Payment For Lifebymagichandslee©
He had to be silent. They were all around. Slip forward, one inch at a time, be part of the ground.
A shout, they were on him. Fighting to get up, too many, holding, and pressing. He discharged the rifle, rewarded with a groan.
It only brought more.
Reaching for the blade, he slashed out, feeling flesh part, a scream in the darkness.
Just 200 feet away, the walls of the fortress, almost. Yes, almost. He strained to reach it, safety, and freedom. Twisting frantically, he managed to look up in time to see the flash from the fort.
"No!" he screamed. "I am one of yo..."
A blinding light, the world faded to black.
Hours, days, weeks, years...? He awoke, the man in the pale robe was sitting, waiting.
"No, I am done. Please."
"Very well, here is the reward you were promised."
The man in the pale robe handed him six pills.
"Take them only when you must, there are only six."
"What do they do?"
"They are for life, you will know when."
Everything faded, he slept.
He awoke, it was hot. The desert Sun beat down, no mercy. Getting up, he walked. On and on, mouth getting dry, sweat running off him. Then the sweat stopped, no mercy.
The surroundings began to fade in and out. He reached in his pocket, felt the tablets. Desperate for relief, he popped one in his mouth, hoping to stimulate moisture.
Instantly, he could smell the water. Stopping by a large Cactus, he tore into the flesh of the plant. Precious moisture, elixir of life came pouring out.
The tablet dissolved in the sweet fluid. Then a horse appeared, saddled, bags on it's side, a rifle in the scabbard.
Mounting, he gave it it's head, knowing somehow that it knew the way.
Riding into the town, he dropped the horse at the stable. Pulling the saddlebags, he headed for the local tavern.
No more than inside, the voice called out. "I never thought I would see you again."
He looked up at the thin man, standing with a sneer.
"You know what!"
Tense now, not knowing, he looked at the man.
"What do you want?"
Looking at the thin man, he decided to just walk away. The man would have none of it.
"Gun." he said flatly.
"I don't have one."
"In your bags."
He reached and yes, a gun, holster. No idea what to do, or how to use it.
"Take a pill." popped in his head. He reached in his pocket, took one, and popped it in his mouth.
He strapped on the holster, turned, waiting. He saw the thin man reach, the gun at his own side appeared and fired. The thin man never cleared his holster, like magic, a hole appeared in his forehead.
Men were running, reaching for him.
He stood for a moment as the fog rolled in, then cleared. He was standing on a beach, the surf piled gently against the sands.
He heard the sound in the background, a humming, then a roar. A machine rolled up, the man inside looked him up and down.
"Move on, bud." the man said. Catching a glimpse of the badge, he said, "Sure." and headed off down the beach.
Tourists, every size and shape were everywhere. He just kept walking.
It was just a mile or so when he saw the bunkers, something drew him to them.
Walking up to one, a voice challenged. Some foreign language, he could not make it out.
A sudden explosion made him drop to the sand, looking up, he saw ships on the ocean. Thousands and thousands of them, men everywhere.
Hell broke loose. He tried to get as low in the sand as he could, then he spotted a clump of some kind of beach grass, elevated. Diving, he made it and ducked down behind as shells exploded all around.
The bunker he had just walked up to became an inferno. Then another bunker cut loose on where he lay, sand leaped up in spurts. There was barely room to stay out of the line of fire. It was getting closer and closer.
He reached in his pocket, felt the tablet. He popped it in his mouth. In seconds, a tank rolled up. "Get in."
He didn't need to be asked twice, he leaped up an into the tank.
Down the beach they went, firing left and right. The man running the machine grinned as one after another of the bunkers exploded in flames.
"Laser guided." he said. "Sitting ducks."
At the end of the beach, the tank driver pulled up and over the embankment.
"Out." he said.
"Take the car."
He stepped out, slid behind the steering wheel of the Blue Corvette, and turned the key. Rewarded with a throaty roar, he slammed the car in gear and headed down the highway.
He drove rapidly into the fast approaching darkness.
"Where?" popped in his mind.
"You will know."
He drove on. Hours. It began to get light, he followed the endless white line, seeing no one.
Then a flashing red light, he dropped down through the gears, the change of the engine tone almost a relief from the hours wide open.
"Hello." came a female voice. She hopped in the passenger door, smiled. He looked her up and down, soft, her breasts obvious under the thin material of the top she wore.
"Where do you want to go?"
"I am already there," she answered. He saw the silver gun appear in her hand.
Reaching, he grabbed the barrel, twisted it up and away as she fired. Then she was slashing at him. His doubled fist ended that.
Understanding now, he reached in his pocket, pulled out the pills. He looked down, just three.
"Fuck this!" he thought, popping two in his mouth.
The world turned black.
Fighting for breath in the cold water, he struggled to stay afloat. Looking around, he saw nothing, just endless seas. On and on.
He reached in his pocket, rewarded with a soggy mass. He pressed the remains of the tablet to his mouth.
He had to be silent, they were all around. He slipped forward with care, trying to be part of the ground.
A shout, discovery. They were on him. He fired the rifle, one went down, and then they were everywhere. He slashed out with the blade, feeling it part flesh.
So close. The walls of the fortress, he tried to scream out, saw the wink of light, and felt the explosion.
All black. "NO!" he screamed. Too late.
He awoke, the tall thin man sat patiently, smiling.
He sighed. "Why the hell not?"
"All right, here is the reward you were promised.."
Six little pills.
He knew what they were for. The reward for a life spent unrepentant, unkind. He knew of the goal of the fortress. Freedom if he could reach it.
He knew now he never could.
He popped all six in his mouth. The thin man just smiled.
All faded to black.