Jump to content
Server time (UTC): 2020-10-26, 22:33
Sign in to follow this  
Mace

A Simple Man's Point of View

Recommended Posts

"You've been so kind." 
"Are you sure you don't want anything back?"
"Thank you so much."

To those who knew him, Mason was the charitable sort. Carrying around his extra pack he often described himself as a traveling merchant or a simple tradesman doing what he could to help make the lives of others more comfortable. It wasn't as if he could do much in this new world in all honesty. Learning to shoot rifles and shotguns on his grandfather's land when he was a child and the archery lessons he'd taken from the people who had helped him when the outbreak had started left him with enough knowledge in how to protect himself from the natural world and the zombies that now infested it, and everything else had been the result of a ravenous hunger for any sort of knowledge, no matter how mundane, he could pick up, whether it be in conversation, from television, books, or the internet.

"No, no it's okay. I'm a simple man, I don't really need much."

The same answer was given time and time again to the point where it was almost a reflex whenever he was offered compensation for his work. His own needs were met easily enough with what game he could hunt, or fish he could catch. He knew enough about water to boil and purify what he had with him if need be, and given his rotundity earlier in life, he knew how to cook quite well if he did say so himself, which offered him and those he often sat down with some modicum of comfort in the little slices of peace they carved out of the chaos for fleeting shelter.

There was always a warm fire ready to be brought to life, good food only a few minutes away, and plenty of supplies for those who found themselves in need when they crossed his path, and more often than not he'd part ways with a smile visible despite the mask as his cheeks shifted and his voice carried a more joyous lilt to it. He pushed himself to be the consummate survivalist not so that he could see the world through whatever tribulation, mundane or divine, that had come to them, but to try to get as many other people through it as he could.

To him, however, the world worked a bit differently, and his own work within it was laughable. As a sane, rational person at one point he understood to some degree at least some of the thoughts that came and went in the quiet hours of the night when he lay awake and stared at the stars. He knew the feelings that he had for himself, his efforts, and the work he had done was not as useless as that nagging, niggling little chitter echoed in his brain, but that didn't make it easy to ignore. He had found himself sleeping less because of it, never wanting to try to lie down and face the whispering that gnawed at the back of his mind without distraction. Even if he knew better, the only way to make it seem as if he were helping was to do more.

His legs were heavy, his pudgy, squared frame slumping forward with the weight of the pack he carried with him more and more until he could find some solace in unconsciousness, in the blissful rest that only utter exhaustion seemed to bring. Every small trinket that he found, every cache of bullets tucked away inside a tea pot in a cabinet, or secret stash of canned food he could save for himself while giving away what was undoubtedly more nutritious and nourishing, it never silenced the voice, it never made the feeling go away, that he was only doing what he had to. Even in what generosity he tried to show, it laughed and hissed that he should be ashamed, that any stranger would do twice as much and ask for half in return. 

He did what he could, and his body bore the scars of trying to protect others from whatever rabid monsters shuffled and howled in the darkness, and some had shown him genuine kindness in return. A simple man didn't need any more than that, and in those moments of good conversation, of laughing and joking, he forgot about the whispering, the feelings that he could otherwise never escape from. For a moment, a minute, an afternoon he could feel as if what he had done had mattered, that he had helped to keep people alive and in good spirits while staring down the maw of inevitability. To just feel normal, or what anyone might consider it in this day and age, was more than anything he felt he had the right to ask for in return. 

And in the nights that followed the voice was quieted, but it always returned to gnash and writhe about in his head and twist every bit of happiness he had felt. He hadn't done enough, or they had only endured his niceties out of pity or annoyance. There wasn't anything that anyone like him could do to ever better their lives. 

In the vitriol that coagulated in his thoughts, despite every ounce of effort he had put into the simple mission that had subsumed his life in the new world there was one word that always burned itself in his mind in his times alone.

Failure.

It said far worse things, but for some reason that one word branded on his soul stung the most. It reminded him of the horrible things he'd done. It questioned why he was still alive when far better people had died long ago, those who could truly help the world rebuild or find some semblance of sanity. 


