They were rough men out for blood.
I found them coming up my driveway, a trio of roughnecks from Boston, all armed with pistols and two with bats. Their tempers cooled a bit when they saw me on my porch, a scattergun in my hands, and my Colts on my hips.
In no uncertain language, I demanded to know their reason for the trespass, and they told me.
A pair of their friends had gone missing a week earlier, last seen by another man who had remained in Boston to see if the others turned up. According to the witness, the two men had vanished when wandering toward Blood Lake.
They thought, correctly, that I might be able to shed some light on the subject of their friends’ disappearance.
I bid the men follow me, and they did.
We moved in silence along the path to the lake, and when we were about to leave the tree-line for the shore, I warned them to keep quiet. I also elicited a promise from them that I alone would deal with whatever we might find.
Reluctantly, they agreed, and we continued to the shore. We walked for nearly an hour before we came upon the remains of their friends, though there were naught bones and clothes left of them.
They were horrified, and rightfully so. One of them let out a wail of disbelief, and that which had slain their friends crept forward.
She slid the marsh reeds aside, her eyes fixed on the man who had vocalized his despair, and as she reached for him, I emptied both barrels of the scattergun into her. Her scream shook the sky, and she tried to flee for the safety of the lake.
My Colts brought her down, and my knife finished her off, though it was a hell of a task. She was still screaming and trying to bite as I held her severed head aloft.
Under my direction, the young men built a fire, banked it with heavy stones, and watched in horror as I dropped the head into the flames. The four of us sat until the evening arrived, feeding the fire until the thing in the pit no longer screamed.
At the end, they asked me what it was, and I shrugged.
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