog and I went about our business.

I traveled to Virginia with Henry, which was what I decided to name the dog, and sooner than I expected, Henry proved his worth.

We had made camp in a small section of woodland in a copse of trees. I didn’t make a fire since I wasn’t sure how many Secesh were in the area. We ate our rations cold, and then the dog and I hunkered down to sleep.

Henry heard them before I did, and it was his low growl, which brought me awake, weapon in hand.

The creatures which attacked us had once been men, but they had died at least a year earlier. They were the undead, and they were hungry.

As the dead closed in on us, Henry continued barking, a beautiful sound that distracted the damned things and afforded me the opportunity to shoot them down. While they don’t move fast, more than a handful can overcome you with their numbers.

Before the morning came, I had emptied my Colts three times apiece, and the Spencer twice.

But all the dead were destroyed.

Henry and I broke camp and made our way to someplace safer, and one that stank less. With the dog trotting at my side, I smiled.

I think, when we reach a town, I’ll send a letter of thanks to Custer for giving me such an excellent traveling companion.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

The War of the Rebellion: Louisiana, 1864

Advertisements

I was in Red River Parish, searching for a creature feeding on both the living and the dead.

There had been eyewitnesses to both types of attacks, and all agreed that the assailant had resembled a wolf standing on its hindquarters. This being Louisiana, I felt certain I was searching for a Rougarou, and I had little time to spare.

I’ve only hunted a Rougarou once before, and that was long before the start of the nineteenth century. That Rougarou had been an old woman, and she’d nearly feasted on me that night. It was luck more than skill which had saved my skin.

After almost a week, I found the Rougarou. He was a Secesh infantryman, attached to a unit sent out as skirmishers on most days and as pickets every night. I tracked him from his camp, wondering if he was feeding on the dead and the living because there was no other food, or if by preference.

It was, I soon discovered, out of preference.

I watched him bypass several flocks of sheep, a few dozen cows, and two chicken coops, the hens screaming as he walked past them.

Close to midnight, he stopped and took shelter, and I followed suit. The wind hadn’t shifted, so I knew he hadn’t caught my scent. But something had attracted his attention. Soon, I saw it was a young boy hurrying along a narrow trail, and I knew I couldn’t wait.

As the Rougarou stood, I put a round from my Spencer through him. The shot dropped him and sent the boy running.

I hunkered down close to where he was, and I waited, rifle and Colts at the ready.

The hours passed slowly, but my focus never wavered.

As dawn broke upon us, I saw the Secesh laying on his back, mouth agape. He was in a pose which certainly would have fooled anyone, had they not known what he was.

I did know.

Standing, I put two more slugs into his head, strode forward, and set his body on fire. As he sat up, screaming, I emptied the Colts into his chest, then the Spencer. By that time, the flames had taken their toll on his flesh.

I used his bayonet to cut off his head, and I kicked it, watching the skull burn as it bounced along the road.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

Help Support Cross, Massachusetts!

Hello! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please consider putting a dollar in the pot. 🙂 Every little bit helps, and each dollar allows me to spend more time creating posts and stories for you to read. Thank you for your support!

$1.00

The War of the Rebellion: North Carolina, 1864

Advertisements

The striga was hunting the pickets.

When I arrived at the unit, I learned from Captain Henry Dobson that he had lost seven pickets in as many nights. He had tried doubling up the men, but it was always the same. Whoever was the younger would be taken and found drained of blood in the morning.

There was no chance the dead men could come back. Captain Dobson was a great many things, as the saying goes, but a fool was not one of them. He had the bodies destroyed and sent a letter of regret to the soldiers’ families, informing them that their loved ones had died in battle.

He wanted it to stop.

Captain Dobson had heard of my exploits, and so he had sent for me. Unlike other men, he did not balk at my youthful appearance, nor doubt that I could carry out the task. When he asked me what I would need, I replied, “Nothing.”

I left immediately and inspected the places where the men had been slain. The striga was either careless or simply didn’t care. Regardless as to the reason, there was a slim trail, easily visible in the daylight to any who might have looked in the trees.

A half-mile later, the trail dropped from the pines to the ground, and I tracked the striga back to a small graveyard in an abandoned town. It took me almost an hour to find the grave, a great construct of marble and granite. Within it, according to the engravings, was Enoch Hatch, who had died only a few years earlier.

While I wondered how he had subsisted prior to the start of the war of the rebellion, I removed my haversack and went about the business of constructing an explosive. I had taken the precaution of bringing gunpowder and fuses, as well as a few other sundries for this particular hunt.

The sun was still high when I set the charge against the sarcophagus and then took refuge behind a nearby headstone.

A few moments later, the entire cemetery shook, and pieces of marble hurtled past.

The striga screamed as sunlight burned him, and a moment later, he exploded.

With my ears ringing and my head pounding, I sat on the edge of his sarcophagus and enjoyed the sun.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

Help Support Cross, Massachusetts!

Hello! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please consider putting a dollar in the pot. 🙂 Every little bit helps, and each dollar allows me to spend more time creating posts and stories for you to read. Thank you for your support!

