One day left after this one and still plugging away.
After William’s dreadful murder, the creature retrieved his few possessions and ran as far from the location as possible. He barely stopped to rest so determined was he to disappear. He was afraid that if he was discovered they would not find the true monster, so he hid — he returned to the mountains. He felt safer there. He found comfort in their majesty and blank stare. The hardness of rock does not judge or mock in the way the softer, prettier elements of nature appear to.
After two nights outside he found a suitable cave to move into. Once concealed in his lair he allowed himself to grieve, sobbing and howling at the cold walls in despair, his cries echoing through the rocks. Those below occasionally heard his inhuman wails and paused wondering if it was some sad ghost or just the wind. He remained this way for three days until his hunger would allow it no longer. He came down and skirted a nearby village, managing to pilfer some new greens from an outlying garden and to remove a nicely wrapped half-eaten lunch from a large rock. He wasn’t sure which he enjoyed more, the meat and bread or its clean white handkerchief. He had noticed that some men tied such things around their necks and so attempted to do the same in order to cover the jagged scar that ringed his poor borrowed neck, but as he had neither mirror nor experience the knot defeated him. He put the cloth in a pocket and put his scarf back on, although it was too warm.
Feeling nicely fed and enjoying the late spring sun he found he had no wish to skulk back to his cave or linger in dark woods. He wanted the light and warmth of the sun. He dared a more open and meandering route. He was beginning to notice that there was greater variety in human beings than he had initially thought, though some were looked upon more kindly than others. He would risk a confrontation. Whereas beatings and bruises had not killed him, he felt that loneliness just might. So he kept walking, deliberately slowing his pace and occasionally clapping his hands and giggling with the excitement of it. He was almost giddy. He was on a path in open sun. He wept only a little that night and slept soundly, dreaming happy dreams.
The next day he took another trip down from the mountain taking his same open route and humming a tune remembered from Mr. DeLacey. He had met no-one on the previous occasion so he still could not know if this was a safe course of action but he had been emboldened by his experience. As the area was sparcely populated he still met no-one. He thought of walking to the village itself just to see what would happen, but decided the idea foolhardy. As he didn’t wish to call attention to his presence by thievery he returned to his home, going through forest this time in order to collect wood.
It was on his third trip down that he met two men on his same path. He said hello and they stared and nodded, but there was no violence, just a comment he managed to overhear: “That I think is the strangest thing I have seen come off that mountain yet.”
It’s true that doors and windows were locked after his appearance. But that was because the missing lunch had been remarked on, not for fear of physical safety.