“This is who we are,” said the man in the bandana, who stood next to him on the grassy hill. “And this, fellow paladin, is what we do. Beautiful, isn’t it?”
Williams watched as the steeples of a church burned and collapsed, then focused on a woman carrying a child from the wreckage.
The stranger continued: “Don’t look to us for the method of carnage—fire is of the Other’s design. We only use it as a means to an end. But watch now as I show you what will happen when we descend upon your Barley—and what mercy to expect from us when we finally do. And tell me if it would not be better to simply turn around now, while you still can, and ignore the Call completely.”
Williams squinted through the smoke as a motorcycle burst into view and bore down upon the woman, its headlight creating a halo, its rider brandishing a sword. Then, before he could so much as cry out a warning, the rider struck, beheading the woman in one fell swoop before continuing on with a rumble and leaving the child abandoned in her arms.
And then Williams was turning to the mysterious figure with the intent of killing him with his bare hands, but froze when he saw that the man was no longer there: that he had been replaced with something else, something about 9-feet-tall and covered with kinky hair, with a goat’s head and six golden eyes, which vanished as he blinked—awakening with a start—and heard Sheila say, with desperation in her voice: “Will, It’s Ank. And he’s gone.”
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Wayne Kyle Spitzer (born July 15, 1966) is an American author and low-budget horror filmmaker from Spokane, Washington. He is the writer/director of the short horror film, Shadows in the Garden, as well as the author of Flashback, an SF/horror novel published in 1993. Spitzer’s non-genre writing has appeared in subTerrain Magazine: Strong Words for a Polite Nation and Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History. His recent fiction includes The Ferryman Pentalogy, consisting of Comes a Ferryman, The Tempter and the Taker, The Pierced Veil, Black Hole, White Fountain, and To the End of Ursathrax, as well as The X-Ray Rider Trilogy and a screen adaptation of Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows.”