Brimstone Air Part 1

 

In downtown Boston, Charles Landon leaves his apartment for work. The place appears to be quite quaint. Resting on the fourth floor, it is only a simple studio apartment. His ginger hair is a mess and his clothes being slightly too big for his lanky appearance. His bag thrown over one shoulder as he locks the front door.

He heads down the hall toward the elevator, passing a bald, tan man as he does. He has seen this man around the building before. A strange one he is, always having a hint of brimstone aroma around him. The man always seems to have a pair of old fashioned aviators on. Despite the overcast outside. Charles puts the thought from his mind, it’s not really his place to judge what people wear, especially since he always wears clothes too big for him. Be damned if he could find clothes for his size.

Stepping into the elevator he pushes the button for the ground floor. The trip down is only slowed by a patron on the second floor getting on. She must be heading to work as well. Her name was Chloe. She is an average looking woman. Her thick black hair brushed to one side, thick red glasses that frame her teardrop face perfectly.

She works with Charles at local news station. She works as a reporter, while Charles only works on the paper side of things. Charles has had opportunity to move up in the company, but he has a love for the printed word. The smell of the paper as the ink is pressed into it has always filled him with a certain sense of pride, seeing as his line of work was a dying breed and yet he manages to keep it alive, if only barely.

Giving a smile to her as she enters the elevator, he is reluctant to say a word. He has no idea how to strike up a conversation with her. Either due to being shy or being introverted, he’s not sure witch.

It was late when he got home from work, around one in the morning. The hall way and the elevator smelled heavily of brimstone. All the way up to his door he can’t get the smell out of his nostrils. Opening his apartment door, the sandalwood scent hitting him in the face like a gale force wind. The subtle smell brings a refreshing break from the dense thick smell of the brimstone outside.

He goes to his fridge and opens a beer before collapsing on his couch. Charles sits there and watches the small television in his tiny abode, before being lulled to sleep by the repetitive nature of his nights.

Charles is started from his sleep by a slight pinprick of pain that encroaches from his neck. Raising an arm to rub his neck, as if to rub the pain away. It was probably just a crick in his neck from the way he slept. To his surprise, this is not the case. His hand is met, not by the warm smoothness that is flesh, but rather the cold and stick texture of semi solidified syrup. Bringing his hand back into view, it is coated with a dark red, almost black, liquid. Blood halfway to coagulating.

To his horror, Charles rushes to his bathroom mirror to inspect his neck. Looking over every detail. There is a massive amount of smeared blood collected on his neck but none of it dripped. There is a single slit down the side of his neck in a vertical. But it wasn’t the cut nor the lack of dripping. that made him tremble. It was that there was an imprint in the blood of a pair of human lips placed directly above the cut.

–K.E. Oskold

They Got the Definition Wrong

“It has been said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. I understand the sentiment behind the saying, but it’s wrong.I entered the building on a bet. I was strapped for cash and didn’t buy into the old legends of the hotel to begin with, so fifty bucks was more than enough to get me do it. It was simple. Just reach the top floor, the 45th floor, shine my flashlight from a window.The hotel was old and broken, including the elevator, so that meant hiking up the stairs. So up the stairs I went. As I reached each platform, I noted the old brass plaques displaying the floor numbers. 15, 16, 17, 18. I felt a little tired as I crept higher, but so far, no ghosts, no cannibals, no demons. Piece of cake.I can’t tell you how happy I was as I entered that last stretch of numbers. I joyfully counted them aloud at each platform. 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 44. I stopped and looked back down the stairs. I must have miscounted, so I continued up. 44. One more flight. 44. And then down ten flights. 44. Fifteen flights. 44.And so it’s been for as long as I can remember. So really, insanity isn’t doing something repeatedly and expecting different results. It’s knowing that the results will never ever change; that each door leads to the same staircase, to the same number. It’s realizing you no longer fall asleep. It’s not knowing whether you’ve been running for days or weeks or years. It’s when the sobbing slowly turns into laughter.”

Lloiu

Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Seven

This is the latest chapter in “Hidden By Fog.” It was just completed late yesterday. So, after this post there will not be another post for this novel-in-progress until the next chapter is complete. I hope you can understand.

 

Walker: Chapter Seven

Year: 1661

Location: Plymouth

 

Slowly coming through the forest trail, Allen spots the silhouette of Plymouth rising along the horizon. The energy of the caravan skyrockets with the sight of the port town before them. Each patron manages to muster a little more strength to hasten their arrival.