And yet, despite the writhing darkness that urged him on and, in his weaker moments, taunted him to turn the gun he'd kept for his own protection on himself with promises of it being the only thing he could possibly do to truly make the lives of others better he persisted. He pushed on and, as always, welcomed every new face with the soft southern drawl.

"Howdy. Do you need anything?"

Not a hero.
Not a champion.
Not even a warrior.
Just a simple man with a simple goal.
And simple men don't really need much.

Share this post


Link to post

He awoke to the almost omnipresent twittering of birds in the trees, the rays of the noonday sun piercing through the half-broken windows in the small camp bunk and stirring him just enough to elicit an irritated grumble before finally acquiescing to the tugging of the world to draw him from his bed. Despite his reluctance to move because of just how comfortable the thin, worn-down mattress was upon its fragile frame, creaking away at the barest hint of movement from him, the portly man still rose and began to dress himself for the day ahead only to pause when he heard the sounds of others about.

His time actually spent in the camp itself was sparse, as he often did his best to busy himself in one way or another. There was always game to hunt for food and hide, fish to catch, or supplies to scavenge in the surrounding towns. Unbeknownst to even the doctors that ran the small compound he had taken regular trips up north after hearing one of them speak of the nearby town of Nagornoe as "overrun by wolves" to help clear out the looming threat as best he could. The constant drive to work, to do something and let the others enjoy themselves still tugged at the back of his mind, but as he heard so many familiar voices it seemed to fade; His worries, his insecurity, the constant, looming shadow of his failure and the toll it would take upon those he saw after, it all seemed just slightly less sharp and harsh as he pulled on his well-worn leathers and slipped on his pack and the bright orange boonie cap he'd come to adore.

When he had finally amassed the mess of equipment and tugged the second backpack into his arms, the squared, rotund man pushed his way out of the cabin and began to look around, immediately noticing the girl known as Vivi at the water fountain with her brother. He'd never gotten the man's name, but the last time they had spoken he had been looking for his sister. They'd only exchanged a few words, but he remembered the severity and worry that had tinged them. It was good to see them together, and as the girl noticed him she smiled and waved in his direction, her light, pixie-like voice calling out to him, though he only waved in return and gave a greeting while moving to check on things in the tents.

"Huh, looks like there's plenty of food for once." The initial inspection had surprised him perhaps more than anything else. Where Ace had been working on cultivating smaller crops, the tent was stacked with salted and dried meats, rations, canned food. It was the first time he could ever remember seeing it looking better than when he had last checked in. Though he hesitated, at the sight of the wealth of spoils that loomed in front of him, he actually found himself in a rare moment, taking a few strips of jerky for himself to enjoy before continuing to see if there was anything that might be needed for his inevitable trip into town.

Time and time again, whenever he opened the tents it seemed as if there had been some spontaneous wealth of materials before him. Pristine medical supplies that still smelled faintly of that unmistakable hospital disinfectant were piled next to the lodge, boxes of bullets and even a few of the rarer firearms he'd seen and heard talk about were stacked on top of one another in another of the tents. 

It was one of the few times that Mason had ever found himself with nothing to do. He could still go and add to the stockpiles, but everything seemed to be in such supply that he questioned if it was even necessary. Standing in front of the nearly overflowing tents, he brought a hand up to scratch at his bearded chin beneath the simple face mask he wore, only to hear the tinkling trill of the young girl beside him.

"Mister Mace!" 

The sweet, smiling face of the girl had been a welcome change to many of the dour expression he often faced and tried to help soften with his help, and he had done his best to make the girl a backpack she would enjoy, attempting to help her just as he did Robbie and the other younger boys and girls that he had met. However, it wasn't the soft, delicate girl he was met with when he turned to face her and give her his attention, at least not entirely.

