A vignette is a brief evocative description, account, or episode. Slice of life stuff.
being a gathering together of evocations,
in the writerly style, by Johny Thundersbeard
Note from The Scribe: A lot of these are not short stories per se.
They are glimpses into worlds both imagined and real.
Some have been written for contests; Some have been written for writing classes.
All are a slice-of-life writ large.
A Table; Of Contents
On Monday She Came Home
The Bird Fell, And The Sky Fell Too
They Shoot Zombies Don't They?
Sgt Amotep Vs The River Bandits.
"Short shots over a short skirt"
The Crystal Mountain Path
"Sara Riding in the Sun"
"Hard Detectives Don't Play By The Rules"
Bonnet of the Wild Women
"Goth Girl Flirting On A Train"
Mom! He's doing it again!"
"Bebe Runs The Risk."
Broken Bones Alone
“On Monday She Came Home”
On Monday she came home. She stood in the doorway eyes downcast. Her hair was straggly; some locks were stuck to her neck. Her makeup was smeared around her face. There was a ladder in her stockings and she smelled, faintly, of wood smoke. I stared at her, saying nothing.
Slowly, she looked up at me. She surprised me. She looked me straight in the eye. Her eyes were clear; not bloodshot like I expected. I teared up.
“I couldn’t forgive you if you were drunk.”
She rushed into my arms. Crying.
“The Bird Fell, And The Sky Fell Too”
The bird fell and the sky was silent. I watched it through the window of my girlfriend’s bedroom. It was like something from a horror film. Except this wasn’t the aftermath of something horrible. This was the aftermath of something beautiful. I turned my head towards her and we smiled at each other. With a single finger I smoothed a stray lock of hair back behind her ear.
“Thank you” she whispered and kissed me sweetly. “But you better go. My dad will be home soon. I need to get dressed.”
Beautiful to me, horrible to her father. Equally dangerous to us both.
They Shoot Zombies Don't They?
A Zombie Run Adventure
Bards Hall Contest Entry, August 2016.
Once upon a time the valley had been verdant. Now its dusty slopes were barren. Where once a mighty brick veneer home had stood; where once machinery sheds and barns had stood; where once proud farmers had stood and worked the land: there sat nothing but a shambles.
“Here chicky! Here chicky!” A voice that aches with cuteness carries lonely through the valley.
Under the parched sun, a bedraggled girl scampers out from a fallen shack. She is chasing an equally bedraggled hen. Both are skin on bone: scraps of clothing, scraps of feathers.
The girl runs from demolition job to demolition job and a sort of order can be made from these once confident homes.
“Janie! Janie!” An older voice cries.
“Granma!” The girl squawks in reprimand, “The hen got out again.”
“Git back here girl. Git back here! It’s not safe without your Uncle here!”
“Aw Granma. We got to git that hen! She’s not safe out here! A fox might get her ... or a ... or a...”
Now Granma comes into sight. She’s sprightly but she looks old. Her hair is grey and her face is wrinkled. Her skin is red and dirty and caked with grime. Yet she stands strong and straight. She carries a long stick. Not to walk with but to brandish.
“C’mon girl. C’mon. She won’t go far. We’ll get her later. When Uncle and the Boys come back. Quick.”
And now Granma gives little Janie a fearful look. Half exaggeration, half real desperation. She raises the stick. Only it’s not a stick. It’s an old rusted rifle. A relic.
“Granma!” Squeals Janie.
“Now Janie, you know I don’t like to use this club on the likes of you. I love you like you was my only child. But we gotta get back to the bunker before...”
“The bunker’s too hot,” the little girl whines.
“... before they smell us.”
Janie stares out over the hills. She seems to study them. She seems to be considering that under each and any of those rocks, those burrows or behind those gnarled stumps... danger lurks.
“I wish they wasn’t here.”
