Saturday, 5 November 2011

62) Strand Dead

    He stood stock still on the beach again in the pale moonlight. He looked behind himself, whole again and alive. He counted seventeen steps from where he’d started all those years ago, or just minutes ago. He tried not to think about the time it was taking to get to his goal, just fifty feet ahead of him, a loaded gun on a large rock. He looked to his left, nothing but calm waves of ocean all the way to the horizon. He looked to his right, thin scrub brush and palm trees for a few hundred feet and then more bloody ocean.
    He touched his naked chest and lightly traced out the fresh wound of the sigil there, the magic that was causing him all this suffering. He sighed. His stomach growled and he fantasized that maybe he would die of starvation and wouldn’t have to kill himself.
    He resolutely picked up his left leg, waiting for it to cramp or give out, and swung it foreword. Even though he’d killed more than a hundred men in honest combat and burned down a dozen ships, even though he’d ordered five men to take the same sigil on their chests and left them to the same fate as he, he still winced as he put his foot down.
    That now familiar electrical sting cut up from the sole of his left foot. From his bones out his soul gave way to the magic as it transported him away. He turned inside out a hundred times, twisted and turned though space and landed face down in hot gritty sand.
    He brought himself up enough to vomit then fell over on his side gasping. Eventually the heat and the dryness and the hope got to him. Hope that maybe he could find a way to stay longer wherever he was, maybe survive long enough to forget the gun on that lonely beach. Hope that maybe the rules would change for him this time.
    Frank Decheneaux, recently deposed ex-captain of the Black Plough, got to his feet and brushed off his tunic and pantaloons. All he could see was more damned sand in every direction, huge rolling dunes of it. The sun burned down from directly above like a blast furnace and he picked a random direction and began to walk.

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