She still wore her red hat, the red shirt, and he could see the stained leather straps of the pack he had made for her, but as soon as he focused his attention on her he realized just how wrong this truly was. The girl's face was a ghastly mockery of what the sweet child looked up at others with, the same in shape and look save for the fact that it looked as if many of her features had been sliced off. Her smiling moth was now an open maw, lipless save for the flapping and wriggling strings of meat that flailed and did their best impression of lips atop the yellowed, cracked teeth. The girl's nose and eyelids were similarly severed, not cleanly or proficiently, but with what looked like some crude and almost blunt instrument, leaving protruding bits of cartilage poking from the holes in the center of her face, and the bright, icy blue eyes he so often saw with wonder or curiosity now larger, lolling about in their sockets but always focusing on him. 

Stumbling back, he nearly kicked at the child, or whatever it was that masqueraded as her, letting out a yell of surprise that he hadn't even seemed to notice, and that had only drawn more attention to him. Kazimir, the girl's brother, lumbered forward and stood behind her, his face similarly mutilated, as if they were made into grotesque masks to mimic one another. 

"What is going on?"

No, he knew that was what the man had meant, but it wasn't what he had said. The heavy Russian accent had come out in a series of grunts, punctuated by a clacking of the bare mouth's teeth, deepening the cracks inside them, sending splinters of the bones into the girl's hair as Mason stumbled over himself in turning and dashing around the tents toward the front of the lodge that had served as the main area that people congregated around. Throwing himself into the door with all his weight, he grunted as it cracked open and sent him sprawling across the stairs that were immediately before it, only to see that the voices he had heard, jubilant and raucous in their laughter, had paused.

Barely able to catch his breath, he lurched forward, his clenched fists slamming the door closed only now to realize he'd lost the secondary bag he always had with him, though it didn't matter, what mattered was trying to figure out what was going on.

"It's Mace!"

The announcement had drawn his gaze toward the group sat neatly around at the tables provided, but before he could find the words to try to explain to them what was going on, they spoke again, the same voices, just as enthusiastic and eager as they had ever been to see him.

"Is that Mace?"
"Hey, Mace!"

They seemed too numerous to be there, but he saw them all. Seated in the room that seemed to shift and stretch its dimensions as he changed his view of it, the four simple tables that he had remembered the last time he had been there stretched on beyond where his lackluster vision could even recognize, but he knew they were there. He heard the voices of every person all at once, as happy as they had ever been to run into him in the middle of some zombie-infested town, complimenting him, recalling the moments when he felt the selfish, prideful swell of his chest at the praise they lavished on him for his help, but it wasn't right.

When he finally seemed to focus upon them, each of them had their own disfigurement, their own wretched and gruesome transformation, to the point where some were only recognizable through the sounds their slack or missing jaws uttered against all meaning or sense.

Nearest to the door, dressed in the same white garb he'd been wearing just hours before, Mace noticed the voice of someone who seemed relatively normal, someone who hadn't spoken up, and who he lunged at to try to rock some sense into.

"Eurus! We have to get out of here."

As soon as his fingers grasped at the younger man's shoulders, however, he slumped to the side, a widening cut showing across his side where Mace had clipped him with an axe during a fight with a zombie while they were hunting. At first it only seemed to grow larger until he could see fat and muscle twisting and tearing itself away, blackening with necrosis and sloughing off, causing the wedge-shaped wound to split across his stomach, his body soon snapping in two as his spine was severed, his upper half toppling to the floor as the rest of the innumerable voices continued the saccharine words he'd so fondly remembered before.

He couldn't tell if he was breathing any longer as he turned and slammed his weight back into the door with enough force to break it from its hinges, tripping down the stairs and falling onto his side across the grass and onto the asphalt of the cracked road just outside. There had been some faces, some voices absent, and as he clawed his way to his feet Mason's hurried steps sent him sprawling over the broken and uneven stone pathway that led to the medical building, but even as he put what he knew were meters and meters behind him the voices never faded, and the loving, encouraging words seemed to bite and gnaw at him like wolves at his heels.

"Taryn, Rose!"

"We're operating. Come in."