They enter the city through the east gate, passing the ship harbor and farmlands as they do. The caravan driver made sure that everyone made it into the city and gave the dead woman to the priests that reside in the city. Allen mentions to the priest her peculiar departure. With the priest taken aback by the story, he blesses Allen for his service of killing the witch.

The caravan spends a day or so in the town to rest and prepare for the journey to Falmouth. Allen heads to the port side of the town. His next step in his journey is to secure a boat to America. Allen walked the dock as he saw ships of all sizes, some unloading and some loading up. Taking in the view of the magnificent vessels, he heads to the harbormaster’s station. There is a burly looking man standing in the doorway watching the ships until he spots Allen

“Ello, sir,” the large man says, “That’s a nice beast you ‘ave there.”

“Hello,” Allen replies, “and thank you.”

“Wha’ can I do fo’ ya, sir?”

“I’m looking for the harbormaster.”

“That’d be me.”

“I was wondering if there were any ships that were heading to America, particularly Jamestown?”

“Aye, I got one. Just came in yesterday from there.”

“I would like to secure passage for the soonest departure.”

“I’ll be tomorrow ‘fore the vessels ready to go.”

“That’s fine. How much will it cost me to secure passage?”

“’Round ten silver.”

“Deal. I’ll pay before I board in the morning.”

“Right, sir. See you in the morning.”

Allen and Jinx leave the harbormaster’s station. They wander about the streets of Plymouth in search for an inn. Finally finding an inn with few patrons and allows dogs, they enter the building. The atmosphere appears to be calming and serene. Allen looks to the barkeep.

“Do you have any rooms available for the evening,” He asks.

“Aye, have about half a dozen of ‘em still open,” The gentleman replies.

“Alright, I’ll take one. And a glass of brandy to go along with it.”

Allen lays money on the counter to cover the room and drink as the barkeep pours the drink.

“It’s the first room on the left up the stairs,” the barkeep states.

“Thanks,” Allen replies as he takes the drink and heads up to his room for the evening.

*******

Year: 1661

Location: Roanoke Island, America

Hevphrys sits upon a throne made of flesh and bone, slaves standing to either side of him. The walls are decorated with the bodies of the dead and lined with tools of torture. A massive bear of black fur, covered in scars, lays in the corner of the room. A young woman, silky black hair and olive colored skin, enters the massive room. The bear stirs and stares at the woman as she enters.

“I’m sorry, lord, but Uriel managed to defeat me,” the woman says, dropping to one knee before the creature.

“Aye, I know but you did manage to solidify his departure to America,” Hevphrys replies.

“I did. My sisters say that he is in Plymouth now waiting on a ship to depart.”

“Good, Good,” Hevphrys says with a menacing joy in his voice, “However, you were only killed by your greed over the unborn child.”

“I’m sorry, my lord. It won’t happen again.”

“Oh, I know it won’t,” He says as he rises from his gruesome throne.

With a wave of his hand the woman is lifted from the ground.

“There is only room for my lust, not yours. You failed. For that you must pay the price.”

The woman now suspended in the air, shows a face of absolute terror on her face as the creature before her slowly walks up to her. He grips one of her wrists with both of his hands. The woman releases a cry of pain at the strength of the grip holding onto her limb. With a sudden tension brought to the muscles in his arms, her arm is torn off.

The woman lets out a heinous cry of pain as she feels the tendons and muscles snap from her shoulder. Hevphrys tosses the now disembodied arm over to the bear in the corner. The beast rips into it like the carcass of a fresh kill.

“I’ve done this too many times for your petty greed to get in my way,” Hevphrys says.

“I’m sorry, lord. It won’t happen again, I swear,” the woman cries.

“It’s too late for that. I won’t tolerate this action.”

Hevphrys, now standing in front of the woman, raises his hand. He lowers it, as an idea crosses his mind.

“You will have a second chance. But fail me again and it will be far worse than death,” he says with a sinister grin gracing his lips.

“Yes, lord. I promise I will succeed in whatever you request of me,” the woman replies.

“Do you know the priest that he has grown close to?”

“No, but he was there chanting when Uriel struck me with that cursed stake.”

“I want you to kill him.”

“Yes, my lord. It shall be so.”

*******

Year: 1661

Location: Plymouth, England

Allen has trouble falling asleep during the night. The patrons at the bar downstairs, as few as there are, are still fairly loud. He heard a glass break earlier. The room he paid for is extremely bare. Only a small bed, dresser, and a single mirror. Oh well, he was only going to be there for one night. Sleep eventually finds its way to Allen and he rests for the first time since he left London.