“Me too child,” Granma says as she firmly palms the back of Janie’s matted hair. Impulsively she hugs the girl to her side. “Me too.”
That night, Uncle and the Boys slip back into camp announced only by the short squawk of the hen.
Granma and Janie are huddled together under Grandma’s heavy filthy blanket. The girl sleeps fitfully.
“Well?” hisses Granma. Her steely gaze flashes in the twilight.
The stars above what once may have been a hay shed shine on Uncle and the Boys as he rustles in his sack.
“Just the three. Not much meat on em o’ course. Mighty hard to catch the fatter ones.”
“I killed one Granma!” A lean, skinny boy hisses harshly in the dark. His limbs are long and his face is dotted with clogged skin and filth from the earth and other places. The other boy, younger if size is anything to go by, nods his head eagerly and interrupts.
“I chased it! I almost got it! Only I couldn’t hold it...”
“I held it...”
One boy grimacing looking at his clenched hands regretfully; the other strangling the air mirthlessly.
“ ...I held it /tight/ Granma.”
“Good. Good,” Granma nods. “Cooked?”
“Yes’m” Uncle says. “Far away from here. They’s a little dry now but they’ll do us for a week or so.”
“Boys, come get some sleep,” says Grandma sweetly. And one by one they slink over to her; allow themselves to be covered by her blankets embrace.
After a silence Uncle hesitantly offers his opinion.
“These boys are turning into mighty ... mean little critters...”
Grandma opens her eyes and stares intently into the darkness between them.
“They got to be Uncle, “she implores him. “ If they gonna survive this world. If Janie is gonna survive this world. They got to be the meanest, toughest critters in this wide brown land.”
“Ain’t no heroes after the apocalypse,” Uncle whispers.
“Yes lad, ain’t no heroes after the apocalypse. Only survivors," she hisses. "Survivors, Uncle!”
Uncle looks up at the sky. His face is wet now and he wipes it with his grubby sleeve.
“Pimple,” he mutters.
He hunkers down at Grandma’s feet and she covers his body with the heavy, grimy, dust trodden blanket that is their only solace. His hands lay on Grandma’s calves and he rests his face upon them. His breath evens out.
The noises of the night lull him.
Suddenly, his eyes open.
“You remember before the world turned to shit, don’t ya? You remember when we had houses and cars and we had guns and we could meet new people and ...”
“Shh. Shh boy” Grandma soothes. Her knuckles tighten on the stock of the old rifle, her club. “Yes Uncle. I remember all that.”
In the darkness a wolf howls. A sound like a wolf yearning to be a man.
“I remember all that and more.”
The dusty slopes are alive with more than memory.
Sgt Amotep Vs The River Bandits.
By this stage in the siege, the forces of Hecabang expected to be in command of the River Bandits stronghold. With their superior technology spanning firepower and protective battle suits , it should have been a walk in the park.
It wasn't. And now, Sgt Bruin Amotep was the last man standing. Hecabang Intel failed to inform his unit of the antique pirate cannons the River Bandits used to decimate them, their armored suits no match for the balls of exploding metal.
Amotep's heads-up display bleeped slowly at him indicating his lowering reserves of energy. From where he was hiding, submerged behind a canal boat, he could just make out the infrared forms of the river bandits scavenging from the remains of his comrades.
"This is fubar," he hissed. He could easily take on the primitives, even with his lowered reserves, but those cannons were another thing entirely. He needed someway to isolate their effectiveness without turning himself into an exploding baked beans can. Nobody was left to even offer covering fire. There was no body in his unit left except for him and his battle suit.
Amotep mulled that thought over for a full minute. Could he handle that many river bandits by himself?
Inwardly, he crossed himself. Outwardly, his body tensed and his eyelids blinked instructions to his suits battle computer....
With a giant surge his tank-like body catapulted from the water. Rivulets reflected like blood coursing down his body, catching the firelight of his burning compatriots own suits of armour. Like a river god, he rose and like an avenging angel his guns blazed; catching the river bandit’s unawares like all good deaths do.
