by Toy Lemmons

Tucked under my dirty, torn silk shirt, I watched his image as it hazed, and blurred behind the campfire I laid on the side opposite to him. The dark orange camp fire snapped, and hissed at the darkness for carrying away pieces of it in the wind. He lay comfortablyas if he had done laid that way for years. His bourbon black leather cowboy hat was tilted just covering his nose, and inches away from the straw hanging out of his mouth. His hands were tucked behind his head only to be arched by a dirty towel covered rock.

"We're almost there...sir?" I said hopping my voice would carry through the flames to him. He lay still as a statue desires, leading me to think that my words almost certainly were consumed in the fire.

"We're almost home, good sir!" I said trying pulling my shirt over the bare parts of my arms.

"I aint goin' wher you goin', boy!" He said. He had not moved his lips. Well, what could I see? The darn fire.

"Ah excuse me, I do not think I have quiet heard you clearly." I said motioning closer to the pit of the fire. His mouth remained hosting the straw, assuming no motion.

"Men like me don't go wher boys like you go", he said with a scratchy yet tobacco-less voice.

His body blurred in the lenses of the flame. In a blink of an eye he raised his black revolver, twirling it slowly as if it were a dream. His image hazed, and blurred behind the hues of the flames. He lay still like an roman emperor in his palace behind the large woks and goblet stands of fire. No freshly ripped grapes dangling from the hand of a submissive subject like in pa's books. Just the silver glare of a obsidian revolver twirling in the night. My eyes shot constantly from the flames, to the sounds of an eager wind trying to make it through the brush a few horse tracks behind me. Why couldn't the wind be restless during the day? Through the sounds of a restless wind trying to break the wind breaker, I could hear the faint exhales of animals, a pack of animals, in the distance. The faint sounds of exhales were greeted by faint dog-like breathing. I tried to hone in on a location of the noise, trying to funnel out the snaps of the fire. The howls grew heavier as my pupils dilated into the night.

"They must be coming from behind that hill." I said quietly.The moon light barely covered the hill in the distance from the night.

The howls came closer; my eyes widened as they shifted from darkness to darkness. My eyes lifted towards the silver haze trial leading to the hill. The howls tainted to echo less growls so crisp, so deep in pitch, the crickets paused. You can hear everything so clearly when the drops of fear are sliding down your spine.It continued to stay quite, for almost a 3 or so minutes. I took my eyes off the hill turning towards the roar of the fire to warm my face up. I could feel the numbness defrost. I could remember what he had told me a few days back." The journey in the light is harder for them than your troubles at night."There it was; beast standing tall on the lump of earth. It stood still like a daunting statue, motionless, as if it had been there all along to watch those who did not belong their enter into their fate.

I was paralyzed with fear, and covered with thoughts of what life without me would be like. I tried to whisper to the man across the fire, but I could only utter words sounding like Latin prefixes. With my eyes centered on the creature, I tried to toss a hand full of dirt over my shoulder at his direction trying to wake him up. "No words," I said exhaling in sadness, and trying to release the gas of fear from my stomach.

All I could do was look upon it helplessly. And just like I read in pa's books, when someone is caught off guard and frozen by distress, the enemy makes its move slowly, absorbing the fear and acting in its power.

It slowly went down the hill on the sliver lit trail, into the darkness my way.

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