Elaine Bristly stumbled into her aunt’s tavern that night wretched and vile with the stench of liquor. Aunt Tabatha had warned her often of the ills in the bottle and had little patience for tonight’s stupor. Still, she collected the shivering Elaine in a blanket and sorted out a set of clothes that didn’t much mater if they were soiled. Family is family, after all. As Tabatha began to undress her polluted niece she found fresh crimson stains soaking her overcoat.
“What’s this?” she asked, extending the bloodied mess before her.
“That’s Thomas,” Elaine replied, pawing wistfully at the coat.