The river bandits on the banks scattered, those not shredded by the gunfire, their cries of action drowned out by the sound of the Hecabang Warrior’s jetboots roaring as he steamed ahead towards the barricades where the cannons had laid their own deadly barrage. Head first, he plunged through the turret-hole. The sound of new-technology slamming into hundreds-year old cast-iron. Gun meeting gun. Then, the explosion. A mini-mushroom cloud, a sucking of sound, the cries of the disbelieving river bandits as twisted metal scraps flew through the sky.
And Sgt. Bruin Amotep, sans- Armour, standing on a canal boat. Pistol in one hand, fallen river bandit sword in the other. His black neo-suit darker then the night, thanks to the blazing sky.
This time, he crosses himself for real. Before he sprints, and leaps, and lands on the muddy banks amongst his foes. Pistol smoking, sword whistling, feet pumping. He is the river-devil, come to life.
"Short shots over a short skirt"
I could see they were going to kiss. Blind melon could see they were going to kiss. So why couldn't my art director?
"Shoot it again! Show the girls mean it this time! This time shoot it with ... " was she really going to say it? ".... with feeling!"
But it wasn't a passion shot, it was a cheeky will-they-won't-they shot! It was a shot that demonstrated to both men and women that curiosity was sexy.
And that a bit of naughty body language could sell cheap ugly grey couches better than cleavage shots and overdone wanton passion any day!
The Crystal Mountain Path 5 stars, 200 views, 2 reviews.
The crystal mountain path shimmered in the thin, crisp air. I walked my mule alongside it's translucent surface but I could not resist walking on it myself. My deerskin boots crunched with every step and little puffs of atomized quartz marked their way.
Once or twice I raised my head to sight the landmarks; largely I let the mule lead. Ive lived in forests all my life. I've travelled across mountains before. I've even seen the sea once, many years ago. But I've never seen such a thing as a crystal mountain path, and I am wan to take my eyes off it.No matter how old and sore and rheumy they are today.
I don't know anything about minerals; I am no quarry man. I do not know how such a thing came to be. If the crystal mountain path was made by the hand of man or if it's way was made of it's own accord.
Because I was so intent on the mysteries underfoot, I failed to notice the fork. While I may have navigated my way off the cliff top and down to a broken death, my mule was not so wont to be caught dreaming. This time.
I ran my hand along his grey streaked neck. To the west, the fork of crystal mountain path travelled for a further thirty yards and then seemed to meander through some trees. I could not discern their type from such a distance. To the east, the crystal mountain path forked sharply down, no doubt it would eventually leave this mountain and if followed would lead to a valley. Perhaps verdant with good growth and soil, a boon for any farmer. Or perhaps verdant with more of the strange crystal, perhaps reefs of gleaming rock beading in the thick morning air.
"And ahead? What of ahead of you old man?"
I turned my head slowly, puzzled.
"Long journeys we have had. Mine, not as long as yours. But still together we have travelled here to this crossroads. "
My old eyes watered and my old mule swam in and out of focus. For surely this was he who was now conversing with me? We had not seen another soul for weeks.
"Old mule?" I quested.
"Yes Old Man. Old mule. Old friend, my way is ahead but yours is west or yours may be east. Up or down Old Mountain. Away from or always within. "
"Old mule! Ahead is a broken death," I gestured grandly. "A mule such as you can walk himself through terrible terrain, or for leagues on end....but..."
Here I faltered as the vista before me cleared and my vision, hampered by age and human frailty, crystalized.
"Old Mule to Old Man, goodbye." He dipped his great whiskered head and touched my shoulder, nudging me, and I gasped as his hoofed feet walked the rainbow bridge. His hooves skated graceful and no damage to the rainbow bridge could I discern.
"I would get going if I was you Old Man. You know how your knees seize and your hips ache if you pause too long."
