They laughed at me.
I caught sight of the poles and used them as landmarks as I made my way through the low, rolling hills stretching towards the mountains in the distance. I’d been in the Hollow for twenty-five days, and it was time to start looking for a way home. Being trapped in the Hollow was rarely enjoyable, and this trip was similar in that regard.
The distant mountains appeared somewhat familiar, and I had high hope of finding a doorway or some such once I reached them.
There was, of course, the small problem of making it to them without engaging in some sort of fight. I wasn’t worried about my chances, but I was a trifle bit concerned with spending any more time than absolutely necessary in the damned place.
As I moved along, I heard birdsong and insects I was unfamiliar with. They were pleasant voices, a cheerful backdrop to the horror of the previous three and a half weeks.
When I got closer to the poles, I saw the remains of a crate attached to one and one in its entirety attached to the other. It was then that the wind shifted.
Laughter broke out, and it came from the poles.
I let my hands drop to the smooth comfort of the Colts and made my way forward.
“Another Blood!” a voice declared, and a mad, rolling laugh followed.
From the broken crate came a weaker but no less insane voice.
“Blood does for Blood. Mother does in son, son does in mother. Love and family.”
The madness in the voices caused me to draw the pistols and cock the hammers back.
At the audible click of the weapons being primed, the laughter stopped.
I took a step closer and saw the remnants of a skull in the broken crate and a fresher head in the other.
The eyes of the fresher head rolled toward me, intelligence and madness blazing from the rotting orbs.
“Have you come to finish us off, Blood, as you did your brother in his ship?” the head demanded.
In a heartbeat, I knew these to be my mother’s creatures.
“Who put you there?” I asked.
“You did,” the weaker voice replied. “You said you’d come back and finish us.”
I looked from one to the other and then holstered my pistols.
“Guess I lied,” I answered and continued on my way.