"I see one of them, firing its cold weapon at the house," says Alice through chattering teeth. "Hand me a shotgun and I'll try to blast it."
Before anyone can stop him, he grabs his shotgun and runs outside, yelling. Instantly, he is met with a wave of cold, and falls to his knees.
Suddenly, the wave of cold stops, and a buzzing voice can be heard.
“Ia! Rooger! Come with us! Come with us and you and your friends will live!”
Slowly, Rooger gets to his feet.
"No, come back!"
"If he doesn't come back, we have to fight... Ms. Stanton, can you shot the beast from the window?"
She prepares the salvaged frost weapon...
"I can sure try," says Alice, "but I think he has a plan. I just wish he'd said what it was. He's got his own shotgun, and he may also have those firebombs. I know he's not going to help them no matter what now."
“He will prepare the way for our operations to proceed. There is too much interference otherwise” comes the reply.
“I don’t like the sound of that” says Rooger sternly. “I won’t be helping you anymore. You’d best leave, or I’ll give you a dose of buckshot!” He gestures with his shotgun.
“Then you will all die” comes the awful buzz, which grates the ears. Several shapes can be seen in the darkness now, including the singed form of the Leader. “We can still use your brain, Rooger. It doesn’t have to still be in your head.”
“You’ll have to take me then” says Rooger, who then suddenly turns and runs off behind his shed, and into the trees. He is heading for his still. Several buzzing and fluttering shapes can be seen following him.
"I think he's going to blow up the still," whispers Alice, "and those things with it."
Venturing out clutching their weapons, the heroes come to the scene of the explosion. There are several small fires burning, and the air strongly smells of Rooger’s moonshine and another peculiar burning smell.
The remains and body parts of the creatures are strewn around, some aflame. It is difficult to tell how many there are. One is still trying to crawl, buzzing weakly. It has a piece of copper tube from the still sticking in its abdomen.
Of Rooger there is no sign, but some charred remnants of clothing remain, together with a large patch of blood. In the dim light it is difficult to see properly, but it is unlikely that he survived the explosion.
"Poor Mr. Rooger." says Alice, shedding tears. "He truly died a hero. We should put that last one down." She looks over at the badly wounded creature.
The heroes stare at each other and the scene, their faces pale in the dim light.
“I think we are free from the creature’s threats” he tells the others. “But someone may have heard the explosion. Perhaps we should leave now before they come to investigate”.
"Yes, we'd better carry Mr. Hodges's body with us," says Alice. "I don't think there's enough left of poor Mr. Rooger."
He looks around at the others. “We need to think of an explanation of how we came across M. Hodges' body.”
"Yes, I agree. We should just say report that we found poor Hodges' body..."
She looks around the site of the destroyed still.
"And maybe set fire to these awful carapaces, scorch them to pieces. I'm afraid humanity is not yet prepared to face the existence of such abominations."
"I agree," says Alice. "We came up here to look for Mr. Hodges, and we found him. It's that simple. I don't know about destroying the bodies, though. Maybe people need to be aware of such things, so they can do something about them. Those things are out there whether we know about them or not. If people are at least aware of them, they can fight back."
After a couple of hours of questioning, the heroes are released and asked to stay in town pending the results of a doctor’s examination of Hodges’ body. They are able to check in at the Hotel Brooks, and collapse exhausted in their beds.
Not rising until the late afternoon, they are summoned to the police station, where they are informed that the preliminary results indicate that Hodges’ froze to death. Although the authorities are somewhat mystified that this could have happened in summer, in fine weather, there is nothing to suspect foul play and the heroes are not under any suspicion. Also present is the grim-faced Tattler editor MacColl, who thanks them and asks them to stop by the office to collect the $500 reward.
A couple of police and a party of locals go to investigate the site and to stop by Harny Rooger’s place. There they find the remains of a destroyed still, and of Rooger himself. It was known that Rooger had been producing moonshine, and the verdict is that Harny accidently blew himself up. He is buried in the local churchyard. As he was not particularly popular around Jenning, the locals are surprised to see that a fine headstone is provided for him by an anonymous benefactor from Boston.
No report of any other remains, human or animal, is made.
No more fires are reported on Strafton Mountain.
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