I found them three days after they had vanished.
They were brothers, the four men. Mexicans traveling from Vera Cruz to Quebec in order to see the world. At the end of August, they had stopped at my home to see if there was any work that needed to be done. They had run short of funds and needed to build up a bit of stake before they moved on. I was impressed with their determination as well as with their loyalty to one another.
It is something I rarely see.
There is always work on my farm, though it is not often anymore that I hire on hands. I made an exception in this case, and I regret that I did so.
When they began their work, I warned them to stay exactly where I told them. Too often people have gone missing on my farm.
I am afraid they either did not listen, or they were tempted to explore by another. Both are viable options.
When the men did not come in for their noon meal, I was not worried. They occasionally worked through it or ate out wherever they were working. Their absence at dinner was disturbing, and I set out to find them.
It took me three days, and when I did locate them, they were near an old and burned out bit of land on the border with Gods’ Hollow. They were dead, three of them hung from the remains of a tree, and the fourth was dead on the ground. I do not know what killed him, and I do not wish to know.
The note that was carved into the chest of the youngest brother was from the killer, and it put me on edge. I gathered the dead men and brought them back to my family’s private cemetery. I laid them in a common grave, and I felt no peace as I threw dirt upon them and the single word writ in the flesh.
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