True to his telling, a dull aches slow beat in my right hip was in it's infancy.
I looked again at the forks of this crystal mountain path, east and down or west and up. Away or within, Old Mule had said.
I did not muse as I turned to the left away from the pain in my right hip and followed the crystal mountain path west. Walking, traveling, with no destination but a journey of steps. Not struggling lost in a marvelous crystal miracle but enjoying it's enveloping light.
"Sara Riding in the Sun" 4 stars, 174 views, 5 reviews.
Sara put on her white knee length skirt that day. She matched it with her purple short sleeved short blouse and her sunny outlook. She grabbed her portfolio from her room and ran through the kitchen where I was reading the paper. I barely looked up, but she waved goodbye.
"Good luck Sar. You'll kill 'em."
I heard her through my saturday morning haze wheeling her green rusting bicycle out down the side path. It squeaked the whole way, annoying at the time. I rustled my paper fitfully.
I can imagine her riding her bike along the road to the restaurant where she was going to meet her friends before they headed to the expo. I can imagine her joy as she rode in the sun. I can imagine that because for 22 years I saw her embrace each day as if it was her last. I can imagine her fear when she saw the car careen into her. He was texting on his phone. I can imagine her pain as she lay bleeding on the sidewalk. I can imagine that, because I live her last day every day. I live her last day every day, come sun or come cloud.And I wonder what would have happened had her bike helmet not clashed with her outfit. Maybe she would have worn the damn thing.
word count: 222 words.
authors note: I have not lost a daughter, but as a father of three young children this concept is close to my heart. I could not bear to lose my daughter. My wife lost her brother in her mid twenties and ten years later the repercussions on her family are still being felt.
Ben Yatamoto is half japanese. He's a tradie: installing air conditioning ducts in factory fitouts. He's tall and he's been playing basketball since he was a teenager. With his sporting routine, his height, the physical demands of his job, and his love for his Dad's traditional cuisine; he seems to have the combination of being tall and wiry down pat.
Ben hasn't been back to Japan since he was a kid. He's spent his life living and working in Australia. First in Melbourne, then for a couple of wild years up in Cairns, and now back in Melbourne where he has settled down with the sister of his best mate (and fellow basketball player).
Ben's mate Tom is in the same trade as Ben. Tom is tall and slim as well but he is light skinned where Ben is dark and has bright wide eyes where Ben's are sometimes unfathomable. It is Ben who is the more laidback of the two however, the one who is more “dinkum di”. It is Ben who wears flanellette shirts as a fashion statement with his hard yakka pants and Tom who wears a crisp tshirt with designer jeans. Tom may wear loafers to his kids bikeathon but it is Ben who wears his black thongs (his white ones are his formal thongs) to cheer his own son on. Where Tom's tattoo's are three quarters hidden under his t-shirt sleeves, Ben's full sleeve tribal tattoo is always on display. It's dark ink on his dark skin making the design seem mysterious. It's murkiness: foreboding.
As Ben turns from the bikeathon spectacle to the playground where his mother is playing with his daughter on the swings, he can't help but marvel at what a sunny day it is. He quickly sprints (as fast and as graceful as he can wearing thongs on soft grass) over to his daughter to give her a quick tickle as she flies through the air on the wooden seat.
The sleeve of his shirt unfolds down one forearm and his mother folds it back up for him. Her fingers trace the scars on his inner elbow, hidden from the world by tattoos claiming his heritage. The scars claim his history.
“You've come a long way Ben,” his Mother says looking straight into his dark eyes.
“There's no other place I'd rather be Mum. But any other journey and I wouldn't be here, right now, in this spot. With all you guys. It may have made me, but it also made these little guys too. No other journey would have done that,” Ben smiles. He tickles his daughter again and she laughs.
After a little bit, his mother does too.
