Safura was stalking her victim. Through the cobbled streets, around the market barrows, past the gates of the jail and under the washing lines strung between the slum buildings of the poor. The bones of an ox; she already had these. The teeth of a hound; yes, these too. Now all she needed was a few drops of blood taken directly from the heart of an innocent child.
The little girl stopped to buy an apple at a stall. Safura waited in the shadows behind. Jane, the stall holder, gave the child a rosy fruit and smiled at her.
"It's free, little one," she said. Then Jane saw the hag in the shadows and she frowned.
"Who is that?" she asked the child. "Your grandma?"
The little girl shook her head.
"I don't know," she whispered. "She has been following me all day."
Jane stepped around her stall and gathered the child in her arms.
"Out, out," she shouted, her eyes bright with rage. "You will not take this child today."
The old crone grimaced and slunk off into the gathering dusk.
"Another time," she whispered to herself. "Eternal life is nearly mine. I need that blood. Tomorrow."