Joe Fische fought Death and lost.
He was a fool, of course. There isn’t anyone I know who could fight Death and come out on top. I’ve known Death in many forms, and I’ve seen my fair share of Reapers over the years. There isn’t a one of them I could have beaten back had they a mind to take me.
Joe Fische was no ordinary fool, though.
He was a man who had beaten all-comers when it came to fighting. A man who believed there was nothing he couldn’t handle.
Someone had given him a copy of Vivian Husker’s book, and the damned fool read it. There’s a story in the book that talks about how Death can be seen, on occasion, in the confines of the Hollow.
Joe took it as a sign that he should challenge Death.
Like others who had read the book, he managed to find his way to Cross. He didn’t ask for assistance getting to the Hollow. Somehow, he learned that it was along North Road, and so he set out for it on his own.
It was the sound of screaming that caught my attention as I was working on cutting away from deadfall from the previous night’s storm.
The scream was high pitched, almost childlike, and as I hurried towards the sound, I heard the scream turn into a shriek.
When I reached the stonewall along the Hollow’s edge, I found what was left of Joe Fische. And he was still alive though he was spread out over a dozen or so square feet. I dropped my hand to a Colt, with every intention of putting the man out of his misery when a voice issued forth from a shadow along the wall.
“He’s mine, Blood, and I’ll do with him as I will.”
The voice was cold and hard, unforgiving, and familiar.
I moved my hand away from the Colt, and with Joe Fische’s shrieks in my ears, I went home for a cup of coffee.