I was too late to save her.
The first warning I received was the column of dark smoke rising from the east, and it was with all haste that I raced toward it. I knew that color of smoke for I had seen a great many buildings burn in my time, and rarely have they burned for good reason.
I was still a quarter of a mile away when I heard her screams, and I could see the house through the trees when she went silent.
The creatures were retreating from the burning building, not for fear of the flames, but because they knew their prey was dead.
As they turned toward me, I opened fire, only to see them scatter as my shots claimed two of them. I put an extra round into each of them, and then I stood and waited for the flames to die down. It took the better part of the day, but I remained where I was, the ravens gathered around me.
When I deemed it safe enough to enter, I was saddened by the sight.
The one pristine home was destroyed. The joy Minnie had taken in her paintings and prints had been scoured from her walls with fire. I found Minnie curled beneath the stairs, hidden in shadow. There was little of her left to recognize.
I left Minnie, where she lay and returned to the creatures. In silence, I butchered them and carried their heads to Gods’ Hollow. I climbed over the wall, walked to a tree, and I nailed them to it.
From the tree-line nearby, I heard a rustling, yet nothing attempted to molest me.
It would have been better for them if they had.
Tonight, I’ll be cleaning my Colts and speaking with the ravens. I’ll prepare my weapons and pack what’s needed to face the creatures.
Tomorrow, the ravens and I will be going in after them.
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