The men were talking frantically but quietly.

The first man spoke uietly but excitedly. He clutched an antique shotgun, the single good slug left to him loaded in the left barrel. “I’ve looked around. Everywhere she’s been–everywhere!–has fallen off the map afterwards.”

“You mean…?” His friend was armed only with the machete he habitually carried, slug across his back in a harness.

“Just a precipice, rotted away into nothningess like the rest of the places taken by the late blight.”

The second man, the older of the two, rolled this over in his brain. “You’re saying…she caused it?”

“Not the blight, no, not all of it. But if you trace the way she says she came on a map, every one of those places has been rotted hollow since.”

“But she’s been good to us here, a real asset,” his friend said stubbornly. “I see where you’re headed and that’s murder. Cold blooded.”

“It’s self-defense.”

“Just listen to yourself. What if each of those places did the same thing we’re thinking of doing? What if the blight wasn’t her…but us?”

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