The War of the Rebellion: Virginia, 1865

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Sometimes, the only monsters I find are men.

I came upon the encampment shortly after noon and found no enlisted men, only officers, a lady, and a dog.

When I had first entered the encampment, I had heard laughter and raised conversation. As I passed along the center road, glancing at the various structures, I had seen a great deal of fresh supplies. Meat, fruit, casks of wine, and a healthy selection of liquors. There were even barrels of beer and kegs of tobacco.

Yet there were no soldiers that I could see.

I suppose that is why the officers and their guest fell silent when they saw me approach. When I reached them, I came to a stop. When I did not salute, an officer in a ridiculous hat demanded to know my business.

“I’m passing through,” I explained.

“Then you best continue, sergeant,” the man ordered.

“Where are the men?” I asked.

The officers snickered, and the lady let out a pleasant laugh.

I didn’t smile.

“There are no men here,” the man replied, patting his dog. “We are the only ones.”

“You’ve enough supplies for a brigade, at least,” I remarked.

“For the right buyer, yes,” the man stated. “However, no one has been willing to meet our price yet, so the food will sit where it is and rot.”

“There’s an artillery unit back a ways that needs fresh food,” I told him, lowering my hands to my Colts.

None of them noticed my movements, and the woman pointedly yawned.

“Yes, we’re well aware of that,” the officer in charge replied. “Their colonel refuses to pay the price, so his men and his horses will starve.”

“No. They won’t,” I told him and drew both Colts.

The group burst out laughing and only stopped when I blew the woman’s brains out. The men went for their weapons, and I put them all down as their dog ran away. When the echoes of my Colts faded, only the officer in charge was still breathing. I had shot him in the groin and he knew he was dying.

“Do you me to end it?” I asked.

He nodded, sweat standing out on his forehead from the pain.

“Hm. Those boys wanted to eat, too.”

I cleaned my Colts and watched him bleed out.

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The War of the Rebellion: South Carolina, 1865

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He screamed as he came rushing up from the depths of the trench.

It was not the rebel yell, nor any other sort of war cry which issued forth from his blood-flecked and foaming mouth.

No, this was a scream of pure terror and agony, his eyes wide with a fear few men have ever survived, and one he was certain not to.

I had both Colts drawn and leveled on him as he came to a halt, his bare feet skidding on the dirt. He looked past me, through me, as though I wasn’t there. Perhaps, at this point in his life, nothing existed save the pain. I watched as he ripped up his shirt and clawed at his belly, and it was then that I saw his stomach. It writhed and undulated as if there was something sinister beneath the skin, and in a moment, the Secesh in front of me proved there was.

Blood exploded from his mouth as he gouged out a space in his stomach, reaching in and pulling out a handful of his own entrails. He collapsed backward as an unknown creature snapped and howled within the confines of his belly. There was a brief expression of relief on the Secesh’s face, and then he was dead.

But his stomach did not cease.

In fact, the unseen creature redoubled its efforts, and I knew it would be a matter of moments before it chewed through the dead man’s entrails.

I stepped forward and unloaded one of the Colt’s into the dead man’s belly, only to see the creature’s head appear.

It had more eyes than a spider, and it had legs reminiscent of a crab. The damned thing shrieked when it saw me and tore itself a wider hole in its attempt to escape its now rotting prison.

With the other Colt, I blew it to pieces. Then, as it lay twitching half in and half out of the dead man, I stepped forward and crushed it beneath my bootheel.

A foul stench escaped from its carapace, and as a last act, I set man and beast afire.

Standing upwind from them, I loaded a pipe, lit the tobacco, and wondered how the in hell I would clean my boot.

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The War of the Rebellion: Georgia, 1865

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I don’t know what the hell he was, but he was damned foul.

It was one of the few days where I was not hunting. I was looking forward to a fine whiskey recently liberated from a commanding officer’s private collection, and a long smoke with my dog, Henry.

As we walked along, Henry’s nose to the ground and the birds singing a fine song around us, we came upon a large collection of corpses. What struck me as odd was the fact that there were both Federal and Secesh mixed together. This was not the normal procedure. Secesh were, more often than not, either left to rot where they fell or buried by their brethren who had been taken prisoner. We took care of our own, of course.

Yet here were these stacks of dead men, and I do mean stacks. Easily four and five feet high and running along both sides of the road.

Henry was no longer interested in whatever scent that had caught his attention, and the singing of the birds had lost its beauty. Ahead of us, I saw a large tent. A man was standing outside of it, and there was a body on a set of boards in front of him. The stranger was operating some sort of contraption, and he smiled broadly at me as I approached.

It was a smile filled with far too many teeth.

The hackles on my dog stood up, and I dropped a hand to my Colt, resting it there and returning the man’s smile as I came to a stop a short distance away.

“Good morning,” the man said, bowing slightly. “I take it you’re a scout?”

“I am,” I lied. “What are you?”

“A surgeon,” he answered, and I knew if for a lie as well. “I’m embalming this gentleman here. You’ve heard of the practice?”

I nodded. I knew of it and knew the man was not embalming the corpse. He was extracting something, and when I caught sight of a faint glow about the corpse’s neck, I drew my pistol and blew the surgeon’s jaw off. As he staggered back, I put three more rounds in his head.

