The night went poorly.
On an island close to shore, we’d managed to find half a dozen more of the Kinderzähne, but they’d prepped a trap that the dogs didn’t discover until it was sprung.
Three dogs plummeted down a tiger trap, and not a one of them survived. The fall was longer than expected, and the Kinderzähne had sharpened the spikes at the bottom. The death may have been quick, but it sure as hell wasn’t painless.
I made certain the Kinderzähne didn’t die easy either.
By the time we finished up on the island and made our way back to the farm, night had fallen. Some dogs joined Miriam and Octavius in the barn where the two of them were holed up, thick as thieves as they made plans, and others came in and lay down wherever they could find room. Those allied to the Deus Canum remained outside, happy to sleep in a dogpile and get some rest.
I went to the front parlor, poured myself some bourbon and set about cleaning the Colts. It was a calming, peaceful routine. By the time I’d finished with the revolvers, it was well past midnight, and I decided to stretch out in the parlor rather than make my way up the stairs. I doubted my bed would be free of dogs, and I didn’t want to argue about who was going to sleep where.
As I lay down on the floor, I closed my eyes and thought about the other islands we’d search for in the morning. I’d just finished a yawn when the door snapped open, and a dog bolted into the room. It landed on a low settee and lay on its side for a moment, tongue lolling out as it panted.
I sat up and looked at the dog as it slowly focused on me.
“Duncan?” the dog asked.
“Aye,” I answered, hiding my dismay.
“I have a message from Deus Canum,” the dog stated, its voice shaking with awe at the memory.
The dog nodded. “The wall on the North Road is breached, and your mother makes the most of it.”
“Do you know what’s being sent through?”
“Soldiers,” the dog answered. “Killers.”
I grunted and got to my feet. “I suppose they’ll want to meet the same.”
Without another word, I slipped the Colts into their belt.
There was killing to be done.