Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The wind was howling outside the small shack. Gerda buried herself deeper under the covers, trying to keep the cold out. It had snowed for three days straight. If it didn't stop soon she'd be unable to get more wood for the fire. She peeked above her quilt at the embers dying in the hearth, sighed, and tried to sink amongst the blankets when a strange sound caught her ear. A long, painful cry rose above the din of the wind. Gerda sat up in bed. There it was again! A wounded animal? It would never survive a night as cold as this. Compassion over came common sense, and Gerda rose out of bed, threw on her boots and coat, and opened the front door.
The snow had finally stopped; the full moon illuminated the small farm. Gerda stood on the threshold and strained her eyes and ears. Surely it wasn't her imagination playing tricks on her? Living alone in the woods could make a person funny after a while. She waited a few moments more and started to move back into the house when something appeared out of the corner of her eye. Over there, by the well. The sound of something quenching its thirst. She started to move across the yard to get a better look, then stopped as she saw what it was. A large, unkempt creature, hair matted, its flesh torn and ripped. It looked like a man, it was wearing some sort of uniform. Claws extended from its hands, long pointed ears protruded from its head. It was a ghastly sight, not quite human, not quite animal. Gerda held her breath and started to walk as quickly and as quietly as she could backwards towards the house. She had almost reached the door when her heel slipped on a patch of ice; she fell with a large thud and cried out instinctively, then clasped her hand to her mouth. The thing at the well had noticed; it stopped drinking and moved towards her. Gerda rolled over and tried to get to her feet, but they kept slipping out from under her. She screamed as she felt the thing's hand on her neck, felt the weight of its body on top of hers. She closed her eyes and said a quick prayer, certain that her time had come.
"Feed me woman. Give me shelter and I won't kill you."
Gerda squeezed her eyes tight, hoping it would be quick.
Edwards rolled the woman over and slapped her across the face. Stupid cow, he was hungry, his leg was ablaze with pain.
"Open your eyes, damn it! I said I need food and shelter. NOW!"
Gerda opened her eyes and bit her lip to keep from screaming. Cruel, evil eyes stared back at her; she could only nod mutely. Edwards grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet, pushing her towards the house. She stumbled towards the door, Edwards close on her heels. He needed to regain his strength, he needed rest.
Pryor would have to wait.