• Published 12th Mar 2012
  • 13,544 Views, 982 Comments

The Great Slave King - TalonMach5

King a slave of the diamond dogs, becomes a god and plots his revenge against those who wronged him.

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The Coward's Way

Andrew woke up with a splitting headache, while the blistering sun beat down on his face. His aching body made it’s complaints known, when he attempted to sit up. His sore and bruised muscles ached from all the exertion he had gone through these past few days. Unscrewing the cap to one of his water jugs, he took only a single mouthful of water, and swallowed. Checking to see if there were any cupcakes left in his food stash, he was disappointed to find just one left. Staring at the unopened cellophane wrapped treat he sighed, “You may very well be the last cream filled cupcake in existence. I salute you,” he said, while carefully removing the cellophane wrapper protecting the last cupcake. Deciding to savor it, he slowly ate the last cupcake, until not even crumbs remained. The last cupcake, now nothing but a memory to him, the wanderer decided to take stock of his remaining provisions. With his careful rationing he still about seventy-five percent of his food left, mostly things that could last awhile like hard candy and jerky. Looking at his water jugs he saw he had nearly exhausted the contents of one jug, and would soon start working on the other.

“If only this fountain worked,” Andrew said, as he investigated the statues and base of the fountain for moss, the sure sign of a working fountain. Seeing his search come up empty, his began scratching his face, now sporting several days of growth. “Damn beard,” he said, while scratching his neck. It was itching something fierce, and he had no way of removing the blasted thing. As he scratched himself furiously, he felt something in his pocket. Reaching in, he pulled out the solid gold coin.

“What I would have given to have this back home,” Andrew said, as he inspected the coin’s inscription. Compared to modern coinage, the coin was quite primitive. However, the coin seemed to say something about the people who once lived in this ghost town. “Either this town was founded by horse worshiping midgets, or horses themselves,” he said, while studying the script engraved on the back of the coin. “I wonder where all the midgets went off to?”

Flipping the coin high into the air, it spun in the air until he caught with his hand. Slapping the caught coin to the back of his hand, he looked thoughtfully at his closed palm. “Heads, I search the town,” he said. “Tails, I keep moving towards the mountains.” Slowly he lifted his hand, revealing the image of the flying unicorn things chasing each other.

“Ahh, I guess I’ll search the town then,” Andrew said, as he walked towards the closest building, which appeared to be a saloon of some sort. His six foot frame was too tall to enter the building without stooping, so he crouched down and entered the saloon. A thick layer of dust covered everything. With the exception of dust trails left by mice, no one else had been in this room for possibly twenty years or more. Tables designed for people much smaller than himself, were either overturned or in pieces. Walking deeper inside the abandoned building, the former white collar worker looked down at his feet and saw what could only be large blood stains. Ignoring the broken furniture, he walked behind what he assumed was the bar. Beyond some broken glass, he found three intact bottles. Wiping the dust away from the labels, he saw the same illegible script and the faded silhouette of an apple cut in half next to a tree.

Finding nothing else of interest behind the bar, the man removed the stopper from one of the bottles, and inhaled it’s aroma deeply. The sweet scent of apples filled his nostrils, “Whew,” Andrew said, his eyes watering from the burning fumes from the open bottle. “I’ll bet that’s some strong stuff.” Placing the bottle to his lips, he took a small sip of the amber liquid. After swallowing the liquor, he immediately regrets it as his throat burns from the sweet alcohol. Looking at the broken tables, he decided to use some of the tables for firewood. Lifting up an upturned table, he’s surprised to see gnawed bones strewn under it. Taking a closer look at the bones, he raises his eyebrow at what he discovered. “Curious,” he said, picking up some of the delicate bones. “Looks like this creature had wings and hooves.” Taking the bones outside to his sled, he places them next to the small skull he had found earlier. Using his hatchet, he easily makes short work of the table into useable firewood. Using his flint and parts of his map, he manages to start a small fire while deciding on what to do next.

“Blast, if only there was some water,” he said. “I could afford to rest a day or two before moving on.” With his fire steadily burning inside the basin of the fountain, Andrew decided to explore the rest of the buildings while maintaining the fire. Unfortunately for him, the smoke attracted unwanted attention. After ninety minutes he had searched all the buildings, but unfortunately found nothing but a few weathered books. Leafing through the yellowed pages, the writing inside the books consisted of the same pictographs that he had found on both the sign and bottles from earlier. While studying the few pictures he found inside the books, a large shadow flew overhead. Looking up, he saw what could only be described as a flying lion.

