Merriam pushed her way through the crowd to see what all the commotion was. She knew better than to trust the whispers and gossip; there was too much that got lost between the source and those who spoke. People speculated more than they should and muddled all of the facts.
Tugging the end of her long gown from under a boot, she gathered the rest of her skirts just to make the trip easier. Never higher than just above the cobblestone but it was enough to keep her dress from being stepped on again.
When she could finally see what everyone was going on about, the air in her lungs left in a frightened gasp and her hands came up over her mouth. Laid out over one another were the bakers from which she bought pastries from every other day. From her angle, she couldn’t see their faces but she knew it was them by their clothing. Since the day she had moved in, she couldn’t remember seeing either one of them without their custom aprons and the cut little pins that were now scattered around their bodies. One in particular, a ruby family heirloom in the shape of a lily had been her favorite.
“Alright, alright! Clear out! You’ve had your look,” A gruff voice called out, his thick arms pushing the crowd back and chasing them off. There wasn’t anyone in town who didn’t listen to Thomas when it came to things like this. Being the only one in the town who had any knowledge about how to deal with law breakers and their ilk, he quickly became the man people went to when there were problems.
It made him more powerful than the mayor but even that old man didn’t mind. Thomas was kind except when the job called for roughness.
“Thomas,” tugging on his arm, Merriam did her best to bring his attention away from the disgruntled crowd. They were leaving anyway. “Do you know what did this?”
She felt rather than heard his sigh. His entire frame moved with it, including the arm that she was still clutching in her grip to keep him from brushing her off.
“You always ask the same thing and the answer is the same each time; the blood is all gone and there is no signs of anyone,” when he finally looked at her, his dark eyes were searching for something. The look made her let go and cross her arms over her chest defensively.
“This is my home, am I not to care when its people are dying each month?” So she had expressed worry and curiosity each time bodies appeared. It was her way of showing she cared, of showing that she wanted to be a full member of this little town instead of just the ‘new lady’.
In the eight months that she had been living here, everyone had come to accept her and even include in her many of the festivities that she wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Everyone that is, except for Thomas. He held back, as if he didn’t trust her.
“Go home Merriam, you’ll know just as soon as everyone else does if we get any more information,” Thomas was sighing again but this time around, it was because she wasn’t budging even when he gently nudged her in the direction of her house. She prided herself in the frustration in his tone and the muffled mumbling as he ran a hand over his face.
Narrowing her eyes at the ‘stubborn wench’ that she caught from all of his mumbling, she huffed and tilted her chin up defiantly. There was always a bit of information that he held back; she had learned it after the first couple deaths.
“Fine! There were some people who heard what sounded like hooves down this ally just before the bodies were found.”
“Hooves? Like horses? That’s nothing to go off of, nearly everyone here owns a horse,” She snorted, wondering how in the world that the sound of hooves was going to help him find the person responsible.
“Not horses, a goat. The people that found them used to herd goats and were sure of the difference.”
A goat. The idea was enough to stop her eye rolling at his incompetence. She shifted her weight as she thought it over. For this town, it didn’t quite make sense.
“But that doesn’t make any sense. How could a goat have killed sixteen people?”
“I can’t talk this over with you anymore, go home now.” His little band of disciples had arrived to help take the bodies away and search for any clues. With a pout, she turned and started down the street.
When she turned the corner out of sight, she gathered the soft green cloth of her skirts again and broke out into a run. The dress hindered her running and her hooves clomped on the ground but it was much faster to run this way without the magic glamour to hide her features. She needed to get home fast.
A goat, it was far too close for comfort if someone could identify the difference between goat and horse hooves. Thankfully, everyone usually gathered at the inn to gossip and go over their own theories of what had happened so the streets were empty and she didn’t need to worry about anyone seeing.
Once in the safety of her own home, she dropped her skirts and hurried to the bedroom. Snatching up the dress from the night before, she frowned. It was still damp and her hand came away red from the fabric.
“Damn it all to hell,” she hissed, balling it up and tossing it into the fireplace. Not yet, she couldn’t leave just yet. There were still many more people who were such easy targets. Who were so happy, deliriously so, and it made her sick.
As she started the fire to burn the evidence, she moved around her home to gather up anything that could tie her to the murders. There was the belt buckles from the first pair; they boasted about the craftsmanship so much that she couldn’t help herself when she finished them off.
Everything else was fairly dull, just various knickknacks that meant something to the people but nothing to her except for a reminder that she snuffed out one more ungrateful life in the world. They all went into the fire with the bloodied dress. All except for the newest trinket in her collection; the ruby lily pin.
The bakers weren’t actually in need of punishment for their greed and foul spirits. They were kind souls. She just found herself fancying the pin and they wouldn’t give it to her. Didn’t they know it was rude to refuse a woman of Faerie?
Running her fingers over the gems, she sank into her rocking chair and smiled to herself. The rubies sparkled in the light, reminding her of the way blood looked in the moonlight. She was so lost in her musings that the knock at her door nearly caused her glamour to fall. Stuffing the pin into her knitting basket, she moved the logs in the fire around to make sure nothing identifiable was noticeable and smoothed out her dress before daring to open the door. She couldn’t look too hasty or too nervous.
Finding Thomas and one of his little followers at her door was unsurprising but she figured that she pulled off looking surprised well enough.
“Thomas? Did you find anything else?” She moved to the side and allowed them in with what little hospitality that she could manage. It was a fight not to demand that they leave. This was her place and she didn’t particularly like humans mucking it up.
He didn’t answer her right away, but there was this glint in his eyes that set her mouth in a grim line as she turned away to close her door. This wasn’t good. If they suspected her, then she was going to have to either talk her way out or get rid of the problem.
Turning around, she glanced between the two with a curious look. They hadn’t said anything yet but the fool that had joined Thomas was holding something out to the bigger man. Her eyes narrowed at the glint of red and her gaze slowly moved down towards her knitting basket. She must not have moved enough yarn over the pin.
As her gaze moved back up it met Thomas’ and she kept her face schooled in a neutral expression.
“Glaistig, right? Or do you prefer being called a Green Lady?”
A sneer curled across her lips as he named her and the glamour hiding her true beauty, or oddities to the humans, flickered. Though the young male stepped back in fear, Thomas only stepped forward with a steely look.
Merriam brushed back her hair and flexed her fingers. Sweet talking her way out of this wasn’t going to be possible and running was beneath her. Heaving a sigh, she let her glamour drop entirely.
Her next pair of blood donors had come a month early.
So this isn’t one of my favorites. What I could find on Glaistig wasn’t much but I did get that they were half-goat faerie women who drained the blood of their victims.
Next Creature: Leprechaun