The groans of the fallen and the powder smoke of long arms were settling. Just two men remained the captain of this band of deserters and a Scout from the party sent to bring them back. The clay walls of the canyon were stained with drying blood and ichor. A horse wheezing as it lungs choked on blood was the barricade the captain hide behind.
The scout kept his eyes on the red horse waiting for the captain to show. His short pistol ready to make him regret it. The sun was pulsing in the sky drying sweat from the Scout’s duster. The sun was blinding the Captain. He couldn’t make a move to turn and shoot down his pursuer.
“Tell me son what is your name and who is your commander that I may pass word to him from The next island that his men died without courage and bellies full of cowardice.”
“You may tell the Necros at the under gates or the barge master that ferries souls that Ruffin the Mouse, the grey skin, under orders from Commander Pearson took your last breath.”
The captain eyes had been closed resetting their apertures to take less light so he could look and fire upon the sound of the last man approaching. The Scout’s steps were heavy he had taken a bead in his off hand and his glove was crying to be removed as it filled with swelling flesh and pouring blood.
The Scout stopped five paces from the horse that sheltered the coward laying behind it. A twitch or two wouldn’t be suspect from the horse as it was beyond its death throws. The glint of golden rings from the gilded bridle was not where the Scout wanted to focus his eyes but a soft shine of steel and dot of blue inside the mane meant the Scout was in danger. With the captain trapping himself under the bridle of the horse to get a dirty shot at the Scout. A cunning plan for a coward.
Bold action stirred the Scout to step twice and jump. He knew where the head lay and hoped the captain had but the single pistol trained on him. His jump saved his soft gut from taking lead but his left leg was pierced with the a hundred hot needles that dug sharply into his side. His left took no sense from his mind and only screamed when he asked that his knees tuck themselves in so he could clear the dead colt.
The Scouts wounded leg did not tuck and dragged across the colt causing him to tumble with the momentum. The spin laid the two hundred and fifty pounds of muscle, bound to his broad shoulder frame, a top of Captain. The Scout’s pistol fired into the dirt result of a poor attempt to brace himself.
With the single shot breach loaded pistol expired, Fire climbing his left side, and the swelling sun drying the fluid from eyes allowing the dust of the canyon to cling to inside the Scout’s eyeballs. Blood lust over took the scout. The metal hilt and hollow tube which served him well in the fight moments before held as much purpose as a stone and with that stone he came down upon the Captain surprised face. First through his left arm which the captain raised in protest then against the side of temple and across the captains pointed cheekbones and rigid jaw line. Any feature which once was prominent and marked the Captain as handsome was ground into soft pulp by the Scout’s fist and firearm.
Ruffin the Scout tossed his single breach now marred with the former Captain’s gore aside and stripped him of his dual six shooters. While securing proof of his victory, movement caught his eye from the mouth of the opening in the carved rock canyon where the deserters made their last stand.
Long silk-like black hair being tugged away by the dry winds on top of a women laughing softly with delight. Skin as golden as caramel but not burnt by the desert sun, a voluptuous form hidden in patches by a loose weave of dull red desert plants.
“Is your tribe friendly to Freemen? I am in need of water and treated agave to clean my wounds.”
Ignoring the Scout’s words she continued to walk over the corpses of the slain. Her footsteps did not stir the settling dust or ripple the pools of men’s blood as her bare feet lead her around the aftermath. The Scout removed his gloves now and the pain of his hands swelling eased for a breath and felt as soft as a good bed. This ecstasy of relief was cut short by the needles which sprang from his leg and disabled his entire side bringing the large grey skinned man to his knees.
“Oh I see death is not done with this place then. If you wish to die here then die here warm heart. But do not dishonor my presence with begging.”
Her voice was soft and cool as the low breeze of dust over the hard rock desert. Even her insults and taunts were delivered with a smooth glow of as warm honey is poured. Her dark sugar coated frame drew closer and Ruffin could now see her face was carved as the classic beauty of the gods statues demanded. Not a dimple or raised pour. Eyes crystals of blue as clear as the oasis pools the desert herder’s chase.
The Scout through shear will stood and spoke through the pain demanding his focus.