Morning comes accompanied by the crows of roosters in the farm steads just outside the city. Allen rises from his bed and wakes Jinx.

“You ready to go,” he asks.

With a rather loud bark in response, Jinx jumps up from her rest and her stub of a tail wagging. They both leave the in, viewing the passed-out patrons in the bar as they do. They make their way back to the harbormaster. Once they arrive in the harbor, Allen spots the harbormaster sitting in a chair just outside his station, a pipe hanging from his jaw.

“Morning, is the ship ready to depart,” Allen asks the man.

“Aye it is,” he replies, “They were goin’ to leave early but I managed to ‘suade them to wait just a bit ‘till you got here.”

“My thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Oh, and it’s the ship o’er there. The Balagore.”

As Allen is about to board the ship he is greeted by a familiar face leaned over the railing of the ship. Father Henry. Feeling slightly disgruntled by the priest following him, he marches up the catwalk to the deck of the ship.

“You’re late,” Father Henry shouts out to Allen.

“Or you were early,” Allen shouts back in response, not being able to resist the snark. As soon as Allen steps foot onto the deck of the ship the catwalk is pulled away. Men, below on the dock, start untying the ropes holding the ship. And they were off, Allen, Jinx, and Father Henry.

“So, what made you get on the ship to America,” Allen asks.

“Well, after telling the priests here about what had happened on the road,” Henry began, “I told them of a possible witch problem in Jamestown. I told them that it was imperative that I go because our brothers in America probably don’t have any experience with actual witches.”

“Ah, I see. So, the truth is that you wanted to come along and see if you could help?”

“Half the truth. You wouldn’t be able to face a witch without my help, yet anyway.”

“What do you mean ‘yet’?”

“Well, during our last escapade with a witch I sensed something I’ve never felt before.”

Allen just looks at the Father with a curious look in his eyes.

“I can’t explain it. The only thing I can gather from it is this; You may not love God but he sure does have a plan for you.”

“I’d rather not think of such things. My strength is my own, not that of a malevolent slave master.”

Allen’s words cut Henry deep. Allen could see this. He puts one solid hand on the Father’s shoulder and gives it a slight squeeze, almost as if giving a non-verbal apology.

“How’re ye two doin’,” some stranger shouts from the helm.

Both men turn and look to where the voice came from. Having to crone their necks to see the man standing at the top of the stairs.

“Just fine, sir,” Allen says, “and who might you be?”

“I’m the cap’n o’ this here ship, Mr. Thorn,” the man says as he descends the staircase.

“Ah, well it’s nice to meet you,” Henry says, “I’m Father Henry and this is Allen Walker.”

“Well, good to meet the two o’ ya,” Mr. Thorn says, “just like to meet all the patrons of ma vessel.”

“Are there more than just the two of us,” Allen asks.

“Aye, there’s a group of women that boarded before the both o’ ya,” he says as he points to a group of women that are standing at the bow of the ship.

Allen isn’t quite sure how he didn’t notice them before, but now that he believes he knows one of them, having olive colored skin and silky black hair. Allen tries to hide his face of shear shock and disbelief. Both Allen and Henry look to each other and nod.

“Listen, Captain, one of those women is not normal,” Allen says.

“Oh, really, how so?”

“The one with the olive skin is a witch.”

“And how do ya know that? And how, she’s only got one arm.”

“It’s true, we killed her not a week ago,” Father Henry chiming in.

“Look here, the two o’ ya. You two seem like decent folk but I don’t want any issues on ma ship. You understand?”

“Yes, sir, of course,” Father Henry says.

“Alright, good. Now if you are worried about that little lass, then you can be. But I don’t want any bloodshed unless it comes down to someone dyin’. Got it?”

“Yes,” Allen says allowing a hint of his irritation show through his voice.

Tap…Tap…Tap…Tap Tap Tap Tap…Tap…Tap…

Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Six

Walker: Chapter Six

Year: 1661

Location: Somewhere Outside of London

 

As they make their way back to the caravan, all the other patrons are awake and waiting. They all have the look of terror on their faces as they see Jeffery, Father Henry, and Allen carrying a body exit the forest. Allen sets the body of the woman onto the back of one of the wagons. Looking over the faces of the crowd, he searches for the family of the witch he had just slain.

