I’m still not quite sure where I was this afternoon, other than that it was somewhere in Virginia. Whether it was held by Federals or Secesh is unknown. Nor do I know what it was that killed the men I found, or how it could have possibly stripped their bodies so quickly.
The killer’s tracks were strange, alternating between a man’s bare feet and the cloven hooves of a goat, though much larger. I followed them across the field where I found the dead, and into a line of trees off to the east. Here the tracks left the ground at some intervals. They rose up the trunks of trees only to vanish and reappear some distance later, as though the beast had climbed up, leaped, and then climbed down.
I suspect it knew it would be followed, and that it had hoped to avoid the likes of me, though it makes me uneasy to know it had foreseen my arrival.
I hunted the creature for the better part of four hours until I came to a copse of fir trees, the center of which was far darker than it should have been. For a short time, I wandered around the gathered trees, noticing that the place was well-defended. There were large rocks on two sides, and a wide vernal pool on the other.
There was only one way in, and thus, as far as I could tell, there was only one way out.
I readied my weapons and set the copse afire.
Within moments the flames were devouring the trees, and the beast screamed with a mixture of rage and pain. The fire illuminated the beast, and I emptied the Spencer into it.
The creature dropped, still howling, but the tone changed as the fire moved towards it.
As I settled down behind an oak, watching to see what would happen next, I listened to the beast die. It was a rough sound, and the creature died slow.
Evening was only an hour or so away when the flames petered out, and I was able to approach the copse of trees. The corpse was charred, humanoid and that was all.
I stared at it for a moment, then put two more rounds into its head, just to be sure.
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