By the early afternoon, I reached an ocean.
It was not the Atlantic, for I know the smell of my ocean better than any other. But it was saltwater, and in my gut, I knew I was close to Cross. Nearby was the boundary, the place where I might slip out of Gods’ Hollow and into the familiarity of Cross.
I only had to find it.
Following the shoreline, I listened to calls of ravens, and I wondered if they were from my family’s rookery. I would not be surprised if they were, for the great birds traveled further than most suspected. Their cries and sounds brought a smile to my face and quickened my step until I came to the bodies.
At first, I saw only a few. They were soldiers, but I did not know from where or when. Their uniforms were strange, their weapons stranger still. They appeared Asian to me, but they were neither Japanese nor Chinese, neither Korean nor Vietnamese nor any of the nationalities I knew. These dead men had aspects of each, but none were the whole.
When I inspected them, I saw the terrific wounds they had received. Something living had slain them. Had taken the tops of heads off and torn limbs out of their sockets.
I followed the shoreline until the sunset, and I passed hundreds of corpses. I caught a glimpse of the ravens, but they were too far away for me to call to them.
I made my camp near several of the bodies, lit a small fire, and waited. I knew that the ravens would come near me, sooner rather than later.
The corpses still had their eyes, and the ravens never pass up such a delicacy.
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