The odd juxtaposition in the words of the woman who had answered him hadn't settled in but he had no time to spare and in his rush he found himself throwing open door after door and slamming them shut behind him. This wasn't the clinic that he knew and had peered at, it didn't share its makeup with the countless others in the small country, but he didn't care. Mace pushed forward, and with every set of double doors he pushed through the peeled and rotting paint seemed just a bit brighter, as if it were finally close to some semblance of safety and sanctuary from the hell he'd found himself in.

It wasn't until he breached the final doors that he stood inside a surgical suite that no hospital in South Zagoria could possibly have. He could hear the soft hiss of a ventilator, the beeping of a heart, and a large amphitheater-style room where each of the malformed people that he knew, the people he cared about and did his best to help now stood in attendance. I the center of the room, beneath the blinding glare of an overhead light stood the two women, dressed in medical scrubs. All at once they looked as if they were elbow-deep in gore and yet it wasn't as immediately horrifying as the rest of what went on around him.

The masks and scrub hats made identifying the pair from one another difficult, though both urged him forward with a single bloody hand, latex gloves soaked and somehow filled with a thick and almost congealed mess of blood and ichor that sloshed around their dexterous fingers and onto the ground around the table that they worked on. Despite it all, Mason felt a sense of welcoming, of belonging as he approached, his eyes slowly adjusting to the blinding glare of the light so that he could see just who it was that lay upon the slab that had drawn so much attention.

Where he had recognized the people before, and even as he peered up into the windows where they stared down he could see the faces of the people he'd known, no matter how twisted or monstrous they had been made by the unknown butcher that had taken such pride in molding them into distinct, unique horrors, what lay before him was not so easy to immediately put a finger on. At first it seemed like nothing more than some great mass, a fleshy tumor that roiled and shifted beneath its thin outer layer, pumping the thick mixture that filled the doctors' gloves across itself. It was formless, faceless, and yet it writhed as if it held some frenzied animal that fought and clawed its way about to the opening it had been given.

"Mace."

It wasn't a distinct voice now. The glass of the operating theater had dulled the voices of the onlookers into a muffled thrum but the thing that called his name was unlike them. Male and female, young and old,  he looked at it and saw from the cavernous wound that belched and heaved its fetid contents. He had expected something to emerge, a demon, a monster, anything that would have made the horrifying but the cacophony of discordant speech soon settled until a sort of call-and-response dialogue began, the wound itself moving to bend and purse like a putrid pair of drooling lips.

"Mace? It's so good to see you."
"She's dead because of you."
"Is that you Mace? I wondered where you went."
"It always happens like that."
"Are you okay? I'm sorry you got hurt."
"Affection, care, poison, death."

Suddenly the women leaned forward, grabbing at the edges of the wriggling incision to rip it open, splitting the bulbous sac open upon the table, showing that within the tide of bile, blood, and whatever other forsaken fluids that gushed forth there was one final thing in its depths: A gnashing head that writhed and rolled about, the left side of it shattered down to its eye socket, though with the pulsing mass of brain matter that still seemed to quiver unnaturally within and the vicious way it hissed and howled he could only make out a single word:

"Failure."

He let out a gasp as he opened his eyes, the sight of the cracked rafters of the ceiling overhead and the smell of rain-soaked grass filling his senses, along with the fact that the only light that seemed to stream through the half-broken window came in sporadic beams from a waning moon high in the sky. He didn't need to reach up to feel the beads of sweat running down his brow, a few even stinging his eyes before he could wipe them away.

Rolling onto his side, Mason let out a groan as he shifted and did his best to get comfortable, his mind still racing with the vivid scenes playing over and over again, from the idyllic landscape to the monstrous aberration that had spoken to him. Even now the song of the birds was quieted, replaced by the snarling and groaning of infected beyond the fence. No matter how he tossed and turned to try to find some semblance of comfort it seemed all too elusive, until finally he heaved a weary sigh and pushed himself up onto the edge of the bed, his bare feet settling down beside his heavy boots in the process.

