Friday, January 6, 2012

Chapter Four: Part Four

I am sorry for the delay, gentles. Busy holiday. Conclusion of Chapter Four, continued from Chapter Four: Part Three

While Silk spoke, Twig stared like a stone at him. At this point, Twig looked at Digger. Digger had been watching. He nodded to confirm Silk’s story. Silk spoke like a liar. He couldn’t help it and he’d never try to do anything about it. Digger’s honest face helped Silk’s position. The lad showed his use. Silk smiled again. “I’m sure that Ferryman got your notes,” Silk puffed on his cigar. “If you want a reply to them, you’ll have to go find it personally.”

“I do not know where to look,” Twig said.

“I do—it’s further north,” Silk said, looking Twig straight in the eye. Silk’s heart beat unevenly. It had since the wars. No one who heard his heart could judge anything from it. It never sped nor slowed. Twig looked like the kind who heard heartbeats. His eyes saw more than other men. Silk smiled. “Did you say Zombie Corps?” he said.

“I did,” Twig said.

“There are other members of the Corps?” Silk asked.

“I do not know.”

“If you’re here, shouldn’t they be?” Silk asked, grinning around his cigar. With a straight face Twig stared silently at Silk. “It seems like it to me. There never was a Zombie Corps active in the War. If you are here now, somewhere the Zombie Corps ought to be waiting. Shall we rally them?”

Twig stared at Silk’s smiling face for a second. He turned to Digger. “This man is strange. There is no reason for him to help me.” Twig walked away from Digger and Silk toward the woods.

“I have a venture that may prove compatible with yours,” Silk said at Twig’s retreating back. “When you learn more of the new world.”

“I am sure that you do,” Twig said. He disappeared under the shadows of the pine trees. Silence filled the void.

Silk’s and Digger’s horses huffed. Silk felt the sides of Lortie—his own horse—relaxing. Everything stood still for a while, the breathing horses and men the only sound. A few minutes later a rustle disturbed the undergrowth among the trees, like a rabbit ascending from a hiding place. A bird took wing across the road. Silk heard a fox chirrup.

“Has he gone away?” Digger asked. Silk frowned. The voices in his head nudged him forward, telling him not to give up yet. Tapping his horse’s sides, Silk rode on past the boulder in the road. Past it, the road took another turn into a wide flat in the hills. Without speaking, they cantered for a few minutes along the easy stretch of road. The pine woods along the road thinned as they went. Some hundred yards could be seen in both directions.

“Look there,” Digger said, nodding sideways. Keeping pace with them, on a mottled grey mustang, Twig rode through the thinning pine trees. He angled his mustang to get closer to the road. When it began rising over the next low hill he had rode just ahead of Silk and Digger. Silk noted a distinct lack of weaponry on Twig’s saddle, while Digger carried several knives, a sword, and a bow and arrows—Silk would not begin listing the plethora of weapons about his person. Twig lacked supplies of any kind. He must be starving.

“I will go to the nearest Zombie Corps rallying point,” Twig said. “You may accompany me.”
Silk’s lip curled at the back of Twig’s head. The flat nothing of Twig’s voice peeved Silk. Twig wasn’t supposed to have the power here. Silk didn’t know quite what to do just then. “Fine,” he said, slowing his horse so he fall a little behind Digger.

Taking a long breath, Silk filled his lungs with cigar smoke, watching the heads of the two young people ahead of him. Cheeky bastards.

Continued on January 9 (shall now be posting every third day)...

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