Hard Detectives Don't Play By The Rules
As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, Detective Kentaro Carosella surveyed the room. He was surprised to say the least. From his position at the entrance to the room, all he could see was a bloody mess. He'd seen a lot of nasty sights in his career but this was one of the worst.
“I thought closet psychopaths where meant to be neat?” Kentaro's partner Detective Irving O'Hara's voice was shaky. Despite his irreverent manner, he too recognised the room for what it was.
A bloody mess.
“How are we ever going to find a clue to the wee girls whereabouts in here?” O'Hara moaned.
“We start looking,” Kentaro sighed and moved into the ramshackle extension.
“You think he got these windows on ebay?” O'Hara asked tapping the hazmat security sticker on the window pane closest to him. “Looks like the walls are painted plyboard, so I wouldn't be surprised.”
Kentaro surveyed the room from his new vantage point. On second glance, the room wasn't so much a bloody mess as cluttered. It was such a large area, ranging from one end of the house to the other and it seemed like Pearson had tried to divide it into sections with the furniture. Pool table and chairs up one end, desk and computer equipment up the other end. And a bar and sofa couches in the middle. Only thing was, there were too many chairs, too many desks and too many couches.
“I kinda like this effect though,” O'Hara said referring to the way Pearson had used the pine framework of the extension as bookshelves instead of covering them up with plaster.”There's more order to this place then we think me thinks.”
Kentarro walked past the first sofa couch, the one facing the floor to ceiling windows. It was a dark green with a purple throw rug, strangely enough. thrown haphazardly across it's length. There were two fluffy white cushions in either corner. It looked like the kind of thing Kentarro's mother might put together in an effort to appear “hippy” (she had never been a hippy).
“It's like a jumble sale of opshop furniture,” O'Hara scoffed as he picked his way past a glass table covered in coloured papers.
Kentarro shook his head.
“Not a jumble, a maze,” he said, his eyes following the track of an old kitchen bench serving as a bar by the look of the empty wine glasses. “A path.”
Kentarro couldn't help himself. He gave a half smile. His unfathomable eyes glinting in the darkening room. With a stride laiden with purpose he crossed the “lounge area” to the “recreation area”. A blue cotton oversize table cloth was draped over a pooltable. With one careful hand, he lifted the edge.
And there she was.
Old Man Pearson's prize pomeranian. Missing Puppy no longer.
“Mission accomplished Pet Detectives!”Kentarro heard O'Hara say from behind him. “Mission. A-ccomplished.”
Bonnet of the Wild Women
Bonnet knew the big gum tree with its fat trunk and gnarled bridge-like arms had been old. Just how old she wasn’t to guess.
Bonnets own Grandmere had played on the tree when she was a child. And she was ancient. Ancient even for a Wild Woman. And Bonnets Grandmere was a powerfully wild Wild Woman. She knew all kinds of magic.
"Bonnet, dont go playin on dat big ol' gum tree on the edge o da ridge no more," Her Grandmere had told her just the other day. "Branches are always fallin fom it's heights. One's likely to fall and kill you, likely as not. "
Grandmere hadn’t scolded her, she didnt need to do that. The people of this land, especially the children, learned to heed the words of the Wild Women. They learned to trust in the power of the magic that was part of their everyday lives. A little too much, Bonnets Papa sometimes said under his breath.
Now she couldn’t help but wish she’d had one last play across it’s branches. One last tea party in it’s eaves. Bonnet stared at the destruction before her, at the branches strewn across the field and the dirt piled high where the trees girth had once stood like a mountain.
Last night’s storm had uprooted the big old gum tree in it’s entirety. As Bonnet felt herself drawn to the carnage, she realised that something lay at the bottom of the tree. In the storm, something else had been unearthed.
Goth Girl Flirting On A Train
“You don’t mind if I rest my head on your shoulder, do you?” She said, her dark lashes peering innocently up at him. “The last guy I did this with took some advantages.”
He doesn’t know what to say. He mumbles, yes.