“There was a witch among you,” he shouts, “I have slaughtered her with extreme prejudice. That bitch stole the life of both this woman,” motioning toward the corpse, “and her baby! If there are any more among you, pray that I don’t find you or you better kill me where I stand.”

Not a single patron moved, even an inch. Of course, Allen doesn’t expect an answer. He began to wrap the woman in white cloth, provided by the caravan driver. Thankfully there’s plenty. You never truly know what can happen on the road. After finishing his business, Father Henry goes about blessing the body.

Allen rushes to find a place to be alone in the caravan, which isn’t hard, most of the patrons are over looking at the corpse or talking to the priest for peace of mind. Finding a place of solitude, Allen pulls a flask from his travel bag. Taking a massive swig, he looks down at his hands. They’re shaking.

‘Were they shaking whilst I shouted to the crowd, I’ll never know, I guess.’

He takes another swig from the flask.

“So, this is how you deal with it,” The Father says, sneaking up on Allen.

“Aye, it’s the only thing that quells the memories,” Allen replies, taking the stake from his pocket and holding it out to the priest.

“No, you keep it. It appears to be much more effective in your hands.”
“All right, thank you.” Allen says as he places the stake on his belt.

“You’re welcome, Dr.”

“May I ask a favor of you Father?”

“Of course.”

“I wish to confess.”

“All right, my son, come with me to my tent.”

As Allen follows the priest to his tent, he could feel the eyes of the others on him. Most of them look thankful, others look frightened of him. He can’t blame them.

Father Henry and Allen make it to his tent and that’s when a smell, so foul that it could burn your nose hairs, presented itself. Allen has smelled this before; rotten flesh. He stops the Father.

“Do you smell that” Allen asks, slightly worried.

“Yes, I do,” he replies, “Another witch?”

“Maybe. Let’s go.”

They follow their noses to the origin of the scent. It comes from one of the wagons. Allen pulls out the silver-cross stake. In hopes of surprising whomever may be inside, Allen pulls back on the wagon curtain with a sudden jerk. There are several people inside the wagon, all dead. They were the “family” of the witch that he had killed a short while ago. No wonder they weren’t with the rest of the caravan when they exited the forest. Based on the looks of the bodies they have been dead for at least five days.

“They’ve been dead for quite a while,” Allen says to the Father.

“They certainly smell like it,” he retorts, “I’m going to take a guess and assume that they were kept animated and fresh by the witch.”

“Aye, that’d be my guess as well,” Allen says, “We can’t leave them here. Might as well go about burying them, can’t afford the risk of disease.”

The Father, nodding his head in agreement, starts getting the bodies out of the wagon. The caravan driver sees what is happening and starts to walk toward them, grabbing a few shovels on his way over. By the time he makes it, they have managed to get only one body out of the wagon. They are extremely rigid.

‘Got to love rigor mortis,’ Allen thought.

“Looks like the two o’ ya could use some help,” the driver says.

“It’d be much appreciated.” Henry replies.

With the three of them, they manage to get the bodies out of the wagon, four in total. The corpses show signs of poisoning from what Allen could tell. Looking back into the wagon, what appears to be a large quantity of Nightshade, is sitting there.

‘Not the best poison in the world,’ Allen thought, ‘but I guess she had to use what she could get.’

They take the bodies through the forest to the clearing where the witch was killed. They set about digging a single mass grave for the four of them. The rain was still coming down rather heavily and started to come down at an angle. The smell of death all around them, the sounds of the rain dulling their hearing to the point of deafness from the downpour, they continued to dig. The rain starts to fill the hole as quickly as they make it.

“There’s no use to this,” Allen shouts, “If we put them into the hole now the rain will do the filling for us.”

As Father Henry is about to deny the action, Allen instantly pushes the bodies into the hole.

“Why did you do that,” Henry asks, “The lord demands they have a proper burial!”

“If we take our time doing a proper burial, the wagons back at camp will be so far in the mud we’ll be lucky to make it to Plymouth before Christmas!”

“He’s right,” The caravan driver chiming in, “If we don’t hurry back and move, we’ll be fucked.”

“Fine,” Henry says, showing his disgust with the situation.

“HA HA HA HA HAAAA!” a profoundly deep voice chuckles, “Oh, Uriel!”

Allen looks around, there’s no sign of anyone or anything. Looking to Father Henry and the caravan driver, they don’t seem to have heard it.

What the fuck was that?’

