Lea Blackwell walked out of her home and never returned.

The Blackwells were an old family. Truth Blackwell had come along with my father to settle Cross in 1628, and he had been one of the few my father never killed. The man’s family had done well, and I was as familiar with his descendants as I was with him. By 1900, there were only a handful of Blackwells in the area, and Lea was one of them.

She had served as the schoolmarm for years, never marrying nor doing much more than teach and read, which was a fine life as far as I could see. With her passing, the last of Truth’s direct line would be gone, and it would be another mark in the history of Cross.

Lea provided a room for the schoolmarm, and it was from this woman, Juliette Evans, that I learned that lea had not come back from her short walk.

I’d neither seen nor heard anything from my mother or the Kinderzähne for close to a week. I knew it didn’t mean they were gone, and it was to them my thoughts first went when Ms. Evans brought the news.

I hurried out to North Road, where Lea liked to walk, and found her tracks. They were clear and unmarred, and they led off into my land. There was a small game trail she had followed, and I could see where she had paused now and again, the soil pressed down beneath a heel, a bit of crushed debris. Here and there, a thread had caught on bark.

I soon tracked her down to the edge of Blood Lake, close to where an old pier stretched out.

In one of my boats, a group of Kinderzähne sat. They smiled at me, blood staining their teeth and flecked across their clothes.

Of Lea Blackwell, there was no sign.

One of the Kinderzähne stood in the boat, offered a bow and then cupped his hands around his mouth.

“She was as sweet and delicate as your mother promised, Mr. Blood,” the child called.

The Colts cleared leather, and the air filled with their thunder.

But it was no use.

The Kinderzähne had gone overboard and slipped away, unharmed.

With my Colts in hand, I went out to the boat they’d been in and saw Lea’s remains. There was naught but hair and bones.

I reloaded the Colts and wondered how much more I could hate my mother.

#supernatural #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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