In this ward they had found the sacrificial remains of five and no sign of an altar.
Trucks grunted through town in the low lamplight. Gutters torrented and vomited gouts of dark rainwater that brought coal dust and soot down from the rooftops all caught in drums with the heads sawn off and beer kegs decapitated with welding torches.
A man stood under a vast black umbrella and with a pencil scribed at the passing of each vehicle. Once he satisfied a criterion obscure he signalled to others imperceptible by the striking of a pocket torch that he wove back and forth like a distant lighthouse.
The streets had long been without traffic lights or anything to manage passage save for lone officers who stood on road islands and waved at lorries pinching whistles in their teeth. Officers who knew what they hunted. Conduits of suffering offered up to beings with the strength of ages that allow them to invade the dreams of those unfortunate and close.
This one saw the signal and waved the truck down a sidestreet where it crawled cautious and the waiting officers burst and bristled from windows and doorways with cavernous shotguns and lamps of limitless candela.
Up went the steel shutter at the rear and within a gallery of errant flesh and corrupted bones, feathers fastened with gore and skulls man and animal flensed and parched of skin.
“They’re mobile.” The officer released his finger from the radio in defeat and stood mute and listened to the kerosene pour grow lost in the raindrop patters.