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Contents Copyright by Bruce Durham unless noted otherwise
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I wondered what would become of Catharine. The Morrisons had agreed to take her in until Governor Simcoe decided how best to act, given her state. Not that she was any trouble. Far from it.

 

My sole visit to the Morrison home after the events of last week proved heartbreaking. Catharine sat rigid in a rocking chair next to a feather bed, her gentle hands knotted and working feverishly. Her brown eyes, once so vibrant and alive, were glassy and vacant; fixed on some point beyond the log wall with its mud mortar and tufts of straw. But that was not the worst of it. What tightened my throat was the thin line of drool trickling down the corner of her mouth to pool on her lap.

 

That constant discharge unnerved me, and I dabbed at it repeatedly while engaging her in conversation, discussing aimlessly about the weather and the latest goods at Rousseau’s general store. But, despite my best efforts, she never acknowledged me. I do not believe she was aware of my presence.

 

Frustrated and grief-stricken, I took my leave, though not before exchanging words with Mrs. Morrison about Catharine’s condition, imploring the woman to alert me over any change.

 

My farewells said, I strode the long dirt path to the town street where I briefly acknowledged sombre greetings from concerned well-wishers. I set out west for the long walk to the garrison at York and the bottle of rum I knew waited. Alone with my thoughts, I reflected on the events from those grisly days, events that would haunt me to my death.

 

#

 

“Eliot. Corporal Matthew Eliot.”

 

The pronunciation of my name with that Scottish lilt brought a smile of anticipation to my lips. Planting my shovel into ground churned by last night’s thunderstorm, I straightened and wiped at the sweat on my forehead. I was more than eager for a break in the tedious task of road repair.

 

Catharine Crane stood not a dozen paces from me, smiling her greeting. I could not help but notice the long brown hair that cascaded from under a green bonnet to curl about her shoulders, framing a heart-shaped face with its slightly upturned nose and full lips. Even her dress, at one time immaculate, but now well-worn and tattered from the hard life of farming, distracted little from her beauty.

 

The men in my unit paused in their labors and offered polite greeting.  

The Crane Horror
Excerpt
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Excellent story. A worthy addition to the Cthulhu milieu. - Larry Atchley - author, Lawyers in Hell

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Great tale! Durham nails it. - David J. West, author of ‘Heroes of the Fallen’

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Great stuff ... Atmospheric. - Paul McNamee - author of Planet Stories

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Engrossing from beginning to end. Absolutely first rate! - John M. Whalen - author of Jack Brand

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Deadly fun! - Jason M. Waltz - Publisher of Rogue Blades Entertainment

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