Prelude to Southern Blood (part 3 of 3)

Start with part 1.

This material is (a) for mature readers and (b) contains elements some readers may find disturbing.

When the workers found his body the next morning, they only knew it was him because his truck was nearby. The Adjudant’s report stated that there was no way to know how he died, since jackals had found his body during the night and little was left of it.

Before long, the workers were nodding sagely and telling each other that this was bound to happen — they had tried to tell him. One of the men found an uncommonly flat stone nearby and declared that it was exactly the kind of stone that a jinn would make its home under; no doubt he had struck his foot against it in the dark and had failed to beg the pardon of the jinn. Perhaps now the overseers would listen!

They didn’t. Within the month a replacement arrived and drove them harder than ever to make up lost time. The flat stone, however, remained carefully untouched by the tramping of the workers. They also began stealing salt to ward away the Hidden Ones; for the next year, the worker’s barracks were better salted than their food.

The disappearance of the house-girl was noted, but no one was particularly concerned. The Adjudant speculated in his report that she may have indirectly caused the death of M. Joubert by running off into the night and provoking him to foolishly pursue her. She was a servant girl; such things happened.

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