Stark against the moonlight, the shape spoke. It spoke in a voice that was ice on eaves, blued flesh beneath frozen rivers, blackened fingers crackling to the touch.

“I have let my heart grow cold to the protests of mortals who would live but a moment longer in their petty lives,” it growled. Its great spread-eagle antlers bobbed. “I will make you the same offer I make to all who throw themselves upon my mercy.”

“Yes, yes, please, whatever you want,” blubbered Chris.

“Bring to me flesh, living flesh, human flesh,” growled the thing. “I do not care how, or who, but bring it to me here on the next new moon. I shall prepare it as is my custom, and sup on it. Then, if all is well, you will have a reward and a boon from me.”

“Bring you…someone to eat? Like a cannibal?”

“Call it what you like,” said the bitterly dark shape. “But know this: my mark is upon you now, and if you fail to adhere to our bargain, I will hunt you down and take from you what you could not give to me: your flesh. Swear to the bargain now, or be my repast.”

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