The ruins lay close to the road. Within the shattered walls, on a crumbling slab of stone, lay a supine body. The moonlight pooled around the sculpted figure of a well-formed woman clothed only in drops from the evening’s light rain. Chiseled into the slab, at her feet, were the words:
Once every ten years, on a full moon night, stone turns to flesh and she awakes. For those that look on her with a leer and lust a beautiful demon will descend. For those who look with honor and wonder at her pure beauty an angel shall ascend. What their mind holds within as they witness her loveliness shall decide their fate.
Licking his lips, the young man stepped toward her…
* * *
It was early the next morning, not long after the cock’s crow. “Have you seen my Jean?” the woman asked up and down the road between her village and Soissons. None had.
Hours later she returned. Resting next to the ruins outside her village a chill passed through her. She re-wrapped the shawl around her; snugging it close. In that moment, she remembered the tales told of what slept among the tumbled stone and decaying walls. Seeing a full-seeming moon rise over the trees she realized he’d been only seven years old a decade ago… and that she’d never see her son again.