$1.00

The War of the Rebellion: Georgia, 1864

Advertisements

I don’t know what city I was in, only that General Sherman had not yet reached it. And even if he had, his destruction would never have been so total or so wanton.

I started at the northern edge of the city, and I worked my way around the perimeter. The place was absent of corpses. All the trappings of life had been removed. It was as though the entire city had been emptied prior to its destruction, but I found it strange that not even a dog could be found wandering about.

Over the course of several hours, I explored the town, finally coming to its center sometime after noon, and it was then that I found someone.

He was a teenager by the sight of him, sitting alone on the wreckage of what must have been a church or some hall. His face was pale, his eyes wide, and he stared at me. Not with fear or surprise, but with that dazed expression seen only on those who have borne witness to the horrors of war for too long.

I approached him with caution, fully aware that he might lash out in madness. When I was a few feet away, he blinked several times and looked at me, realizing another person was there before him.

“Who are you?” I asked.

He shook his head. “I don’t know.”

“What happened here?”

He looked around at the destruction, and tears filled his eyes. “They came.”

“Who?”

“I don’t know,” he whispered. “But they killed every living creature. They ate them all, too. They crawled through the streets and drank the spilled they had spilled.”

“Why didn’t they kill you?”

“I don’t know.” His voice was hoarse, and the tears spilled down his cheeks, cutting a path through the dust and grime on his face. He blinked several times and whispered, “I don’t want to know.”

He looked at me, his eyes wide and filled with terror. “I don’t want to remember.”

I nodded and blew his brains out.

As the echo of the Colt faded, I shook my head. Sometimes, mercy is a burden.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

Help Support Cross, Massachusetts!

Hello! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please consider putting a dollar in the pot. 🙂 Every little bit helps, and each dollar allows me to spend more time creating posts and stories for you to read. Thank you for your support!

$1.00

The War of the Rebellion: Virginia (?), 1864

Advertisements

I’m not what the hell he was other than damned hard to kill.

I had lost my way in Virginia, tracking down what I was certain was a pack of hellhounds. As I came to an open pasture, a fetid stink filled the air, and in a moment, I found myself looking at a Secesh.

He was walking toward me, his weapon in hand, and the sun gleaming off his bayonet. Despite the distance between us, I could see a broad smile on his face.

I called for him to surrender, and when he didn’t respond, I raised my rifle to my shoulder and repeated my command. When he remained silent, I shot him in the chest.

The round from the Spencer should have put him down.

Instead of falling, the Secesh ran at me.

I emptied the Spencer in him, and all to no avail. He merely increased his speed. I don’t know if he could have fired his weapon, or if he merely sought to drive the damned thing through me, but I didn’t wait to find out. I dropped my rifle, drew both Colts, and hammered him with lead.

The bullets tore into him and severed his left hand around the wrist. They shredded his coat and slammed into his belly, and before I could attempt to reload, he was there.

I cast aside my Colts, the Bowie knife in my hand, as I met him face to face. He shrieked at me in a language I had never heard, and blood exploded from his mouth as he did so.

The fight was brutal, and in the end, I had to tear his guts out and pull his heart from his chest. It was only when I held his heart in my hands and cut the damned thing in half that he finally stopped moving.

I took both halves off to one side and set them each on fire, the stench of the burning organ one of the foulest I have ever suffered.

When I was certain that nothing save cinders remained, I reloaded my weapons, holstered the Colts, and slung the Spencer.

It was, I confess, one hell of a fight.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal

The War of the Rebellion: Virginia, 1864

Advertisements

We had been told the house was abandoned, and so we had brought our wounded there following a skirmish between ourselves and a Secesh skirmish along the Virginian border. While I went about the business of establishing pickets, the men discovered that the house was still occupied by a sole young woman. She helped treat the wounded, giving up her home to the most severely injured of our unit.

It wasn’t until I returned almost an hour later that I discovered the men in the yard were in a stupor. It seemed to me that they had been drugged, and no matter how I prodded or provoked them, I could not obtain a reaction.

The air stank of magic, a bitter, biting scent that clung to the back of the tongue and stung the eyes.

With my Colts in hand, I entered the house, moving slowly and listening. It took me several moments to realize I could not hear the cries of the wounded, and in a house filled with men suffering the wounds of shot and shell, the foundations should have shaken with the sounds of hurt.

What I heard instead was a terrible sucking, as though some animal was feasting on the last dregs of a wet meal in a trough.

I passed by unconscious men, stepped over the near-comatose bodies of others, and crept up the stairs. I followed the noise to the far end of the house, and when I peered into the last room, I found the source.

The young woman was crouched over the body of a sergeant, his shirt torn open to reveal the wound in his breast. Her lips were only a few inches above it, and some hideous proboscis protruded from her mouth and was buried in the heart of the injury.

She noticed my presence almost immediately, but it was still too late.

My Colts thundered, and I blew her brains out along the fleur-de-lis wallpaper of the room. As she sank to the floor, the back of her head splattered across the wall, the sergeant died.

I’m not certain what she was, nor do I really care. I called in my pickets, and we extracted our wounded, and before we left, I dismembered the body and threw it down the well.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #skulls #death #fear #evil #horrorobsessed #scary #paranormal