The three of them dump the bodies and head back to the camp where they arrive just in time to prevent the wagons from sinking. Unable to determine if the sun had risen, they gather up the patrons and press on.

“Father,” Allen says.

“Yes, Dr.” The Father replies.

“I still wish to confess.”

“Alright. However, I do believe that this is the most private that we will be able to be, especially after the events from yesterday.”

“That is fine with me. I am not ashamed of my past. Only wish to attain forgiveness for it.”

“Very well, my son. You may begin whenever you are ready.”

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” Allen begins, “It has been fourteen years, one month, and twelve days since my last confession.”

“That’s pretty close for one who hasn’t confessed in over a decade,” Farther Henry replies.

“For you to understand my past I will have to go back farther than ten years even. For it to be comprehensible anyway,” Allen says before recalling the terrors of the civil wars.

–K. E. Oskold

Hidden By Fog: Walker: Chapter Five

During the night, around midnight, Allen begins to hear strange echoing voices chanting in a deep ethereal tone. Taken aback by the sounds he hears; a realization hits him.

‘Wait. These voices aren’t what I normally hear,’ Allen thought.

Taking a moment to quietly look around outside of the wagon he was sleeping in, being careful to stay as low as possible. The sound is so faint yet he picked it up. In the center of the caravan circle where the fire pit resides, the fire inside of it is only smoldering at this point of the night, yet there is another light source. It appears as if it is coming from the forest beyond the wagon circle.

Stepping out of the wagon, Allen quietly unsheathes kopfjägor. Jinx staying close behind him, almost silently. Moving through the wagon circle to the tent in which Father Henry sleeps, Allen quickly goes to wake him.

“Father Henry!” Allen whispers.

“What…what is it?” the Father asks.

“Listen closely,” Allen says worriedly, “Do you hear that?”

The priest takes a moment to listen to the sounds of the night. Allen can tell that the sound that he heard reaches the ears of Father Henry since his grogginess instantly vanishes.

“What is that,” Allen asks in a hushed tone.

“Sounds like Latin,” Father Henry replies, now lowering his voice as well. “It’s too faint though for me to make it out.”

“There is a small amount of firelight coming from the forest that is in the same direction of the voices.”

“Really? We need to investigate it.”

“That’s what I was thinking.”

“All right. Let’s go.”

Directly after their conversation, Allen grabs a crossbow and bolts that were sitting up against the caravan driver’s tent. Allen, Jinx, and Father Henry head off in the direction of the fire. Allen takes great care to watch where he steps, Jinx and the priest following suit. It only takes a few minutes for the three of them to make it to the edge of a miniature clearing with a fire crackling in the center of it. What they see before them is so disturbing, they could barely even comprehend what is happening.

There is a small woman, one of the women from the caravan, on her knees chanting and drawing symbols in the dirt engulfed by the firelight. From what Allen can tell, it appears as if the woman is lacking any form of clothing covering her body. Her skin is a pasty white with dry cracks throughout most of it and her hair is a rat’s nest of a mop upon her head.

Laying on the ground, on either side of the fire, are two bodies. One Allen recognized to be Jeffery James, the husband of the woman who had passed out. The other body belonged to that very same woman. Both bodies are tied down in an upside-down crucifix pattern. However, this is not what horrified Allen.

The part that freezes him to his very core is that the pregnant woman’s womb appears to be ripped open, her entrails scattered about. The husband appears to still be alive but unconscious. This entire diabolic scene nearly sent Allen back into his own mind, into the darkest reaches of his memories. It is only made worse by the slight cackling of the woman as she feasts upon something resting in front of her. The entire area clasps a stench of bile and rotten flesh.

Allen takes a moment to load the crossbow he borrowed and slowly drops to one knee, sticking his blade into the ground next to him for quick access. Lifting the crossbow up, He aims it directly at the woman. He only has one shot.

Her pasty skin starts to change color from white to a shade of olive-brown. Her hair becomes clean and almost silk like.

‘What the hell is she eating that can do that,’ Allen thought to himself in shear disbelief.

With his aim taken, Allen squeezes the trigger of the crossbow. With an almost audible crack, the tension string launches the bolt through the air at high speed. The bolt buries itself into the back of her skull, yet there isn’t any blood and she still sits there. Turning around to look at Allen, he can see the head of the bolt protruding from her forehead. She has the fetus of an unborn child hanging from her bloody jaws. As she opens her mouth to speak, the fetus drops to the ground half eaten.

