The earth was disturbed for days beforehand, but no one thought much of it until the bleeding started.

Perhaps ‘bleeding’ is too melodramatic. No one saw it oozing up, or weeping impossibly from rocks. But it was there, pooled in the largest hollow that had been torn up by forces unknown. Something seemed to be stirring it below the surface, as only a few places near the edges and in the center of nigh-invisible eddies seemed to coagulate.

The slaughterhouse smell and the spots of coagulation were enough to show it was actual blood, which is just as well, because no one would approach the hollow to investigate it any further. Even when ordered by the local authorities, excavators refused to approach it. Local drivers refused to transport anyone to the site as well, and when someone tried to collect a sample, it was destroyed in their luggage before they could leave the area.

Everyone in the area agreed that the ground bleeding was a terrible omen, a sign of punishment to come, and they feared that any attempt at study would just make things worse.

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