Spring 1873 – The Woodpecker’s Warning Song

 

The corpse was headless. Based on the condition of the neck I guessed that the head had been pulled off rather than removed with a blade, or even teeth. I took a drink from my canteen and wished, not for the last time, that it contained rum instead of water. I had no mood for monsters. I had not eaten well in days and what I had managed to get down either insisted on coming back up or passing through too quickly. 

I studied the treeline. Briefly I caught the flash of eyes reflecting the setting sun. Something very large moved deeper into the shadows. I drank another swallow of water and followed.