Behind the door, seven low beds under low eaves. In them, seven heads, and seven bellies churning beef and too much mead. Hunks of pyrite swing between beams; they have propped a fir against the fireside wall.

They know she will come tomorrow. Every Christmas, rain or hail or blizzard shrieking, she pays a visit. They recall, the eight of them around the hearth, when first they found her in their bed; when they laid her in silica, ice-cold, dead.

She will come, they know. Hair as black as ebony, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow.