It frightened me.
Cain and I stumbled upon it as I was looking for a place to bed down for the night. We’d had an uneventful day, and I was fine with that. I’d neither seen nor heard from any version of my mother or those foolish enough to do her bidding.
The day had been, without a doubt, a long and pleasant walk.
We’d seen a fair amount of animals I’d never laid eyes on before, and Cain had raced after more than a few of them. He always returned, tail straight and head up, a bit of a swagger to his walk, as though he’d shown the offending animal that he was in charge.
And who knows, perhaps he was.
What frightened me about the falls and the stream was the utter silence around them.
They made no sound, not until Cain and I were upon stones lining the stream’s banks.
There was animal sign. Tracks leading up to the water and then leading away. No sign of violence.
No sign of man.
We stood there for a short time, and then Cain promptly laid down on his belly, crossed his forepaws and then rested his chin upon them.
The pup had made the decision for me.
I set about the business of making camp, and when I had a fire going and coffee brewing, I sat down beside the dog. He wagged his tail once, closed his eyes and went to sleep with a small snort of content.
The peace of the place frightened me.
There was no violence. No danger. I could not sense any beast creeping up, nor could I hear the jingle of harness or weaponry.
Cain and I were alone.
The peace was unlike the Hollow, and I waited to see if some god was watching me and seeking to converse.
But I was in a strange safe haven, and nothing sought to disturb us. I took out my Colts and my kit, and I began the soothing ritual of cleaning the Colts.
Soon, the smell of coffee and gun oil filled the air, and the dog snored beside me.
And for a short time, the Hollow was good.