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Simon trotted the city outskirts in complete darkness, soaked with rainwater. He slipped from shadow to shadow, avoiding lanterns and areas of strong moonlight. Nobody could see him visiting Drolta.


Her house leaned atop a dirt hill like a swollen on a pug nose. Her fence was about to fall over, with cow skulls, dog skulls, rodent skulls and unrecognizable skulls adorning fence-posts. The gate hung ajar beckoning him in.


Before taking his first step on her accursed property, he reached up and held the gilded cross at his throat for a moment. Each time he touched it, he felt a direct connection to his dead wife Selene. Sometimes the cross tingled, as if she were trying to say something to him. Other times the cross burned hot with her rage. Standing in front of Drolta’s house, he expected a reaction from Selene, but apparently she had nothing to say just yet.


Simon said the prayer his mother had taught him: “The light of god surrounds me. The light of god enfolds me. The light of god protects me.”


Across the yard from Simon, Drolta's front door creaked open, allowing dull orange light to spill out over an impossibly tall woman standing in the door frame covered in a thick fur robe. Her face was gaunt; skin stretched so tightly over cheekbones it looked ready to tear. Malnourished sticks protruded from her sleeves, with just enough flesh clinging to them to be called human.


“Stalking in the night are we?” came the woman's voice. “It's not kind to snoop.”


Simon squinted at the woman, making a visor with his hand. “Are you Drolta?”


The woman took a few steps out from her house and stumbled. When her hand went out to catch the railing, her fur robe came apart, flashing a dehydrated breast. The horrible specimen pointed straight down, with a wide black nipple that looked as if it might drip poison when milked. She quickly recovered from her mishap though and pulled the fur back over her skin.

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