I awakened to whispering and weeping that told spoke clearly of madness.
The Hollow had shifted in the night, and I was not in the same place as when I had lain down to sleep. The protected copse of trees I had made camp in was gone, replaced by the fenced-in ruins of a church.
A graveyard, wild and unkempt, spread out around me, but it was not from the graves that the weeping and the whispering came. Rather, it was the building itself.
The stones, each one, had a mouth that I could see. They babbled in a thousand tongues, and the words I could understand were horrific. The stones spoke of atrocities and the deaths of entire populations. They wept at the memory of the crimes, not from remorse, but from longing.
Those things trapped within the stones were killers, and they missed the act of killing.
As I stood and gathered up my belongings, the wires of the fence uncoiled from their posts. Desperately, despite the rust upon them, the wires slid across the earth, seeking me out. It was as though the steel could sense me, or perhaps it was directed by the stones.
I think they sought one last victim.
But that victim would not be me. Nor anyone else.
I made a small fire far enough away from the building, and then I put together several torches. These I carried back to the church and hurled them over the fence. A pair went into the doorway, a third landed on the roof, and soon the old building burned.
The stones blackened like flesh, the lips peeling back to reveal the broken, jagged teeth in the abnormal mouths, and I stood, immersed in foul smoke, and listening to the stones die.
It was a pleasant way to start the morning.
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