He challenged me.
The house had, by all appearances, been on the island for some time. I suspect the soldier standing at the doorway had been waiting for just as long.
When he saw me, his nostrils flared, his eyes brightened, and his fingers tapped against the sides of his legs.
His English, though heavily accented with German, was easy enough to understand.
“I am your death, Duncan Blood.”
I stopped, spat on the ground and peered at him for a moment. Then, in German, I asked, “That a fact?”
“It is,” he answered in kind.
“I don’t rightly feel as though I want to die now,” I stated. “Fact of the matter is, I’ve a bit of work to do yet. Check in a few hundred years from now, and perhaps I’ll be willing to oblige you.”
The man chuckled and shook his head. “Your mother said you were the worst of them. I can see why. You’ve no respect for your elders.”
“That’s not true,” I answered. “I’ve plenty of respect for my elders. You’re just not one of them.”
He smiled and took his right hand from behind his back.
The soldier held a long knife, his hand completely encased in a ball of bright steel. Spikes of varying sizes protruded from the ball, and I wondered what he thought it was going to do against the likes of me.
So, I asked him.
“I’ll crush your bones, young man,” the soldier replied. “Then I will gut you and use your innards as garland for the house.”
I drew my own knife, and as we advanced upon one another, his movements became smoother and graceful. He was a man born to the blade.
But I can sure as hell use one.
The man lunged forward, and I planted my feet. I took the thrust of his knife into my left shoulder, felt the blade grind against bone and sever the joint as the spikes punched into my skin. The soldier twisted and grinned, but I’d already switched the knife from one hand to the other, and pain destroyed his grin.
He glanced down and saw the Bowie knife buried to the hilt in his groin.
He slid off the blade, dead before he hit the ground.
I used his own knife to take his scalp and stretched the skin on my rucksack.
Soon, I hoped, I’d add more hair to the collection.