I have too many memories.
Nothing reminds me of this fact than this place, and I wonder, at times, why it is I come here.
Nettie Sands had been a sweet young woman and one I paid attention to. I couldn’t do more than have coffee with her now and again. The passing of Adelaide was still too raw some twenty years later.
One day, she missed our meeting for coffee, and so I went in search of her.
I found Nettie’s remains by the stonewall on North Road. There wasn’t much left of her, mostly charred bones and a pile of innards that never should have seen the light of day. Her shoes were cast off to one side, and her dress – bloodied and soiled – was crumpled on the ground a short distance away.
The ones who had killed her and who had eaten most of her were on the other side of the wall. There were eight of them, three adults and five younglings. They were roughly humanoid, more reptile than anything else, and they were clad in clothes that closely resembled those favored by the Romani.
These creatures did not know me, and so, they did not run when I climbed over the stonewall.
Instead, they called out to one another and came towards me. Knives appeared in the hands of even the youngest, and the sight of them brought a smile to my face.
I brushed back the sides of my coat and revealed the smooth, well-worn grips of my Colts. As the creatures drew near, I drew the pistols and cocked back the hammers all in one, smooth motion.
The clicking of the hammers as they locked into place was a sound that at least one of the creatures was familiar with, and as it opened its gray-green mouth to shout a warning, I opened fire.
The Colts roared in the obscene stillness of the Hollow and echoed off the trees lurking on the edge of the rolling grass. When the sound of death finished its victorious lap around me, all eight of the creatures were dead.
They’d killed Nettie Sands, a beautiful young woman who was the sweetest soul I’d ever encountered. Killed and eaten her on a warm August day.
Here, in the Child’s house, I look upon her face and try to forget the memories of that day.
I never succeed.