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 Broken Remnant

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The Laughing Stranger
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Join date : 2013-08-29

PostSubject: Broken Remnant   Mon 19 May 2014, 01:25

The two survivors sat at the end of the hotel bar, oblivious to the other patrons' good-natured carousing. The bartender occasionally threw a disapproving look in their direction over his formidable handlebar mustache, but the unsavory pair didn't seem to notice. The smaller of the two men was carrying on in a wheedling tone, trying to prevail on his inebriated companion.

"The gang's dead, Burke. We're finished, y'hear me? We gotta make ourselves scarce." Jon Harlan wanted to sound stern, but his voice wavered, and it came out as little more than a squeak. "Look, we have to get help, they don't fight alone, ever, and there's just two of us!"

Edwin Burke took a long slow chug from his dented tin cup. He did not swallow immediately, but rather swirled it in his mouth around his teeth for a few moments. He finally gulped it down loudly. "Nah, I'm staying. Gonna track that girl down- even these layabout Mexicanos understand the concept of a reward. Maybe we can get together a posse and go get 'er."

Harlan's eyes bugged out of his head. "You gonna scrape together a couple of idiot bean-eaters to take on a pack of werewolves? You're deeper in the liquor than I thought."

"Oh yeah? What's your plan then, runt?" The larger man's dull eyes met the barkeep's as he slammed his cup down and motioned for another. Harlan considered for a moment, weighing his options.

"I say we go back up the highway, see if we can't get some o' those tough injun fighters to give us a hand. Failing that, get back to Milledgeville..." He trailed off as Burke started laughing his thick, phlegmy guffaw.

"You think if you go crawling back you are gonna get help? Kilmarten made it pretty clear that we gotta succeed at tracking down that little gal."

"Well, Kilmarten is dead now," Harlan shot back, "and I don't give a flying Wyrm-damn about that bitch. We are gonna die if we stay here, plain and simple." Harlan's dry tongue scraped across his pale lips, his eyes fixed on a crack in the far wall. He imagined he could see spiders crawling deep inside it.

Burke sneered as the barkeeper finished filling his cup with fermented poison. "Maybe; but I solemnly promise I am gonna be drunk as hell when I go." He sucked half his drink down in one draught before pausing to let loose a roaring belch.

Harlan's glance flicked over toward the loud drunk. Burke had a noose tied around his neck, the cruel wet rope biting deep into his flesh, forcing the loose folds of skin up into a grotesque double and triple chin. His tongue lolled wildly, swollen lips twitched; sunburned tan darkening to gasping blue.  

With a quiet wordless noise Harlan stumbled back, unable to tear his gaze away. Some of the San Antonians stared at Jon as he blindly, heedlessly turned and scuttled away. Burke smacked his lips and continued muttering into his drink.  

"That's why you are such a spineless little shit, Jon. You need to get some o' this courage in you," Burke paused his guzzling for a moment to laugh at his companion, but the other man was gone, the pinewood door still swinging on its hinges.  

--------------------------

Harlan headed north. He resigned himself to walking, but he constantly looked back over his shoulder towards Bexar. With each passing hour, his unease grew, festering into paranoia. Harlan's steps became more furtive, and when he stopped to rest his dreams were haunted by formless shapes that coalesced into ravening beasts made of razor-eged talons and snapping jaws. The creatures were sometimes terrifyingly noble, shining with light, while at other times they were deformed, twisted, burrowing up out of the earth to consume him. When Harlan started awake, their howls still rang in his ears. The man's fear lent him speed, urging him onward, to find others, men and women who would shield him from the bestial predators that hounded him.

--------------------------

The Sower-of-Fear swam through the penumbral murk of daylight, its passing marked in the physical realm by naught but a delicate chill and unpleasant daydreams. The bane spirit had visited Harlan many times before, but had never been terribly interested in the mortal's drab insecurities... but now the mortal's dread was remarkably delicious. The tainted man's mind was like a feast, his focus entirely upon what he considered to be his impending doom. The Sower smiled and fed, glutting itself as fear stained the shadowy umbra like blood in the water.
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