The heavy man leaned forward, sniffing and wiping at his face with his hands before pulling his glasses on and beginning the laborious task of securing everything he needed. If sleep was going to elude him, he could at least continue on with the sisyphean task he had put upon himself. 

Minutes later he stepped into the rain-soaked night and adjusted the pack in his arms, trudging past the cabins of others safe and asleep, eyeing the stocks and tents that looked more and more bare before turning onto the road. Even if he could never prove the voice wrong, he would damn sure try.

Share this post


Link to post

Everyone had gone to sleep, just like always, and he could hear the soft breathing as he passed by the cabins, making sure doors were closed and that none of the zombies outside that he slowly felled seemed cognizant of the fact that potential meals were only meters away. The emotions that ran rampant through the camp just before everyone else finally collapsed from exhaustion only left him feeling more conscious. It wasn't that he was more awake, as it seemed more and more the things he saw when he closed his eyes were beginning to show as shifting and flitting shapes at the periphery of his vision, the very thought of which unnerved the heavy set man to the point that he shook his head to dispel such thoughts.

There was still a lot of work to do, and as he continued in the quiet patrol around the buildings every step seemed to bring about a recollection of yet another thing he had listed, promised, or simply expected of himself, and the weariness that seeped into his bones was met with snarling ferocity as he forced his body to press on. His gait was defiant, shunning the thought of rest as he lurched and pushed himself toward the edge of the nearby body of water that was his target for the night.

Hunting had been, for the last two days, a bust. He knew that while many of the people around could garden and cultivate what they needed it was undoubtedly a slow and focused task that wouldn't give them the kinds of results that needed to be seen by the time others rose to enjoy breakfast. Even an off-handed mentioning of feeding the people there felt like some vow that he could not bring himself to betray, and though his eyes were heavy and lidded he slumped onto the shore of the small lake and shrugged off his pack. The world faded in and out of blackness as his eyes closed time and time again, a little longer every blink only to be forced back open.

He couldn't keep this up. Could anyone? How long could he last? The only answer he could bring forth was an incomprehensible snarl at himself, his own weakness as he brought his right hand up to strike against his own jaw in a sudden, eye-opening smack that left the flesh beneath his mask and beard stinging while he unpacked his rod and the bait he had collected earlier.

With his jaw throbbing from the force of the hit, perhaps just a bit more than what a "normal" person might be capable of, the line was cast out with the quiet, almost silent "plop" of the baited hook sinking down toward the bottom of the lake with the tasty morsel. Even such a simple task seemed much more difficult as he continued to push sleep from his mind. The grotesque and malformed dreamscapes that had waited for him in the rare moments he closed his eyes never allowed him any true rest, so why indulge them? If sleep was to be nothing more than his own mind finally free to harvest the malefic fruits his poisoned thoughts sowed throughout the day, he would skip it all together. 

Even the soreness radiating from his jaw wasn't enough to stop his head from dipping forward only to jerk upright as soon as he felt the lowering of his guard and the gradual acquiescence that his body tried to grant his mind without permission. Time and time again he felt himself drooping forward, growing slack only to jerk into awareness and rigidity again, though it took more effort each time until finally he dozed against the rock beside which his small expedition was set up.

It was impossible for him to hear the zombie approach.

What could have easily been heard by anyone conscious, the snarling, howling zombie had spotted him and, with a keen enough sense of predator instinct, realized the slumped figure was a potential food source. The slope that it barreled down didn't offer the best footing, however, particularly after the rain that had soaked the camp earlier. Uneven, frenzied steps led to a sickening crack as one of the creature's ankles turned completely to the side, leaving it in freefall where it came to smash against the back of the sleeping man, jostling him awake and throwing them both into the frigid waters of the lake in the middle of the night.

Water rushed down his throat and tried to fill his lungs as he gasped from the surprise and the shock of cold seeping into his bones, only to realize that it hadn't been some careless accident, the zombie atop him clawing and swiping, pushing him under and thrusting its face at him, saving him from having his nose bitten off only because of the way it slowed as it hit the surface of the water and gnashed blindly at the man beneath the surface.