“You dare shoot me, you vile whelp!” She says in a voice of unmatched toxicity.

“Aye, you sorry plague-sore!” Allen retorts.

Dropping the crossbow from hand, Allen grabs Kopfjäger and rushes the woman. He brings the blade, in a sweeping motion, directly into her side. She stands there as if it was nothing. She begins to chant once again and this time it is much louder than before. Standing behind Allen, Father Henry starts to chant his own string of words. The woman’s wounds start to bleed, as if her body itself is rejecting Father Henry’s words.

“Sick ‘er, Jinx!” Allen shouts.

Jinx starts at a dead sprint from behind him and lunges forth at the putrid woman. Latching onto her left arm, Jinx drags her to the ground interrupting her chant. With a deafening scream that could wake the dead, the naked woman begins to claw and strike at Jinx. Father Henry continuing his chant, reaches into his pocket. He pulls out a silver cross that is sharp on the bottom. He holds it out to Allen. Sheathing his blade, Allen takes the cross-shaped stake. Allen takes it in a firm grip from the top of the cross. He kneels next to the woman and catches her right arm and holds it down under his knee, while Jinx holds the other.

Allen stares down at the wretched woman with intense hatred and anger that would scare even the worst demons. Father Henry stays where he stands, looking over the shoulder of Allen, possibly fearing what Allen is about to do. Rain begins to pour, causing the fire in front of them to dwindle to nothing more than smolders.

“DID. YOU. SEND. THE. LETTER?” Allen asks, deliberately pronouncing each word to its fullest.

“I did not, but I know who did!” the witch screams.

Allen, now dropping to both knees, maintains eye contact the entire time so she knows just how painful things were about to get.

Very slowly dipping the stake into her sternum, Allen says, “WHO. SENT. IT?”

“Let me live and I shall tell you!” she replies, now petrified of Allen.

“Fine,” Allen replies in a low quiet voice, “Loose, Jinx, but hold.”

“I don’t know their name,” She says as Allen removes the stake from her chest, “But they are on a warpath and after y in Jamestown.”

“That doesn’t answer my question at all.”

“They think by bringing you there it will cause the other one to come out of hiding.”

“And who might it be that would come out of hiding if I were there?”

“I’m not sure but that’s all I know. I swear.”

“Thank you,” Allen says in a voice so quiet that it seemed almost inaudible to everyone but the witch.

Allen looks back toward Father Henry. The Father’s face shows the expression of disappointment. Giving him a very faint wink, Allen plunges the stake into the witch’s chest with all the force his body could muster. As the stake penetrates her chest, her body begins to convulse and shudder. Letting out a wail, similar to the one before, her flesh begins to take on the appearance of a burning log, smoldering and charring. Eventually there was nothing left but ashes.

Rising to his feet, Allen says, “I now believe in witches.”

“Good,” Henry replies.

“Something’s not right about this Father,” Allen says.

“What do you mean?”

“It was too easy to get information out of her.”

“Ah, maybe but who wouldn’t fear the cross when it’s about to damn them?”

“Aye, but even the newest of soldiers would’ve tried to deny knowing anything before telling the truth.”

“And that is where my expertise ends, but if you believe it too easy then we really need to get you to Jamestown now and save whomever these creatures are after,” Father Henry says as he rushes over to the disemboweled woman.

“Don’t try to save her, Father. She’s already dead.”

Allen walks over to the body of Jeffery James. While he unties his bonds, he comes to. Jeffery’s gaze drifts over to the body of his now dead wife, and the tears begin to stream down his face like a waterfall.

“NO! She can’t be dead. Please tell me she’s not dead,” he tries to shout, but it comes out as a hoarse whisper.

“I’m sorry, Mr. James,” Allen says, “We didn’t get here in time.”

“NO…NO. I refuse to believe you!”

Allen steps aside to allow Jeffery to see his wife in her entirety.

“oh God, Oh God, OH GOD, OH GOD!”

“I know, sir, I know,” Allen says as he helps Jeffery to his feet.

Walking over to the dead woman’s body, Allen picks her up, not caring about the blood that would stain his clothing.

“Father, please help Jeffery walk back to the caravan,” Allen says calmly, “I’m going to carry her back so we can properly take care of her.”

As they begin to head back to the caravan, Allen kneels down to pick the stake up from where he had left it. Jeffery continues to weep the entire way back to the caravan.

‘That won’t help her,’ Allen thinks to himself, ‘But I guess it helps him.’

— K. E. Oskold