Splintered Blade of the Red Savior

The challenge over at Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds this week is color title challenge. The story title must have a color involved in some way.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this week, so I played around with some random title generators and threw some words together. And to make it even worse, I had no idea what the story was going to be. But then what came out I realized is a part of something bigger.

If you remember a little while back I shared the story “What the Highway Prefers.” Even with that one I knew there was a larger story coming at some point. It seems that the story here is a part of that one. I haven’t really taken to writing serials but from time to time this story may show itself through bits and pieces. When that happens I will always link back to other parts.

Splintered Blade of the Red Savior

Splintered Blade of the Red Savior

flickr creative commons via Wsilver
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Rain flooded down from the sky. Muck and mud, he knew it well. The rain slicked trail fought against him. The rain slicker he wore did little now to keep him dry. Nature shared more than he felt comfortable with. Now he sought shelter if not to dry off then at least to clean the power of nature from his most intimate of places.

Tarok spotted the cabin off the trail a while back, may as well have not seen it at all for the trouble he had with the trail. For the first time in days he pictured himself dead at the side of the trail, drowned with his mouth turned to the sky. Would it be suicide to kill yourself with rainwater?

He pushed the thought from his mind. Had to be the rain, he mused. It sucked the will from him as it saturated his clothes. Closer to the cabin, he noticed no lights through the windows. Not unusual, they would need a generator for most artificial light. Though candles and lamps would do the work, he thought the light would still reflect through the windows.

Like much of the world, the owners neglected the yard. Few people took the time to worry about lawn care when they worried about where their next meal might come from. But it was more than that. The cabin’s siding and roof had fallen into disrepair as well. Cosmetic really, but cosmetic issues with a home lead to further problems.

Tarok rubbed a sleeve to clean off a front window, succeeded in spreading dirty, mucky water over the surface. It looked worse than before he touched it. “Of all the luck.” He said the words aloud. The sound strange to his ears, he couldn’t remember the last time he had a conversation.

After the buzzard crashed he found himself on foot again. Blamed himself for not checking the craft close enough, the fight with the packers left a pinhole in the fuel cell. The fuel leaked out while he was still airborne. He had brought it down in a copse of pines but he still felt the needles even now, through the grime of the sudden storm.

A common room and then two doors blocked what he thought were a bedroom and a bathroom. Opposite the door he entered sat a black pot-bellied stove. Buried under dust, it hadn’t been used for heat or to cook in some time, much like the rest of the cabin.

Was the owner taken in the crash? Or maybe had the cabin been forgotten? Either one worked for him, for now at least. He bolted the door and shuttered the windows, better to hide his presence.

He dropped his pack by the couch and removed his rain slicker, the clothes were as drenched as he knew them to be and did little to protect from the chills that wracked his body. He turned to the wood stove when he noticed a stack of wood ready near it. He could dry out and change after he built the fire.

The dry seasoned wood took the spark and the room began to fill with the warmth. Tarok stripped out of his clothes and laid them out near the stove to dry out. He hadn’t expected or noticed it at first, but the owners had prepared the cabin for times like this. Near the stove he found the kitchen sink, as well as the hand pump for water.

Dust and grime covered the basin, not much hope for water from the old pump. It needed to be primed and the bucket in the sink sat empty, except for the cobwebs. As he turned back toward the stove he kicked one of the jugs at the foot of the sink. Heavier than just a stoneware jug should be he found it filled with water.

He knew better than to drink it. No telling how long it might have been sitting here. But if the well hadn’t dried up he could at prime the pump.

At first the lever fought against him. He persisted and after a time of straining it broke free, then water began to flow. He rinsed out a pot and placed it atop the stove to boil. Only to realize he still had not cleaned himself off or redressed. He filled another bucket and cleaned first his body then rinsed and wrung out his clothes.

The storm raged outside, as he picked through dried rations. The weatherproofing he had done to his pack protected the clothes inside. Soon as his others were dry he planned to replace them inside, but that would be in the morning, after a nights sleep on the couch, such luxury he had forgotten some time ago.

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If you feel like exploring a bit of strangeness this weekend, Flash in the Pan will be available at Amazon for 99 cents. Pretty good deal if I say so myself.

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