The water was almost completely opaque to Mason as he thrashed about beneath it, the pack that he prided always having a solution to a situation in now dragging him down the slope from the shore with its weight. His lungs were already on fire, barely filled with breath before his world was nothing more than darkness and the deathly cold that gripped him and left him wanting to scream or gasp, to seek some sort of relief, even if he knew better.

Time barely passed for him, his body pumping its own cocktail of chemicals into him to push him into action, making every second seem like an eternity. He fought to wrench the zombie's body away from him, shifting the weight with the aid of the water, though before he could even process it a familiar sensation rose, and the voice that had been so quieted by what he had believed was a truly enjoyable day spoke again through the frantic scrambling for survival.

"You could give up. Nobody would have to know. You could just drown here and it would all be over. You should be thanking me. It's a way out."

With every strain of his barely-responsive muscles to drag him up above the water the voice hissed its displeasure, but it was different this time. What had been derision and loathing now sounded sickly sweet.

"This is what you wanted and you know it. A bullet to the brain is preferable, but drowning probably isn't as bad as you always thought. The cold will help make it quick. Think about it. You never have to worry about finding food, about being chewed on by wolves. You never have to fight and struggle just to live another day in this shit world. Even if there's nothing after it, isn't this what you always secretly hoped for? Just give in."

His breath escaped him, bubbles slipping out from his mouth as he felt the fire in his chest as his lungs demanded respite. Would it have been so bad? Why did he have to be the one to do this? Surely they were more than capable of taking care of himself. The voice had often said he was nothing more than a coddling nuisance to them, what if it was right?

The doubts had caused him just a moment of pause, the desire to sob and let the water fill his lungs palpable for just a moment before he closed his eyes and broke through the surface of the lake, dragging himself out of the inky pool and dragging his axe from its place on his back while the zombie spluttered and flailed its way back toward the shore. Twisting the weapon around, the pick head was brought down into the back of the zombie's skull, hooking into it with a sickening crack, using the weapon as leverage to drag the body out of the water and up onto the shore far enough away to keep the waters as clean as possible. Mace dropped the axe, still lodged in the zombie's skull, desperately gasping for breath and coughing to try to clear his lungs as he fiddled with straps, latches, and buttons to begin dropping his gear onto the floor, sheets of water pouring off of him from the soaked leathers.

With just his flint knife in hand, and a rare moment of immodest nudity to make sure he wouldn't freeze to death too quickly, he began to slowly and clumsily drag his half-frozen limbs across the ground, his shaky and uneven footing leaving him lurching not unlike the creature he'd just killed toward a tree to try to get what he needed to start at least a small fire.

"And you wonder why you're a failure. You don't even have the decency to die properly."

Share this post


Link to post

"I love you."

"I love you too, now come on. If we don't get out of here soon we'll miss our chance to find those cows down by Grishino."

The plush figure of the woman that followed behind the leather-clad hunter hesitated for just a moment, throwing on her backpack and slinging a shotgun over her shoulder before she bounded off behind him.

"You keep talking about the cows down there, and the last few times we've been we haven't seen anything but chickens."

Her voice was a soft alto, calling out behind him in a playful manner. It didn't seem as if she particularly meant to poke too hard at his ability to find the animals that had been scattered by the infection, but there was, quite obviously, a hint of doubt in her mischievous tone.

"Listen," he began, already looking over his shoulder at her as they made their way across the sloping hill by the house that had been their home for the night, "I saw two herds of them in a day, in fact it was within hours of each other. If I keep looking, and if I have a lovely assistant to help me, then it'll just help find out where they are or help us find some grazing routes for the animals so we can more effectively hunt them. I'm not going to be able to support you with leather if all we find are chickens, unless people get really into down comforters."

The pair shared a laugh as they continued along their way, darting through small patches of woods with Mason constantly checking the bearing of his compass to make sure that he was heading in the right direction. His companion, new as she might have been, followed after with a look of wonder as he made his way about, hopping down some of the smaller inclines and keeping an eye out for any other animals that might be around.

