The first time she killed someone, it had been an accident. She had wanted to wait the whole thing out in the convent, praying to la Virge or any other saint who might have mercy on them. She was in the sanctuary when the walls were breached, and she was all alone. (Until she wasn't.) The intruder was felled swiftly and quietly, and she hardly realized what had happened all. She was just a child then.

Now Elise looked out over the sea, glacial water shattering against tepid sand. The sun cowered behind the clouds and the sky was filled with dust. The convent shivered. Marie said the earth was dying, but Elise knew better. She bent over the lodestone, sharpening her katana and humming a Creole folksong to drown out the moans of the undead.

They had infected the island two months prior. Elise had watched their ship dock, men staggering into the surf like drunkards, unable to stand upright. Marie said they were the devil's children and Elise, so very young in those days, hadn't known what to think. From their mouths spewed a rancid, viscous liquid, tacky like molasses and just as dark. It made her very afraid, in the early days. Any of her sisters who went near the men became like them—terribly sick, and then terribly still.

And then so very, very alive.

She ought to be thankful for her life, Marie said again and again, the repetition driving Elise mad. Elise thought they should assign blame as well as thanks, but she never said it out loud. So many had been taken away. Arreta was just a baby, and she walked right into their grasping embrace. She didn't understand that some people are good and some people are bad and some people are evil incarnate.

She was only four. What do you know of God's wrath at four?

Elise thought she'd gotten it worked out. Some... thing inside of them—some starving demon of another world—had escaped. It wreaked havoc on her beautiful island, and she had to assume the end was near. God was coming (she hefted a rock on her shoulder) and he would find her alive (the stone sailed through the air).

The skulls of the undead broke with a crunch, and she raised her voice with the final refrain:

May my mother's mother live today
May the godforsaken be sent away
May my sister sing in holy light
May God now end this soulless night.