The flickering glow cast off by the half dozen railway lanterns created an eerie dance of shadows along the margins of the room, adding an element of the macabre to an already gruesome midnight scene. Father Vorpal knelt silently beside his mother's broken body which had already begun to putrefy on the kitchen floor of her tiny roadside diner.
“They left the doors open,” Rugbottom lamented after Lottie and Petra had followed Malus out into the street. The small, round hotel owner sighed as he walked across the lobby and pulled the foyer doors securely shut. “The flies have been atrocious this spring.”
Rugbottom then turned back to the boy, Walden, “Put that bale down and get a mop. I want you to clean up this mud.”
Albert Rugbottom heard them approaching long before they reached the hotel. “Hold on a moment, Walden,” he said to the gangly teen at his side. The boy, identified as Walden, appeared to be struggling in his effort to balance an item about the size of a large wardrobe trunk wrapped in a bedsheet on a rickety old dolly.
Beryl had felt a feeling of growing dread from the moment he realized what the gathering had been about. The cat knew that not everything Oskir had told them was the truth anymore, but there was something that had always given weight to his words. His sixth sense was telling him to run, but surrounded by friends and urchins?