Una stood with her back to the house, the low, familiar house that was just a cluster of deeper shadows in the night. Before her lay the path to the village, silver pale in the light of the new moon, and it was empty. If Agnarr’s cow had had a heifer, her father would no doubt be feasting with his cousin. She would not be able to bar the door until he returned.
Westward, where the village lay, the path wound out of sight beyond the oak copse that clustered darkly, silent except for the faint whoosh of the wings of hunting owls. To the east, it petered out among the dunes of the estuary. Una shivered and clutched her shawl tighter. The ocean heaved restlessly and she listened awhile to the insistent crash and hiss of the waves. Movement at the edge of her limited vision made her turn her head sharply. Her one eye saw only shifting shadows, but the eye that wasn’t there, in the empty socket behind the eye band, saw sea beasts crawl up the strand and lie, their bulk dull and dark even beneath the moon, waiting.
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