I don’t much care for trespassers.
I do my best to stay off other people’s property, and I appreciate it when they do the same. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it usually helps them keep hold of life and limb.
Some learn it the hard way.
The two men duck hunting on the shores of Blood Lake sure as hell did.
There’d been no sign of the children who weren’t children, though the trees and the dryads were still talking about them. And if the trees were, well, it meant that the creatures were still about.
I was carrying heavy. My Colts were slung low on my hips, loose in their holsters, and the Gewehr in my arms. I’d even bothered to pack my ruck and sling it. I had rations and rounds to last for a few days if I caught the trail.
All I caught were two fools.
Like most I find wandering the shores of my lake or squatting out on the islands, these two weren’t from Cross. The wind carried their voices to me, and I heard the sharp tone of the New Yorker in their words.
A sudden cry broke the air, and a flight of ducks took to wing. One of the hunters stood, brought his shotgun up, and then he died.
One of the children who weren’t children exploded up out of the water, teeth barred and hands grasping. It latched onto the standing man’s neck, blood coursing down from its mouth as its serrated teeth shredded the man’s flesh.
The other duck hunter remained frozen in fear, unable to move.
I had the Gewehr shouldered, and as I fired, the duck hunter stood.
The bullet meant for the creature struck the man in the skull and exited his left eye, crashing into the skull of his dying compatriot.
As I chambered another round, the creature dove into the lake and vanished beneath the water.
I stood alone on the shore with corpses and nothing more.
I went to the bodies and stripped them both down, leaving their belongings for goblins to salvage. As for the men, I found some rope in their bags and fashioned a sling to drag their bodies down to the nearest path.
Later, as evening came, they would feed the trees.
As for myself, I knew that if I wanted to find the creatures, I’d need the dogs.
If the dogs even wanted to be found.