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Gunner held the door open for Teodor. He grabbed his clothes and jumped out of the cab. After changing his shape and dressing, Teodor joined them at the front of the truck. Bilge had parked the truck a few hundred yards away from the visitor center that was being built. The sky lightened above the horizon.
Albrecht pointed to a deer path. “Down there.”
Bilge helped Albrecht along the path. Teodor followed behind Gunner. The sun broke over the horizon, Teodor felt the temperature drop. He paused.
“Did it get colder?” he asked.
Bilge stopped, gripping Albrecht's shoulder so he would not wander ahead. “Yeah, I felt that too.”
Gunner rubbed his arms. “It's still dropping.”
Teodor turned around. The sun rose behind him, but instead of the woods being lit by the early rays. The woods had become darker. His hair rose. His teeth lengthened.
The claws emerged out of the darkness. They slapped him across his face. Teodor spun and landed in the snow. Gunner flew through the air a short distance after she struck him in the chest. Bilge shoved Albrecht behind him and took off his necklace.
Teodor shook his head, changing into his hybrid form as he did. The shadows and darkness formed the Hag. Bilge swung his necklace in his hand then threw into the Hag as she rushed toward him. The necklace hit her in the chest.
The Hag screamed. She dispersed like fog.
“What did you do?” Teodor asked.
“It was iron. She'll be back,” Bilge said.
Gunner stood up, rubbing his neck. “What the hell? I thought she wanted her dead baby.”
“Maybe she thinks we will use it like they did?” Teodor said.
Bilge shook his head. “Some other reason.”
Albrecht stopped. “Here, somewhere around here.”
Through the trees, Teodor could make out the shells of the homes of the old village. He could see the top of the house, that he had talk to Perun in. He looked around. More buildings came into focus. It was as if the town was emerging from the fog.
“She killed herself, right?” Gunner asked.
Teodor and Bilge nodded.
“The article did not say,” Teodor said.
Teodor watch as more of the small village appeared around them. He could make out what type of buildings surrounded them. He recognized the shape of a livery stable. Teodor walked ahead. “Her family owned the tannery,” Teodor said. “The tannery would have been outside of town.”
“What are you doing?” Gunner asked.
“Where would she have killed herself? Her home? The tannery?” Teodor asked.
Albrecht moved his head back and forth, as if he was searching for something. His eyes were still solid white. He pointed to the edge of the now fully visible village.
“I can't pinpoint the body,” Albrecht said. “But there is something that way.”
They continued their walk deeper into the village. Teodor glanced at Perun's house. Though one of the windows he saw Perun look out. He held his finger to his lips. Teodor nodded, careful not to let the rest of them see.
He sniffed the air. The crisp air made the smells more intense. Decay filled most of the outer smells. The scent of the Hag became stronger. She had come this way before.
“She killed the baby at the tannery,” Gunner said. “But was found. I bet they took her home.”
Teodor nodded. “She was a woman that had been high enough up in society they would want to hide any more embarrassment. They would not have taken her to the hospital.”
Albrecht pointed to a large Victorian home. The top towers had collapsed and fallen inside. Even though the moon had lit up most of the village, the inside of the home was black. Teodor stopped.
“That is it,” he said.
“Bilge, did you bring your bag of tricks?” Albrecht asked.
“We're going to need them.”
Albrecht covered his eyes for a moment with his hand. When he lifted his head again, his eyes were back to normal.
Teodor shook his head. “That house, something is really wrong with that house.”
Albrecht nodded, he turned to Gunner. “Stick close to Bilge and do exactly what he tells you to do.”
Bilge slapped a bag into Teodor's hand. “Rock salt,” he said. “If nothing else you can use it on the walk.”
Albrecht approached the house, holding his one hand out as if he was feeling for something ahead of him. “No barrier."
“That's good,” Bilge said.
“Perhaps. Or Peter and Robert messed this house up.”
Teodor saw a name written in stone above the main doorway. It read Swift.
“This was her house,” Teodor said.
Albrecht laid his hand on the door knob. He turned it, but did not push the door open. He stepped back and the door opened.
The inside of the house was as dark as if it was no light could reach it. The moonlight had hit the rest of the woods with so much brilliance it seemed unreal. But the inside of this house was pitch black.
“Shit,” Gunner said.
“You feel that too?” Bilge asked.
“Like something is pushing me out of the house,” Gunner said.
Teodor sniffed the air. He could not smell anything. Then he heard a baby cry.
“Please tell me the rest of you heard that,” Teodor said.
Albrecht nodded. “It wasn't a bird either.”
The baby cried again. The cries worked up into the screaming that babies would do if they were scared or extremely upset. Then the sound of a woman's voice. She screamed something. Teodor could not make out any of the words.
The sounds of the screaming and crying bounced around the walls of the entry hall. Teodor looked inside the large living room. Along the opposite wall sat a large fireplace. The ornately carved marble had vines growing along its sides. The vines had come in through the broken window sitting next to it.
The baby screamed. Teodor thought he heard the noise coming from the other side of the living room. He walked into the room, with Albrecht behind him.
“I think the temperature dropped in here,” Albrecht said.
A book flew at them. Teodor swatted it out of the air. He picked it up after it came to a stop, sliding across the floor. There was no writing on the spine. He opened the first page.
“It's her diary,” Teodor said.