A friend of mine asked me to write a story on a particular subject. This was the result. You can tell me at the end if I’m insane.
PS: I hope you’re all doing well, and thank you so much for your support with the Schnoz-man and HolePunch Blu-Rays!
He was hungry. Gods he was hungry. He’d spent two whole days out in the wood-cloaked hills, running, gasping for breath, not trusting himself to sleep, except for when exhaustion would claim him and he could move no more. Then he would huddle in a depression, wedged under some brambles, doing his best not to cry out every time he moved and the plant raked his already ravaged clothes and skin.
He woke in a cold sweat, thinking he heard the noise of a branch breaking beside him, or the sounds of something rustling in the trees above. Too exhausted to move, but too terrified to sleep, he would lay there until his limbs had the strength to obey him again. Grimacing, he pulled himself out of the hollow beneath the plant, closing his eyes and lowering his head to minimize the damage to his face.
He hoped that they couldn’t track him by blood.
He staggered to his feet and resumed his awkward gait, stumbling on deadwood and logs unseen in the dim light of the stars. The moon was hidden, tonight.
Hours later, the trees were beginning to thin, and the land was becoming rockier. He could see the mountains which had overlooked his village much more closely now. A small pond was present in front of him, and disregarding its murk he drank anyway. He wouldn’t need the water for long.
Looking back, he couldn’t see his village through the trees behind him, but he didn’t need to. He could picture it in his mind quite vividly. Burned. Charred. Broken. His rage at the mindless destruction fought with his fear of losing the cover of the trees. The mountains were so close…. He pressed on.
He thought of the blackened bodies left behind him. All the people he’d known, even the village dogs. None had been able to stand a chance. But he knew where this destruction had come from, and he was going to spend every last drop of blood, every last moment of suffering trying to get compensation. He didn’t care if he failed, it only mattered that he try.
A low bush provided some sorely needed sustenance. It was some time in the late afternoon and he allowed himself to stop. Looking back warily he shoved the berries in his mouth, heedless of the juice staining what remained of his simple tunic, running down his hands and face. He smiled, thinking of what would happen if he succeeded.
As night fell again, he reached the base of the mountains. An ancient trail wended and wove its way up the stony ground. The stone here was smooth, with a matte finish. The boy was in too much of a hurry to notice.
He looked back over the ground he had heedlessly crossed in the daytime, and in the dying embers of the sun he saw. He was being pursued, and would eventually be caught. So close to his goal, he pushed his beaten limbs and began to run, ignoring the bloody footprints his ruined feet left behind.
Day was breaking and he could hear the sounds behind him as he paused in front of a massive cave. A low growl in the distance. He stopped, he smiled, and he waited.
Finally, he saw the shadows coming around a bend in the path, darkening the drying bloody foot prints he’d left, leading them to him faster and faster.
He ran to the mouth of the cave and shouted his defiance at the men and the bloodhounds following him, two rocks held high in his hands. They had killed everyone and burned his village to the ground. But that was okay. They weren’t going to reach their home again. Not ever.
The men released the growling dogs and motioned for them to charge the boy. They stopped, sniffing and growling, but did not advance.
He took one of the rocks and hurled it at the gleeful, smirking marauders.
It flew true, and smacked one of the men in the side of his head. He went down, blood streaming from his nose and over the dog he had tethered to his wrist.
He took the other and ran deeper into the cave.
Cursing at their lazy dogs, the men followed.
After a few minutes chasing the boy, following the sound of the frantic “pat pat pat” of his naked feet on the ground, the noise stopped.
They rounded a corner in the dark, and saw the silhouette of a boy raising a rock high in one hand, lit from behind by what looked like a giant eye that was just beginning to open.
The boy laughed wildly and threw the rock behind the eye.
He continued to laugh as red flame surged forward, filling the entire cave with heat and the stench of brimstone.
It echoed for a few minutes, and then nothing could be heard except for the sharp cracking of bones being snapped and bodies broken, and then a contented and sated growl.
And then silence.