The beast watched warily, but with mounting confidence as the new man approached him. It was strange how there didn’t seem to be any fear in him. The others hung back still, some trying to join in with the priest’s song, others hiding behind their crosses.
Some gained a bit of bravery. Two men approached from the blind side of the Stalker, and attacked his side facing away from the girl. The forks that they stabbed into the beast’s side broke as the men were swept away harshly. He didn’t spare them a glance, but the sickening wet thud as their bodies landed on a stone fence told the tale.
The girl’s face went white as she aroused enough to see it happen. She started to scream, but the appearance of the new man stopped the scream. She looked at him, unsure in the darkness of the shadow of the beast who he was. She listened to the sound of his voice and didn’t move much. Her breathing slackened without her conscious thought.
“Beast, I’m telling you again to let her go.”
“Why should I?” For the first time the voice was tinged with uncertainty as the pure light from the cross cast sharply defined shadows from every tree, rock, and body in the glade. “I don’t have to listen to you about anything.”
The tall man snorted, and stepped forward with the cross extended toward the beast. The beast skittered backwards, away from the cross. The voice came from behind him. The priest answered, “You listen to and obey the cross, beast, as you have always!” The priest’s strong tenor took up the song again, singing a Mass with all his heart and soul.