Abandoning his fire, Andrew ran into the building he had stored his sled in. Peeking out from the broken window, he held his tire iron and prepared himself for what might be his final minutes. Moments later, the large creature gracefully landed near the fire. The creature’s white and grey feathers were a stark contrast to it’s tawny hide. Looking at the creature closer, the human was surprised to see it wore what appeared to be a dark green scarf and carrying saddlebags. With surprising dexterity it removed a scroll and inkwell from one of the saddlebags. Removing a feather from it’s body, the creature dipped it inside the inkwell and began writing on the scroll while it investigated the buildings. When it spied the tracks he had made earlier, it stopped to examine to examine them. Realizing he was about to be discovered, he swore under his breath and flattened himself against the wall as best he could. The creature cautiously approaching the building that he was hiding in. Before it could look inside the broken window, the wind picked up and caused all the doors in the ghost town to slam open and shut.

“Caw,” screeched the beast, puffing out it’s feathers and extending it’s wings in caution. The bird thing began tilting it’s head every which way. Before the creature could react, barking shattered the silence of the ghost town. With worry in it’s eyes the creature quickly turned around and ran down the street away from whatever was barking.

Andrew peeked out of the window and saw what looked like five of the weirdest dogs he had ever seen. Each one wore what appeared to be simple clothing, running forward on massive front paws. Each of their muzzles contained large jaws, that when they opened their muzzles to bark revealed large teeth. The dogs were running down the street, barking and braying as they chased after the poor bird lion thing. From his window, he saw the dogs throwing nets and bolos at the bird lion. Unfortunately for the bird thing, one of the nets had snagged on it’s hind leg. In vain it tried to fly away, but the much heavier dogs had too firm of a grip on the net. The largest of the five dogs grabbed a hold of the net with its jaws and front paws and gave it a mighty yank. Immediately the bird thing fell to the earth in a heap. The dogs began yipping, in what almost sounded like cruel laughter. The odd laughter continued as they bound the poor creature and began dragging it away from the town.

Frightened beyond belief at the sight, Andrew saw the bird and knew it had seen him. With fear in it’s eyes it seemed to plead, “Help me.”

Shaking his head no in response, Andrew crouched down and opened the bottle of alcohol from earlier. “Oh god, what were those things?” he wondered to himself. Too afraid to move from his hiding place, the man shivered as he waited for the cover of darkness to leave this terrible place.

After what seemed like an eternity the sun finally dipped below the horizon, while the moon began rising in it’s place. Moving as quietly as he could, Andrew started walking away from the town. Fortunately for him, the dogs had gone to the east and not towards the west like he needed to go. While he walked, he thought about the town and what he found there. He shuddered, when he remembered the cry for help from the pitiful eyes of the bird thing he saw getting hauled away by the dogs. He felt a bit ashamed at not even trying to do anything,

“There’s no shame in what I did,” Andrew thought to himself, as he walked forward.

“That’s a lie, and you know it!” his conscience retorted. “The fire you built attracted the bird thing to the ghost town. It’s your fault it got captured.”

“Why is it my responsibility anyways,” Andrew countered, “I was just trying to survive, and it swooped down out of nowhere. I didn’t ask for it to come down.”

“You can try shifting the blame as much as you want,” his conscience replied, “But we don’t know the intent of the bird thing, maybe it would have helped you.”

“I don’t care anymore. It’s not my problem,” Andrew said. “Anyways, there’s nothing I can do about it now.”

“Well I hope you can live with yourself,” his conscience said, then went quiet.

As the night progressed, Andrew felt unhappy about how scared he had been back at the ghost town. His thoughts were interrupted, when he felt the sandy earth beneath his feet. It felt loose and spongy, unlike the hard baked earth he has been walking over for the last few days. For the first time since he had arrived in this odd world he felt relief. Following the vegetation, he soon discovered the entrance to the wide mouth of a cavern. The light of the moon provided little illumination, but he heard the sounds of water deeper inside. With excitement, he doused some rags with some of the alcohol he found, and made a rudimentary torch. With light from the torch, he was easily able to navigate his way towards the source of the water.

Gazing down at the little stream, Andrew had never seen such a beautiful sight. Bending down, he cupped his hands and took a drink. The water was cooler and more refreshing than any he had ever tasted before. After drinking his fill, he filled his water jugs, and then washed his face and torso. The cool water felt refreshing against his sun burned skin. It was a relief to be able to wash away the caked grime and sweat of the past four days. Taking the opportunity to wash his clothing, he soaked his shirt and socks, and then gave them a good wringing. While still wet, the clothing would dry soon enough in the oppressive heat from the sun. Taking one last look at the running water that had saved his life, he was about to exit the cave and resume walking when he heard yipping and barks approaching the cave entrance.

Before he could drop his torch in the water to extinguish it, the five large dogs from earlier stepped into the cave and looked at the strange creature before them. Hogtied, and being dragged by the net was the bird thing from earlier. It looked miserable. The four smaller dogs didn’t know what to make of the strange creature, and looked towards the largest one with inquisitive looks in their eyes. With a low growl in it’s throat, the much larger dog gave them their answer as they all charged the hapless human.

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