He wants to take advantage of her too, but is confused by her mixed messages. She ends up rubbing her toes along his leg. He does nothing. He doesn’t want to be the one to take advantage of the young goth girl.
At the train station that is their destination, he sits in his seat for longer then needed. He watches her out the window as her goth friend greets her. The goth girl with the long lashes and the goth guy with the black top hat. They hug.
He stares at them. He would dream of going to a goth club and running into her for years, but really, he wouldn’t have known her if he had bumped into her anyway.
"Mom! He's Doing It Again!"
"Mom! He's doing it again!" Darren cried.
"Leave your brother alone, Gerry!" Cried Darren's Mom.
She swung the baseball bat again, connecting with her oldest child's jaw. It came apart with a terrible crunch and a slight squelch. It just hung there, swinging for a moment before Gerry toppled over. Absurdly, it reminded Darren's Mom of the time Gerry broke her grandmothers vase running in the corridor. It too, had swung pendulum like before toppling and smashing onto the tiles.
She was too angry to dwell on the horror of her new form of discipline, as her son rose from the dead again.
"Mom! He's doing it again!"
Bebe Runs the Risk 4 stars, 189 views, 0 reviews.
Eating pigeon pie, sipping French wine and munching on dark purple grapes and blue cheese, Bebe Stephens looked her companion in the eye.
"Skilled negotiation is an imperilled skill," she said, resting her fork on her plate.
"I don't really care that much about it," he said taking a swig of his merlot. "I just want the job done right."
Bebe looked at him again, sizing him up. His beige suit, his leopard print tie. The salt and pepper beard and the neatly slicked hair. The beard hid any weaknesses in his lower jaw. Did he normally simper over pigeon pie? Or was his jaw line hard with determination? Again, she looked him in the eye. The deep lines around his eyes and the deep furrow between his eyes displayed his stern nature.
"An American warship is not an easy target," Bebe said, wiping her mouth with the cafe napkin in short pats. "That's not really open to argumentation."
He said nothing for a moment, just gazed at her. If they weren't in a public setting Bebe imagined what he could do to her. Finally he gave a deep sigh and leaned slightly forward in his chair.
"I expect so. I consider this a win-win situation. We can both come out ahead."
"Would you please tell me how you can say that," Bebe said, snapping the words off sharply to demonstrate her own certainty, "when there are currently five zodiac boats zipping around in that bay. Full of armed guards. Theirs. There are snipers on the radio building there. And another one there. And another one across from that restaurant in the clock tower? Yours."
"We could go about this in lots of different ways. We can just make a choice. And make sure it's the right one," he held his glass by the stem, swirling it slowly, watching her like a hawk. But she had been watching him like mountain lion, waiting patiently for him to land.
"Part of what we'll do is set a standard on our evaluation of the situation? Get a good understanding of our weaknesses and hence their weak spots? Horse shit. French horse shit. You nationalists are all so high on your own double-speak that you've lost sight of your own meaning let alone your double meanings," Bebe leaned back in the chair, shuffling her feet, not pretending to get ready to leave as a strategic measure but really leaving now. She took one last lingering look at the warship in the bay before them. Normally, a view of Parisian shops and restaurants and little tourist shops greeted her when she conducted business here. Today, a hulking behemoth of dominance sat there. And in a moment of clarity, as he popped another of the dark, purple grapes into his mouth. His neat white teeth breaking the skin and bits of pulp peeping out of his dry lips. Bebe realised that she was the dominant participant at this table and always had been.
Bebe had been travelling around the country following Douglas, meeting his minions and winning them over one by one. Twin trails of destruction spinning across France. And it had boiled down to this. An audience. An offering of a challenge. Take the risk and he would know for sure that Bebe was authentic. Bebe had just wanted to convince her adversary. She had wanted to run this risk: to judge the value of their enmity. To bestow her respect as an opponent. But now she was afraid she had been misled. This was a zero sum game. She felt that she must lose in order to win. She must suffer to achieve her results. She had wanted certainty, and now she was no longer uncertain. Douglas wasn't the enemy she had been questing for.
