When I found the ex-priest lying in the glassy slag on the lee side of the mountain, he'd been scalped and the blood was running all down his neck and into his ears and eyes. I dragged him out of the heat and wiped the blood out of his eyes with the sulfurous water I'd collected at the spring where I'd camped the night before. Then I lit a fire and roasted a piece of goat and ate it while the ex-priest watched, his long yellow teeth shining in the light. For a long time he refused to speak, but then, not long before he died, he began to rave about a blue light emanating from his body and about his pony. The animal was lying perhaps thirty feet away, in the black mud, its muzzle already shrunk and peeled away like a strip of rotten birch bark. The priest kept saying he wanted to sell it.
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