A Place Called Draco

Submitted into Contest #65 in response to: Write about a group of witches meeting up on Halloween night.... view prompt


Fiction Horror

Elias Miller was staring at the old man sitting in a lone chair in the corner of the restaurant and wondering to himself, “Does that guy even know he’s dead?” When the scritching of a chair’s legs on the wood floor diverted his attention.

“That’s ‘Charlie’s Chair’. No one sits there except him”. The woman who set herself across the table from Miller softly spoke. Unbidden, she continued to elaborate on the subject at hand. “Every night after work, he would come in, and sitting in that chair, he would read the newspaper while sipping his coffee. He then goes home to his ailing wife.

“She had a cancer, you see. One night he put a bullet in her head to relieve her suffering and then did likewise to himself. Some say he continues to come in every night and sit in that chair just like he always did and that is why it is roped off.”

Turning her head to look directly at Miller, she introduces herself. “Kelsie MacNeil sir, would you be Elias Miller the Private Detective?”

Gently taking the hand extended to him, “That’s me.” He sullenly responded to the thin, pale woman with flaming-red hair. “I understand that you have a job for me.”

“Well, that depends.”

“On what?”

“Madame Dupree, says that you have ‘Special Skills’.”

Miller had heard of the Occultist and Psychic called ‘Madame Dupree’ in that she was a Seer consulted by some of Boston’s rich and famous. Kelsie, dressed in a full-length fur coat and with diamonds and other jewels on her hands and draped around her neck, fit the “Rich” part. Famous however didn’t click with her name. “How did she define ‘Special Skills’?” He asked.

“You saw Charlie sitting there, didn’t you?”

“What if I did?”

“Dupree told me that you died in the war, but came back. That ever since then you’ve been able to see the dead and communicate with them among other abilities that have helped you solve crimes others couldn’t.”

Miller felt like a kid who had been caught cheating in school and was being given a lecture by the Principle. “It has been useful.” He reluctantly admitted.

“Excellent!” MacNeil said without much enthusiasm. Reaching into a side pocket of the purse that hung on her arm she retrieved a small piece of paper and handed it to the Detective. “A little over a year ago my brother heard of the oil and gas finds in the Permian Basin of Texas and went there to see if he could get in on the business opportunities.

“We haven’t heard from him since and the law in Texas was not being helpful at all. So I went to Madame Dupree and she came back with those three words. A place called Draco, Texas. And then what appears to be a name, Aubrudin.”

“Texas is a long way off…” Before Elias Miller could finish his statement, a thick stack of Twenty Dollar bills was pulled out of Kelsie’s purse and placed on the table in front of him.


“No need for you to do anything but go straight through that town and not stop.” Said the wiry man with sun-leathered skin and a Sheriff’s badge on his vest. “Especially no reason for you to be there after sundown. Folks in Draco don’t much cotton to outsiders. Everything you’ll need is at the work camp. Company Store, Company Saloon, and Company Whores.”

“And Company Sheriff.” Grumbled Miller as he finished gassing up the rickety War Surplus, Liberty Truck.

Sheriff William Cardin gives a hard look at the man with a five-day-old beard and ragged scar that started above his left eye and traced down to his right jaw. “What’s your name fella?”

“Miller. Elias Miller. Why?”

“So we’ll know what to put on your grave marker. It’s dangerous work out in them oil fields, even if all you’re doing is driving that truck.”

“I’ve been in dangerous situations before.” Said Miller who then pointed to his face. “Like when one of the Kaiser’s men used his pig sticker to do this.”

“Listen here Bud, you look like you might be someone for whom the rules don’t mean much. And you don’t know the way things are around here! That oil company bossman you want to work for won’t care how tough you think you are and he won’t think twice about making you into Coyote Bait, so you better mind the rules!”

Miller didn’t respond, just used his pocket knife to cut off another chunk of chewing tobacco and place it in his mouth.


Even though Draco was established a half-century before in 1875 and had been a notorious outlaw hideout with several violent deaths, it seemed completely devoid of any ghostly activity. Also peculiar, all West-facing windows had iron bars on them. The exception being the small shack behind the General Store where Miller was being allowed to stay while he “fixed” the truck.

Looking up from the compass in his hand to the shed’s west wall, his eyes were drawn to the window’s frame. No Nails! Just wooden pegs holding it together. The same for the rest of the structure he was standing in. This created an uneasy feeling that sent his hand under his heavy work coat to check the shoulder holster that held his M1911. “C’mon Elias! Shake it off and think!” He says under his breath. 

Despite the Sonora Sheriff’s warning, the people in the town seemed to be going out of their way to make him welcome. Even to the point of inviting him to their Halloween activities when everyone would gather that night around the nearly nine-foot stone pillar in the square. Something about not seeing any children around, who would normally be engaging in the ancient celebration, made him politely decline.

