“He has his drawbacks, but there is good in him,” she said, almost to herself.
The four bears continued quietly, making as little noise as possible.
After some time, Marley skipped to a stop. Her muzzle opened, but only a croaking sound emerged. Ahead of them the trees appeared to be draped in wool, all held in place with strings. Ambrose worked past his companions and approached one of them before stumbling back with a cry, falling backwards to the ground. The wool was the limb form of a teddy bear. All of her stuffing had been removed except that in her head. Her eyes mutely followed him as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Beyond the first were more stuffed animals, some rabbits, others elephants, but mostly teddy bears, all strung into a variety of positions. All four bears stared in horror. This was eventually broken by Marley whispering, “A Garden of Souls.”
“A what,” Sonny said in a strangled voice.
“It is called a Garden of Souls. They are still conscious to some degree. Don’t bother,” she said to Ambrose, whose was about to cut one down.
“Are you mad? We must save them!” His words were choked with emotion.
“They cannot be saved. Their suffering will end with the nightmare. They are part of the energy being generated.”
Sonny’s head jerked away from the sight.
“They are what!”
“This would have been my fate if not for Barnabus.” She walked into the center of the horror.
“I will see to it your sorrow ends soon.” A small chorus of sobs accompanied this proclamation.
She bowed her head and continued with the others following closely. The sooner they were away the better.