The need to eat nearly cost me my life.
I had stopped at an abandoned encampment this morning, and once I checked the buildings and any other place I could think of, I felt reasonably certain that I was alone.
With a spot picked out, I built a small fire and cooked the rations I had left. I was tired and worn, and my mind was not where it should have been.
The first inkling I had that something might be out of place was the sudden lack of birdsong. I have known for nearly two centuries that when the animals no longer wish to be heard, then there is something wrong.
I was reaching for my Colts when he struck, leaping out of a pile of stones as though he was made of them, and for a short time, my hands were convinced he was.
Our fight raged back and forth across a small open area, and it had none of the finesse or gentlemanly qualities of a dual. It was a true fight, a bitter fight, one where the only goal is to win by any means necessary.
I broke fingers punching him in the face, injured my knee driving it into his groin, and nearly lost an eye when he tried to bite my nose off. It was then, I confess that I lost what little composure I had.
Digging a thumb into his left eye, I screamed as loud as he did at the pain. It felt as though shards of glass were driven beneath my nail, and when I scooped the eye from the socket, I discovered it was indeed glass. Still, mingled with it was not only my blood, but the creature’s as well.
Howling with a manic joy, I smashed his head against the earth and heard it crack. As he spun to free himself, I saw the hole in his head and the strange, pulsing stones within. Without hesitation, I thrust my fingers into his skull and tore out as much as I could.
The creature bucked several times before he died with my hand still in his head.
I sat in silence for a moment, then turned my attention back to my fire, angry the damned thing had gone out.
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