"This is what I will do," I said to no one. "I will walk out of this forest and go to the first habitation I can find. If they grant me hospitality, I will accept it, repay the favor as best I can, and be on my way. If they should refuse me, I will kill them all."
I had spent the night huddled in a ball on the forest floor. To my surprise, I had awoken refreshed, as though all of my pain and trauma had been washed away. It was good to be alive, and I was. It was good to be strong, and I was.
The world around me was still completely silent, yet somehow it no longer bothered me. I was freed by my aloneness. What future the forest once held, was no locked inside me. Mine to do with as I wished.
When at last I left the corpse of the woods behind, I was sad to see it go. In a sense, the forest had given birth to me. I was its child as much as my human mother's. I wondered what she would say if I saw her again.
I did not let myself think about that for long.
The first house I came to was an estate at the top of a hill. I could hardly have picked a more grandiose location to start my work. I felt certain what I would find there - an aging absentee landlord, trusting his fortune to a dishonest caretaker, who would, of course, refuse me hospitality unless he saw a profit in me.
It was a long trudge up the hill to the master's house. Snow lay softly on the ground, but I imagined that in the summer months the land would be covered with the sweat of laborers, breaking their backs for the master's gain. My footsteps crunched as I walked.
It occurred to me to wonder why I no longer felt the cold. Perhaps it had something to do with my newfound powers, but perhaps not. I had heard that people who froze to death often lost the ability to tell. Should I hope that this was one more side effect of Lucifer's hold on me? I did not welcome that much connection with the way I felt.
At last I knocked upon the door. I ran through the plan one more time in my head.
Either they invite me in, and I repay them, or they rebuff me and I kill them, I thought. It's best this way. I will teach them a lesson.
I waited for someone to open the door.