“Sorry, ma’am.” He inspected himself under the blanket. Both his greatcoat and military coat had been removed as well as his belt and revolver. “My things–”
“Are hidden, Captain. It wouldn’t be wise to have them on your person if Confederate troops are hereabout.”
“I agree with your reasoning, ma’am, but where are they?”
“In a safe place.”
He struggled to sit, but his muscles protested, and he slumped back to the floor.
“Easy, Captain. You’re very pale. Have you been ill?”
“No, I…” He recalled Arnwolf and the barn. Had that really happened, or had it just been a dream?
“Now you’re awake, I’ll heat up some broth. You look like you could use some.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
She hesitated, a blush coloring her ivory skin. “When I took off your coat, I noticed two raised bumps on your neck. I thought they might be bites.”
He fingered the bumps. So, it hadn’t been a dream.
“A wild dog attacked me. Out in the woods.”
“A wild dog?” She shuddered. “I didn’t know there were any around here.”
“It’s the truth, ma’am.” Even as he said it, he cringed inwardly at his lie.
Her gaze narrowed as she studied him. “But when I took off your coat, I didn’t see any blood.”
No blood? Come to think of it, he hadn’t noticed any when he woke in the barn. “I’m not real sure how that happened, ma’am.”
She rose, studied him once more, then left the room.
He lay back, reflecting on what had happened. If the man, Reverend Arnwolf was a minister, he must be a fallen one. Like me.
Was that why the creature had come to drag him to his doom? Was God angry that Jon had left the priesthood? This couldn’t be a coincidence. Hopefully, the man was gone, and he’d never come across him again. But he couldn’t get those glowing red eyes out of his mind.
Satan himself couldn’t have frightened him more. He fingered the crucifix.
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