A chill October wind blew through the open window and when it carried a cloud of the ochre-colored West Texas dust to his nostrils it sent him into a choking spasm. As Miller stepped to close the opening, his vision went to the monolith in the near distance. There in the flickering pale-yellow light of the torches that the townspeople had placed around it, he saw “Aubrudin” chiseled into the base.


It came to Miller, after some thought, that Supernatural Beings can be seriously harmed or even destroyed by iron and salt. He had suspicions that the store wouldn’t have any of these items, especially on Halloween, and he had been right. So it was with a deep sense of hope, as he was on his way back to the truck, that his boot kicked up an old cast iron horseshoe. Knowing that the creatures that inhabited Draco wouldn’t just let him drive out of town, he at least had something to even the fight.

As he finished lashing the shoe to a Mesquite branch and thus fashioning a kind-of Battle Axe, he heard the grocer’s wife, Mrs. Greene, at the shed’s door. “It gets a bit cool at night so I thought you might need some extra blankets, Mister Miller.” Softly spoke the elderly lady.

When he turned to face the woman, she saw the improvised weapon Miller was holding and said with a sneer, “My! Aren’t you the clever one!”

“Who or What is Aubrudin?” Miller asked with a growling sound.

Not needing a disguise any longer, Mrs. Greene, the overly pleasant grocer’s wife, fell away and revealed a cadaverous crone instead. With a high-pitched screech of a voice, she responded, “It doesn’t seem to have been that long ago but, I guess it has. Fifteen-hundred years to be exact. I and the rest of my kin pledged a Covenant to the King of the Damned. He is the arch-enemy of the King of the Christian invaders to our lands in what is now called Scotland.

“In return, Satan opened the Blood Iron gates, the metal of which was smelted from the blood of Martyrs and Saints to the lands of the Dark Fae. Thereupon was unleashed the Slaugh and their Queen, Aubrudin, to feed on the souls of those who opposed them.

“We were on the verge of reconquering the lands from the Isles to the Highlands when fourteen heroes, chosen from the last of the clans, came against us. When the battle ended, only Aubrudin and one of the Heroes remained. As he lay dying of his grievous wounds, he gave instructions to take his blood, and that of his thirteen slain comrades and fashion a Blood Iron weapon to be used against the Slaugh Queen.”

With a huge grin stretched across his face, Elias Miller spoke to the revelation that had just flowed into his mind, “As long as she is alive, your Coven will be also. You guys thought the better of it would be to run and that’s how you ended up here. So once a year, on the eve of Samhain, what we call Halloween, you feed the bitch.” Raising the horseshoe weapon to be between himself and the witch, he spoke sharply, “And I’m intended to be that sacrifice.”

“I knew you were smarter than you looked! But you are a very special soul, having been to the other side and back. You might say, a delicacy.”

“You gotta know that I’m not going down without a fight.”

“That is why I am here, lad, to take the fight out of you.” With that, the blankets lept out of Greene’s arms and wrapped themselves tightly around Miller.


Soon after the witch left to join the others gathered around the obelisk, the clock struck midnight. That was when the Slaugh Queen, Aubrudin, made her appearance by slithering through the open window. Her frightful appearance made Miller’s body shiver in cold fear. Thin, pale, and corpse-like with gangly arms and legs that ended in long, sharp claws. She folded her leathery wings around herself as with a cape and moved close to her victim while making a kind-of purring noise.

Just as the thing opened its fanged maw over Elias’ face a female voice filled with an ancient rage shouted, “Look at the face of your killer, you Whore of The Devil!”

When the monster turned to its challenger, the Detective saw that it was Kelsie MacNeil standing in the doorway. The twang of a crossbow string and the thump of an object finding the mark was followed by Aubrudin being set slightly back.

Confused and standing on unsteady legs, the hellish being was desperately trying to pull the bolt from her chest but was suddenly too weak to do so. A thick, black cloud formed around her as the screams of the coven outside shook the room with earthquake intensity. When the cloud dissipated and all was again still, her desiccated body fell to the floor.

Kelsie walked purposefully to the corpse and kicked it. The ancient, dry flesh turned into a cloud of dust and the brittle bones came apart in splinters. Reaching down, she recovered her arrow with the Blood Iron tip from among the remains.


“Being the bait in your trap, I would say that is what I would call too close for comfort!” Miller admonished with feigned anger while disentangling himself from his bindings.

“You needn’t worry, Mister Miller, God has plans for you beyond what happened here.” Kelsie quietly replied as she turned to the doorway and awaited the first rays of the rising sun.

When Elias stepped to stand beside the woman, he noticed a faint white aura seemed to be emanating from her. “What about His plans for you?”

“With the ending of Aubrudin, the oath I took a millennium and a half ago also ended. With the dawn, I will join those of my clan that went before and my husband, the fourteenth warrior.”

The End

October 29, 2020 03:14

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