"By the way Douglas," and she saw him start at the use of his real name. Another sign of his weakness, displaying his surprise like that. "You never eat grapes with wine. It's just poisoning your own pleasure."
She turned away from him, away from the American warships, away from the armed guards of both, knowing full well that he would be watching her leave and wondering if the grapes were poisoned when all she really meant was that he wasn't worthy of being her nemesis.
700 words. Entry for Writers Cramp.
an American warship
dark purple grapes
Totally random writing. Just trying to produce something. Medium range probability that this sucks but I'm trying to amp up my production rate of crap stories in my portfolio.
broken bones alone
I see a rock fly through the air and land with a thud on the broken ground. For minutes there is no motion save the howling wind sweeping through the canyon. Then I see another rock flying through the air to join the other. Again, minutes pass. Then I watch as a mishapen body scrambles out of the alcove and darts to the other side, tucking itself into the canyon wall.
The wind that has been howling lonely for an eternity falls into a lull, and I see the hunch-backed form I know so intimately peel itself off the wall and make a run for the carved stone steps that wind their way upwards to the canyon's pinnacle. My breath catches as the foot of the escapist slips on only it's third stone step. I know how many more of those slippery stones are to come. I know what lies beneath, waiting for the fallen. And I know what waits above, waiting for the risen.
For I have climbed these steps. I have ascended the canyon. But I have not escaped. Not yet.
The steps are just tall enough that the escapist must leap for each one, putting themselves at much danger of slipping on the moss that stubbornly clings to the uneven surface. Yet they are not so tall that the escapist has to climb. Every now and again, the escapist pauses as if steadying nerves that have reappeared to haunt someone who thought themselves brave. I want to reach out for the forlorn figure on those giant steps each time this occurs, stretch out my hand, have them clasp it, and pull them up to the next step, both of us sweating and straining and no doubt swearing. But I find that I am unable to move, even in mockery. I can only stand in my own alcove protected from that terrible wind and pray for no broken bones this time.
A hundred steps in, so intent on the escapist's progress, I miss the origin of the the new danger. Glancing down to the canyon floor I see the grizzled shapes now attempting the arduous climb up the cliff face. Dark shapes from here, but still, so obviously not clothed, so obvious that the dark of their forms is made up from the matted, thick fur that covers their bodies. These climbers do not falter, they leap agiley from step to step and I know they will reach the escapist before the escapist reaches my heights.
The wind howling through the canyon drowns out any sounds they make, and would also drown out any cries I might make to warn them. What good would my strangled cries do anyway? The distance between the two parties closes before my eyes. I may not be able to hear the snapping teeth of the beasts, but I imagine I can smell their wet stink rapidly drying in the terrible wind. Wafting up towards me, that imagined smell fills me with panic. I clutch my sides, and moan with the horror. I have witnessed this scene so many times, so many times as to make me sick.
The escapist pauses on a stone step that instead of leading straight up, winds itself to the left, following the lines of the rock. I can see the arms I know so well, snake out and lean against the rock face. This is no time for rest, I want to shout. This is the time for flight! This is the time to scramble madly up those steps, howling wind be damned. Run, boy, run, and take your sister with you!
The escapist's upper half sags against the stone steps and seperates from the lower half. A smaller figure now stands on the step above. The lower half does not move, instead it seems to sag against the stone. . Further down below the hairy things pause too and I see one of them raise it's ugly head to the sky and howl. It's cry does not reach me in my eyrie, but still terror strikes in my heart.
I see it’s impact on the escapists mirrors my own emotions. The smaller figure, which must have been riding on the others shoulders, hunches down and points at the hairy things. The taller figure, still on the lower step, spins around.