I was terribly lonely.
Following the War of the Rebellion, those long years traversing the South and fighting monsters rather than secesh, I keenly felt my solitude. It’d been decades since I’d spoken with any kin, and I’d buried far too many friends and family.
I wanted companionship, though I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs when I thought about romance.
There’d been a few women whom I’d shown some interest in, but none of any caliber like Isabelle Cooper. Not until I met Genevieve Marsh.
Genevieve was originally from Concord, New Hampshire, and she came to Cross as so many of the writers on the Sentinel did: by way of tragedy and looking for peace.
She found it for a short time.
When she settled in Cross and found work at the Sentinel, she began by following up stories along North Road. I would see her, and occasionally she would stop in for a cup of tea, always marveling at my solitary existence on the farm. She even expressed dismay when she learned about how I had fought in the War of the Rebellion.
After one such conversation, she told me there had been word of a child crying out along the border of North Road and Gods’ Hollow, and I told her it would be wise to avoid the area for a spell. She knew how dangerous it was, but she felt a responsibility when it came to investigating rumors of injured children.
I argued against it, but she was insistent.
I attempted to accompany her, but she would not allow it. I feigned acceptance, and after I bade her farewell, I hastily strapped on the Colts and loaded the Spencer. By the time I made it to the road, I could just see her moving to the stonewall. As she placed her hands upon it, the stones grabbed hold of her.
I don’t know what type of beast it was, only that it wrenched her right arm out of its socket and stuffed it into its maw. Her screams shook the trees to their roots, and I took careful aim with the Spencer.
The first two rounds ricocheted off the thing’s head. The third took her squarely in the temple and blew her brains out.
I try to remember her smile and not the creature cursing me as it dragged her corpse into the Hollow.