“Take me to your tribe. But if you are of the flesh eating outcasts and not of the Herders the first round will be for you and your body disgraced after I have drenched the plains in your cannibal kin’s life blood.”
Laughter from her honey soaked throat tossed over her shoulder was the call to follow. The Scout’s strides where long under his height but his wounds drag and bounce of her skip kept her out of arms reach. Out of the canyon and beyond the first horizon. The hard rock turned into soft brown sand, the hue of her caramel skin, resting over clay. The heat of the sand welded the dried blood stained pants to the Scout’s leg. The blood letting had stopped and each step alternated between a promises of catching the brown sugar coated honeypot and a reality of nerves firing explosions of pain.
“Stop” she turned and commanded from beyond his reach.
And the Scout halted sinking a half inch into the brown sand.
“You may die, here.”
Ropes from beneath the loose sand swirled up the Scout’s legs to steal his purchase from upright. As promised he flashed his arm and fired a shot from the Captain’s six gun at the devil who brought him here. She cried. The shot, not fatal but higher than he was aiming as the ropes uprooted and placed the large grey skin scout on his back. The ropes covered in scales darker than the sand and increasing in girth as they uprooted from the earth. These were the tails of snakes. Intuition became reality as each snake lifted its head. Each head, the size of a large wolves with proportioned snouts. They gave the dead scout a lick and hiss of the air. Without strong faculty in his left hand the Scout grabbed and held shut the jaws of the first snake. The surprise and recoil of the snake in his grasp lifted the Scout back to his feet as the other missed its dive and now whipped belly up in the sand. Showing a soft white under side he fired two shots down the center of the beasts belly its head now flopping as a fish inside a boat unable to summon the sea to correct itself. With his swelling hand still locked around the gnashing jaws of the remaining snake he fired a single shot which removed all the struggle from the serpent and loosened the tails hold on him.
Staring now into the eyes of the witch. Battle fury sent all pain from his mind.
“Now I’ll collect the treachery from your ass before I send you where your pets souls dwell.”
Soft waves of air pushed against the Scout as he drew closer to her. She was trying to cast a spell but was being ground. Blood was welling in her left collar. His first round had severed her light coverings hold. She now stood half bare. Without her snakes and her spells she was just a woman of exposed flesh. Fear filled her eyes and she ran now for her life not to lead the Scout but escape his wrathful lust.
Her pace was beyond what the Scouts stride could provide. She went from a taunting, bouncing statue of caramel sugar to a drop of dark night silk. Determination and satisfaction drove the Scout at a steady pace. Years of miles behind him allowed him to push through these miles. The dark spot, her soft night hair, began to fill out her classically curved form underneath as he closed the distance. Her breathe hard from unused lungs trying to work faster than ever before began to choke on the dry sparse air. The sun never let up its heat and she still had not stirred a single bead of sand even as her purity and life depended on it.
His out stretched arm could feel the tip of her silky mane but he couldn’t close his swelling fist to grasp her. She remained just out of reach straining and choking her steps. A hand on her shoulder gave the Scout’s knees as reason to cease and he dropped her into the sand under his collapsing tower frame. Turning her over under his strength planting kisses on his prize as she struggled against him. His exposed palm was burning smoke and smolder from her shoulder where he imposed his strength to keep her down. He drew the hair out of her face with his good hand. Where his flesh touched burns appeared. Through the screams of fear and pain he gently pulled her visage clear. The Scout would not be deterred by a glamour he knew her beauty and the rage in his heart knew her evil. Tears welled in her eyes of blue crystal as she gave away resistance to her an assault and began to accept his demands.
The heavens cried as well. A storm swept across the sand. Rain and thunder pelted from all directions at once without a sign of warning.
“The Queens Tears have saved me!”
She spat in the face of her ravager still under his strong hand.
Water fell from the heavens and swept across the wind. A blinding light of spell craft and a push of air as magic made its way into reality threw the Scout from his prize and through the blinding he saw the naked form of his prize melt into the sand. The cool rain calmed his heart bringing back his senses. Without the temptation of flesh before him, he had no reason to hold onto the waking world. Darkness a sleep as close to death as he had ever known overtook him.
“Can we wake him now?”
“He’ll wake when he is ready.”