It’s one thing to rob the dead. Quite another to steal their souls.

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

The War of the Rebellion: Virginia, 1865

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Beneath a tree in Virginia, we mourned our dead.

I had joined up with a unit of Indian sharpshooters and scouts, hunting down skinwalkers who had traveled from the Territories to eat the dead and feast on the wounded.

We had been unsure of the numbers we might face, but we had felt certain that thirty of us would be enough. These men were hunters and warriors, not a single untried man among us. For this reason alone, I believe, we survived. Had there been any in our number who had been possessed of self-doubt or fear, then I would not be recording this.

We were ambushed in a place that did not seem made for such an attack. The area was open, the day clear and bright. When our enemy attacked, it was in their skinwalker forms, and not with man-made weapons.

A trio of horses, appearing as though they were spooked, charged toward us, and we separated to allow the animals through. Yet as we did so, dozens of other skinwalkers attacked. They arrived in the form of birds and dogs, transforming as they ran, shifting shapes so rapidly that it was often difficult to fire with any sort of accuracy.

And no sooner did we recognize the threat than they were among us.

We were fighting with knives and hatchets, the butts of pistols and rifles used as clubs. Men were slain by tooth and claw, heads crushed by hooves and eyes torn out by talons and beaks.

Not knowing what time the attack began, we could give no idea as to how long we fought, though it seemed far too long.

When the battle ended, the remaining skinwalkers fled, and there were not many of them.

Yet neither were there many of us.

Fifteen were dead. Fully half our number. Everyone was wounded, to greater or lesser degrees. Even I had suffered my share of injuries.

We buried our dead where they fell, unable to carry them home. In silence, we gathered beneath a nearby tree and made camp for the night. There was little more we could do.

As we tended our wounded, I cleaned my Colts and hoped the skinwalkers would be foolish enough to return.

They were not.

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

The War of the Rebellion: Georgia, 1865

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It wasn’t the rattle of gunfire which caught my attention, but rather the prolonged screaming which followed.

I am well familiar with the sounds of battle, the cries of the wounded, and the painful shrieking of the dying.

This was something different. Something worse.

I put my spurs into the horse’s sides and sent him off like a bolt down the trail, branches whipping me as the horse hurtled fallen trees and men. As we broke through into a small clearing, I saw the source of the screams.

A young sergeant was on his stomach, the side of his face pressed against the earth and a crazed look in his eyes. His entire body was straining, as though he was trying to push himself away from the ground, yet he appeared unable to gain any purchase. The young man’s shrieks caused my horse, hardly a skittish animal, to shy away.

Leaping down from my saddle, I ran to the sergeant to see where he was injured, and it was only then that he realized I was there. His eyes widened, focused on me, and in a hoarse voice, he shrieked, “It won’t let go!”

It was then that I saw his arms were in a hole in the ground, and no matter how hard he pulled pack, he could not free himself.

I drew one of my Colt’s, aimed it into the hole, and emptied all six cylinders, yet still, the young man was stuck. Furious, I drew the second, fired it until she was dry, and then cast the weapon aside.

I unsheathed my Bowie knife, and the sergeant looked at me in understanding. He gave a single nod and closed his eyes.

It took me less than a minute to cut through both his elbows, a minute more to tie off the wounds. Beneath me, the ground rumbled as the unseen beast scurried off with its meal. I reloaded my weapons, cleaned my knife, and set the unconscious soldier on the back of my horse.

The sergeant’s name was Alvin Youst of New York, and he sobbed when he awoke.

Not from pain. Not from sadness, but with the sheer joy of being alive.

The War of the Rebellion: North Carolina, 1865

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The need to eat nearly cost me my life.

I had stopped at an abandoned encampment this morning, and once I checked the buildings and any other place I could think of, I felt reasonably certain that I was alone.

With a spot picked out, I built a small fire and cooked the rations I had left. I was tired and worn, and my mind was not where it should have been.

The first inkling I had that something might be out of place was the sudden lack of birdsong. I have known for nearly two centuries that when the animals no longer wish to be heard, then there is something wrong.

I was reaching for my Colts when he struck, leaping out of a pile of stones as though he was made of them, and for a short time, my hands were convinced he was.

Our fight raged back and forth across a small open area, and it had none of the finesse or gentlemanly qualities of a dual. It was a true fight, a bitter fight, one where the only goal is to win by any means necessary.

I broke fingers punching him in the face, injured my knee driving it into his groin, and nearly lost an eye when he tried to bite my nose off. It was then, I confess that I lost what little composure I had.

Digging a thumb into his left eye, I screamed as loud as he did at the pain. It felt as though shards of glass were driven beneath my nail, and when I scooped the eye from the socket, I discovered it was indeed glass. Still, mingled with it was not only my blood, but the creature’s as well.

Howling with a manic joy, I smashed his head against the earth and heard it crack. As he spun to free himself, I saw the hole in his head and the strange, pulsing stones within. Without hesitation, I thrust my fingers into his skull and tore out as much as I could.

The creature bucked several times before he died with my hand still in his head.

I sat in silence for a moment, then turned my attention back to my fire, angry the damned thing had gone out.

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