"Okay Teddy Bear, but listen. If we don't find anything what do we do? You said you wanted to look around Grishino but are we looking for anything in particular? If we've got what we need--" 

"I'll teach you, don't worry. It's not that difficult. There's sort of a priority list of things that people need, and fishing can get us enough food to sell or trade that we don't have to worry about that. Medical supplies are always in high demand, as is ammunition. We should have enough shells to keep us in business for a while, but anything else we can pick up and hoard we can turn into a small pile to hand over to someone who might be hurting for enough to fill their magazine."

The explanation came through slightly panting breaths as the rotund man shifted himself around and started to slowly slide down one of the steeper hills toward the open fields that they were looking for.

"And there are quality-of-life things. You find a role of toilet paper that's not ruined? If you don't want to keep it for yourself, little things like that, creature comforts, they're important to people, and if we're going to start opening up a legitimate business it would behoove us to have a little bit of everything. That's why we're going down to Grishino anyway. We might be able to go west and circle up and around Sinistok toward Stary Yar on our way back, it would take all day and a good bit of the evening, might even have to find a place to sleep, but going through a few towns should start us off well enough."

The conversation continued, albeit muttered and through huffs and pants as the pair broke the treeline into the small area that Mason had mentioned, the open fields rolling ever so slightly and dotted with hay bales that had long since begun to rot. As the area opened up before them, the woman came and put a hand on one of his arms before slipping both of hers around it, hugging into him.

"Just lead the way."

The sweet, loving lilt of her voice had caused his chest to swell with pride as he nodded, starting to lead her off toward the area he knew was most likely to have activity when the sound of howling and barking began. Immediately her embrace upon him had tightened and her eyes shot open wide, peering around, scanning the horizon for the animals she knew were close to no avail.

"Well shit, fine. We'll just get wolf pelts. There's a house by the street. Just run in there, close the door, and if one gets in with you you blast it, don't worry about the meat or the hide. Get going."

Mace pulled his arm from her and motioned down the hills while taking the weapon from his own, the usual pack of extra goods discarded in the grass as he flipped the safety off and began to walk slowly behind the dashing female.

"No." A voice spoke from nowhere, one that didn't belong to Mason or the lady that he had found, the one that had meant so much to him. Short and succinct, the denial echoed in the air as the morning sky darkened, drawing the leatherworker's attention back around to where his partner stood, petrified before something that he could not properly process. It looked as if a mass of wolves had piled atop one another, but in another light, with another shifting of his perception it was as if the grey and black mass that loomed over her was all one piece, seamless, whole, but comprised of howling and snarling heads, all battered and broken. Jaws hung loose at broken, unnatural angles, and he could see in the collective coat of fur that was stretched across the massive creature there was the unmistakable shuffling and writhing of carrion beneath.

"Mace! MACE!"

She cried out to him and he swung the shotgun up, firing it just as the horrific beast fell upon her, blowing off a portion of the fur and hide only for a deluge of insects to pour from it, an unending mass of writhing and chittering pests pooling around the scene as the heads that were left set about sinking their teeth into her. Even if he could not quite see what was happening he knew it nonetheless. It always happened this way, but it was never until now that he realized what was happening. The woman was different every time. Sometimes it was someone he knew, other times a random amalgamation of features, but she always loved him, and the last he ever saw from her was her face pulling away, bleeding and broken, peering at him with eyes full of horror before the fur and fangs completely enveloped her and left nothing behind.

Pulling himself out of bed, his head fell into his hands as he rubbed through the shaggy brown mass that needed to be cut again, feeling the few thick claw marks that lined his scalp, toying over the tiny bit that remained of one ear. It was still the middle of the night, and he knew better than to expect many people to be about in Sin City if he went to visit, but with one glance back at the twisted mass of dirty sheets now soaked in sweat from his nighttime torment he only had one choice, pushing himself to his feet and beginning to load on his equipment once more.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...