Everyone in the camp knows at this point. This thing, this monster is going keep attacking us every night, killing a new victim until we give it my daughter. I thought you’d get it last night, but this morning there’s a new widow, and I hear people murmuring that he died instead of my girl. That’s not an exchange a father ever wants to hear murmured under breaths while he’s taking a piss. Now I hear you might consider giving Cornelia over.
Understand that you’re not giving that thing my daughter. Give it me instead.
It goes for stragglers. People too near the perimeter, or who don’t think there’s safety in the group. It’s never killed a group, has it? So tonight you build fires, and you set traps, and you sharpen all the fucking pointy sticks you can make. And you get everyone into a single group. You scare them with stories about what’s been happening – what happened to that pardoner who thought he could do better alone last night. You tell them his bloody tale so they get theirs into camp.
And an hour after dusk, when no one’s left the campfire, and everyone’s armed, I’ll start an argument with you. I’ll shove you, and you’ll hit me, and I’ll storm off towards the conifers. I’ll piss on them, and complain to myself, and pray like I’ve been doing, none of it too far from you. I’ll be the only easy prey the monster sees. It’ll have to kill me eventually to make good on its threat.
You wait until it’s eating me. Until I’m screaming in pain. Then you bring everyone down on that thing and you kill it, cut off its head, tear out its lungs, so that it never bothers anyone again.
Then you don’t have to worry about it killing us in the night anymore. Then you just got to worry about raising my little girl.