He killed them all.
My father came upon a set of ruins, and from them emerged a group of creatures that he believed had once been men.
‘I found the ruins deep in the Hollow as I sought for some other means of egress from this thrice-damned place. There was a sign attached to the ruins, but time and my own ignorance denied me the information it held.
‘I doubt there was anything pertinent to what hid within the depths.
‘Night was coming on, and I have always slept better with my back against a firm wall. I made camp, ate a bit of jerky and warmed some water over a small fire. By the time the sun had set, I was feeling better than I have in some time.
‘They ruined it.
‘I think that at one time, they were men, or at least descended from them. They lurked within the shadows far in the ruin’s center. Whether it was my fire or my mere presence that aroused their interest, I do not know.
‘What is important is the fact that they came out and came at me with abandon, a mistaken belief in their own superiority.
‘They were shambling wrecks, clad in tattered and poor cloth, sickly white flesh bulging in places where no flesh should. Their hands were large and misshapen, as were their faces. I could smell their stink as they clambered over rocks and howled out to one another.
‘I did not use my recently acquired pistol on these wretches.
‘Fire and my hatchet were more than sufficient.
‘They learned to fear the flames.
‘The stench of their flesh, singed and burning; of thick blood splashed across the ground with the rising moon reflected in it; all acted as a balm upon my tired spirit.
‘When I had finished with them, none remained. And though I had dulled the edge of my hatchet upon their bones, I gripped it still as I went in search of more.
‘I found no trace of any others. It was a pity.
‘I was in a mood to kill, and they had proved to be a pleasant distraction.’