She rolled into town on a cool summer evening and left a trail of blood in her wake.
Anne St. John was parked on the side of Blood Road when I first saw her, the door open, and a cigarette in her hand. The smile on her face was sweet and poisonous all in one graceful expression, and my fingers itched for the smooth wooden grips of my Colts.
Her smile broadened when she saw my reaction, and she nodded. With one delicate hand, she lifted a Colt .45 semi-automatic by the trigger guard and then set it back down beside her.
“Am I in Cross?” she asked, and she had the refined, genteel accent of a Southern lady.
“Are you Duncan Blood?” she inquired.
“I am Anne St. John.” She chuckled, lit a fresh cigarette off the remnants of the first, then tossed the butt into the road. “I was told to avoid you.”
“One who knows you should be avoided, evidently,” she laughed.
I smiled and waited. The slug from a .45 would tear through me, and I didn’t fancy healing from such a wound.
“Oh, relax, sir,” she smiled. “I am most certainly not here for you. I’m in Cross, amongst you Yankees, for some younger game.”
Her smile faded. “There are some young men attending the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University with whom I need to speak.”
“Will the conversation be long?”
She shook her head. “Short and to the point.”
Then she gave me a bitter smile. “And it will be loud, Duncan Blood.”
“Fair enough,” I said. I peered at her. “Should I make any arrangements?”
“No,” she replied after a moment. “These boys are what passes for Southern gentlemen, and they are my responsibility. I’ve come to collect the butcher’s bill, as it were.”
“I wish you luck with your task.”
Anne nodded, blew me a kiss, and replied, “It is a chore, Duncan. Nothing less, and nothing more.”
I learned later in the evening that she left three students dead and one professor who tried to interfere.
She was a sweet young woman, and I think of her and her .45 often.