Stanley Cape was dumber than a pile of bricks.
He was a hardworking man, and he drank even harder. But there was nothing in the way of brains. He had an even greater dearth of common sense.
That point was driven home this morning.
Most folks in Cross know better than to spend too much time on North Road, where it cuts close to the old stonewall that separates Gods’ Hollow from the rest of the town. And given that things have been even stranger of late, most of those with common sense have stayed off North Road whenever possible.
But, as I’ve said, Stanley was just stupid.
Stanley and I were approaching each other on North Road. I was patrolling, making sure that nothing was overly amiss, and no one will ever know what the hell Stanley was up to. I doubt he even knew.
As the distance between us shortened, a piteous wail broke the stillness. While I came to a stop and dropped my hands to the butts of my Colts, Stanley turned toward the sound – which had issued from Gods’ Hollow – and made his way toward it.
I called out to him to stop.
He waved at me and kept on going.
I followed his line of sight and saw a bizarre figure. A woman, whose coloring was not quite right, lingered in the center of a blueberry bush a good ten feet inside the Hollow.
Stanley climbed over the stonewall and made a beeline for her.
In a lifetime of bad decisions, this was his last and his worst.
He called out to the woman, and when he was close enough to her, she came out of the bush.
She floated above the ground, her body fading to whisps of fog from the waist down.
Stanley stopped, scratched his head, and asked her where the rest of her was.
She opened her mouth impossibly wide and swallowed him whole.
As I watched, her entire body trembled, convulsed, and then collapsed into nothingness. Either her appetite was sated, or Stanley’s stupidity had killed her.
I was fine with whatever the answer was.
I doubted Stanley even knew he was dead.