The earth shook beneath my feet, violently enough to throw me to the ground. The crash that came a moment later nearly launched me back into a standing position.
Birds and animals cried out and fled for safety as I scrambled to my feet. I heard shrieks and screams coming from close by, and I raced toward the sounds. In a few minutes, I reached the cause of the disturbance.
Somehow a building had been dragged into the Hollow, and the screaming I heard was coming from within the structure.
Casting aside my knapsack, I raced into the building and fought my way through debris to the top, and then down into what was the basement. All the while, the screams continued, and it was only when I stood in the center of the main floor and looked around did I understand why.
The walls were bleeding. Here and there, I saw pieces of people protruding from brick and mortar, plaster and wood. Whoever had been in the building when it was ripped from its world and thrust into the Hollow, they had become part of the structure.
And they were, thankfully, dying.
By the time I walked outside, the last of the screams had finished. There was neither a moan nor a sob to hear, and for that, I was thankful.
It is a hard thing to listen to someone suffer and to know there is nothing you can do for them. I could not even kill them to put them out of their misery.
For some time, I stood outside the building, considering what I might do for the unknown dead. I did not think I could gather up their remains, not in a satisfactory way, but then I realized I did not have to.
I went into the building once more and found all the dry material I could. Then, as the sun set, I lit a fire among the debris.
When the pyre was burning brightly, I shouldered my knapsack, adjusted the Colts in their holsters, and went on my way.
Death is no stranger in the Hollow, and I am no stranger to Death.
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