Part 6

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Spread apart while they walked across the circle drive toward the mansion, the smell of a smoldered fire mixed with spoiled meat assaulted their senses as it wafted over them.

They followed the sickly sweet stench as best they could; where they soon discovered the source near the edge of the tree line, marked as it was with several discarded kerosene lamps.

Clementine also noticed empty shotgun shells that lay about in the grass, while both Poe and Running-Deer stooped to pick several up.

Someone had set an intense fire, with little left but the ash.

When Cat moved in to take a closer look, he reached for a lump and held up what looked to be the badly charred foot of a Negro woman.

At the site of the burnt flesh in his hand, Clementine's third eye flared a warning. "That foot is from a vampire."

Cat smiled as he shook his head.

"A vampire? With all due respect, it sounds as if you've read far too many stories that have been made up about them, ma'am. They simply don't exist, at least not in these parts anyway."

As she moved closer, she saw the color of the unburned skin. "It might be from the Negro woman I saw in a vision with my sister."

Poe held up a hand to stop another comment from Cat as he shook his head. "She knows of what she speaks Cat, just go along with it for now, no use hiding anything from her now."

Clementine turned away to face the mansion.

The dragon's breath returned as a wisp of wind to envelope her with its soft caress of fetid dry air.

"Sheriff, we need to leave ... now." She suggested strongly. "I'll need to work with Cat to create what I'll need to remove the demon that lives here. If we stay much longer it may overpower what little I can do to protect us otherwise."

With some reluctance, Poe finally move to follow Clementine and the others as they moved back down the road and out the gate; which Cat helped to close behind them.

As he turned to look back up at what was visible of the mansion above them, Poe turned to her. "What exactly will you need and how can we help."

In reply, Clementine turned toward Cat.

"How soon could you have your forge hot enough to cast an iron circle with a nine foot radius that contained two opposing equal triangles, one over the other?"

Cat slowly smiled as he began to chuckle which sounded distinctly like the sound of distant thunder.

"If you mean a das-Teufelsloch, then without the proper fuel I probably can't. There's simply not enough wood around here to raise temperatures anywhere near that high on such short notice."

Poe looked with confusion between the big Negro and the woman in black. "Das what?"

Cat looked from Clementine to the Sheriff. "A das-Teufelsloch is kind of a trap for demons, usually used like summoning circles, but I've seen them used to entrap them as well; something only a good smithy like myself could make."

"If it's just fuel that you need; then perhaps I can supply it ..." Clementine offered, as she thought the process through, "... how long would it take if the forges were hot enough to go right now?"

Cat rewarded her with a wide smile.

"How is it that the only others of your kind to ask for such a thing were men? I've long been lead to understand that traps like these can be a bit complicated for a woman such as yourself to use properly."

Clementine simply shrugged. "You are assuming that the trap is as complicated to make as it may be to use, but they really aren't; shall we visit your forge and get started?"

With any luck, she figured, the demon would be gone by mid-day tomorrow; or else she wouldn't be around to care.

And if that were to prove the case, they would all have been doomed anyway.

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