I Met Her On The Mount (Tales From Jones Hollow)
I spent this still, misty night where I’d spent many like it over the past three months- a flat wooded area near the peak of Mount Serin. It was a pleasant, peaceful place where you were unlikely to be disturbed as you conducted any solitudinous activity under the stars. It didn't take long after moving to Jones Hollow to find this place, as I had developed quite a knack for discovering lonely land. I had a striking, clear view of the starry sky, and it made my business a lot more peaceful. I liked that. My work wasn't chaotic or stressful, per se, I just didn't derive any joy from it any more. It had to be done, though. My Employers must be satisfied.

I solemnly hiked up with mountain, ready to introduce yet another friend to the Grove. It was a peaceful place. I liked to think that my friends appreciated that. This was a night like any other, though there was a peculiar scent upon the air. I inhaled deeply. Lavender? Peppermint? I couldn't quite place it, but I was certain it wasn't the natural flora and fauna. It was… unexpected. I don't particularly enjoy surprises, but I'd gone too far to turn around and give up tonight. I had to finish.

As the whistling wind danced and played around me and filled my mind with wonder, my mind began to wander. I began imagining a sound on the wind, a gentle, sombre song caressing my ears and plucking at my heartstrings, causing my bloody conductor to produce a strange rhythm I wasn't used to. It was lovely. It was like it was somehow a cold summer da- wait… there was that smell again. And the song. It was real. I could hardly believe my eyes when I found the sight of the smell and sound.

Before me strolled a striking woman, likely not much younger than I, who I had not noticed and who had not noticed me. I was immediately taken by her marvelous beauty. Her short hair was like a sun burning out, and her piercing eyes were as the constantly melting ice caps, not at all obscured by her spectacles. It was quite a spectacle. And a surprise. As I took all of this in, she glanced in my direction and waved. 

“I didn't know anyone else came up here this time of night!”, she called in my direction.

Believe me, neither did I.

“The world is full of surprises, huh?” I responded, cringing slightly at the self-imposed irony. 

“That’s for sure.” With this, she began walking my direction. “Coming to Jones Hollow at all was a bit of a surprise. My dad just got a job down here, and me and my sister moved down here with him.”

“Is that so?” I rhetorically inquired.

“Yep… what's in the bag? Camping supplies?” she inquired, far more rhetorically than she could have known.

I knew this was going to happen from the moment I laid eyes on her. Some small part of me had hoped it wouldn't. In one smooth, fluid motion I hit her in the throat to incapacitate her, while simultaneously drawing the knife I'd concealed. My next action was to quickly draw it across her throat where I had struck her, though with more hesitation than normal. 

I sank to my knee, cradling her quickly fading body in my arms. In her ear I gently whispered, “I'm sorry. I really am,” with a sort of a sob, though no tears came to my eyes. I watched as the newly formed slit hungrily drank her life force, and the ground digested it. It was beautiful, and still every bit as shocking as the first time I'd seen it. I took her drivers license from within her pocket. “Lily,” I didn't quite realize I’d uttered. Maybe I'd plant some lilies here. Poetic. I snapped myself out if it. I hadn't the time for this. There was work to be done yet.  Twice the work.