* * *
Adalbert volunteered to watch the body that evening but Abbot Winfried told him that would be unnecessary as they would bury the child before dark. The guard volunteered to help the villagers dig the grave in the cold, cold ground.
It took hours to dig in the frozen ground and the squad of villagers worked hard on it while others took to the woods in search of the last missing child: Maria.
As they worked on the grave between the village and the monastery under cloudy skies, one of the other villagers talked about the still-missing child, noting she was beautiful with short black hair and blue eyes. As he described the sweet young child, Adalbert suddenly realized she was the one that he had been having nightmares about every night. The description was perfect and heâ€™d never seen the little girl before but was dreaming about a girl who matched her description exactly.
* * *
Father WeiÃŸwald searched out Fabian that day, finding the man alone in the scriptorium, copying and illustrating a manuscript. Brother Fabian was a lanky, tall monk with dark hair and dark, deep-set eyes. He blinked unnaturally often and his eyes were wet when the priest found him.
â€œSo â€¦ horrible things happening to these children,â€ Father WeiÃŸwald said. â€œStrung up on the steeple. Iâ€™ve never seen anything like that before.â€
â€œNor I,â€ Brother Fabian said, voice cracking. â€œNor I. This is a terrible time.â€