Are you watching carefully?

I've hidden that for twenty years, and not even Zoe Miller knows. This is just another mask.

Another Mask.

Blood to hide the Blood. Always the Blood. You, betrayed by yours. I, saved through mine. Or cursed. Within the Blood, the Beast.

There's an art to splitting wood, as well as tricks of the trade -- like using a dull blade instead of a sharp one, or using a maul instead of an axe. The art is in finding a crack, hitting it, and using a powerful, yet efficient swing. Using your hand to slide along the shaft, pivoting the fulcrum of the blade, then driving the heavy maul into the aforementioned crack. There's an art to chopping a tree down, too, but that came before this.

If you had asked the bare-chested young man about any of that as he swung his maul, he would have given you a blank stare. He split wood the way his father had taught him, and had never given any thought to the fact that it was often done wrong.

"Ay, suh," barked a grizzled old man. Hey, son. "Finch 'fore dark, yew ken dem Wilson bais foun' Old Rawls tarred up farce. Reck'n bobcat, 'e dam nar bled drey."


"'E gawt comp'nay so warsh up hafter. Dat fancy townie rainmaker, Mr. Clar-kuh, gan bless th' livestock t' keep 'em safe," came the half snort. Apparently it was not his idea.


I will hide the bobcat.

Just another Mask.


"Every single one of us the devil inside."