“You was spawned in the black hills and that’s where you stay!” sputtered the man. His raised arm clenched a shotgun with a stock that looked as if had been feasted on by termites.

Standing twenty yards away, the little girl answered, a voice unnaturally mature emanating from such juvenile lips: “Oh, Jeb? And I take it the town has elected you spokesman?” The mustachioed man gestured to the crowd of people standing on either side of him. A human barrier formed in the darkness at the edge of town.

“We know what you are, demon. You shall not terrorize this god-fearing town!” Jeb’s voice cracked. To his right, the collared preacher held a dusty bible, intensely whispering secret scriptures. For minutes the tableau held—sand swirling around the torch-carrying mob of people and the tiny, lone figure facing them.

Tugging on one of her dark braids and adjusting her little patchwork dress, the girl finally crushed the silence. “But Daddy… aren’t I your little girl?”

And her eyes blazed with unknown fires.

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