This week, after a long hiatus, I decided to partake in Chuck’s weekly challenge.
The Aim: roll, generate, or pick one of the twenty random titles.
I generated a 6 – The Gun of Crow.
And this, is the result.
The Gun of Crow
The peak of the mountain sat large and ominous in the sky; like the tooth of a Megalodon. The Sherpa looked up at it, and with the face of an un-amused leather handbag, turned to the man, and said.
‘This my stop’
The man looked up at the mountain top, the snow settled thick, and though seeming close; he knew its vast size concealed the true stretch of the journey.
‘Okay,’ he said, ‘thank you.’ He extended his hand to the Sherpa, who looked at it; exposed to the cold, yet without redness. The Sherpa took it in his own gloved hand, and shook, then without a further word; set off down the mountainside. The man watched him go, and then continued in the opposite direction.
Sometime later he arrived at a pass. The summit was still a long way off, but he was now in the shadow of the mountain. He looked up, its high peak a blanket of white in a greying sky, and yet he knew, despite its peaceful appearance, there was more to be found than frostbite. Thunder clapped, and the sky promised rain. He continued on, in search of shelter.
He came across a cave, and as the heavens opened, he made his way inside. He stayed near the entrance, not through fear of its depths – like the cold; such things did not concern him – but so he could gage when to continue. He sat down on the floor, opened his bag, and withdrew an assortment of sticks. He set them down on the ground and extended his hand toward them, palm facing. He spread his fingers, and stretched them in a rhythmic fashion; his hand seemed to pulse. Within a second the sticks began to smoulder, and erupted into flame. The light bathed him in orange and the heat washed over him. He breathed deeply; taking in the smoke, and the mossy cave air. He would need this, he thought, to continue the journey he would need the fire, it kept him warm, and the longer he basked in it, the further he could go, unencumbered by the bitter cold. He would find it. This he knew, though what he had been told and what he himself could see, would not go beyond the meeting; the visions were always correct, but a lack of vision – this was rare.
Though the man did not sleep, he waited until sunrise to depart the cave. The sky was cloudless, and the sun, a near white orb in the sky, bathed the mountain in its glow. He continued on. The journey would be arduous for most, but not for him. By early evening he had all but reached the summit. He made his way to the top, and stood before a cave; he had seen it before, though never in the waking world. The man looked up at the sky, a lone bird, large and black, hovered in the air. He smiled up at it, and taking his bag from his back, he placed it down, and sat beside it.
‘And now, we wait,’ he said.
When dusk set in, the man entered the cave. He started a fire as before, and sat as close to the entrance as possible, staring out at the view; the landscape vanishing as the sun set. A crackle echoed around the cave. From the fire? No.
‘I see the light intrigues you,’ he said.
‘It would be rude not to entertain the devil,’ a voice replied, in a parched tone.
At this the man turned, only making out the silhouette of the voice; even in darkness shape can be found.
‘You mistake me,’ he said, ‘I seek an acquaintance; you know who.’
The shape moved forward, out of the shadow; the fire’s light seemed to give birth to its grotesque appearance: its skin pallid, its hair thinning; the strands could be counted on one hand. Its face was like a skull that skin had been stretched over, and its ribs could be counted from a distance. It stopped; its black hungry eyes seemed to focus on the fire.
The man, sensing the creature’s need, got up, and stepped outside. He scooped up a handful of snow. He came back inside, dipped his hand in his bag, and withdrew a tankard. He placed the snow inside the cup, and held it over the fire. A moment passed; the creature watched the man, the man watched the cup. The man offered the cup to the creature. It crept forward slowly, and then, with the swiftness of a shadow, it snatched the cup, and retreated to its position on the boarder of the darkness. It drank greedily; water spilling down the sides of its mouth. When it had finished, it stared at the man.
‘You get more when I get my information,’ he said, seeing the hunger in its eyes.
The creature chucked the cup toward him, and it rattled across the cave floor; echoing in protest. The man opened his bag, and reached inside. He withdrew a large object; wrapped in cloth. He laid it down on the cave floor, beside the fire, where the creature could see. He pulled the cloth back; revealing a large pistol; black as the depths of the cave, casting no shadow, it seemed to swallow the light of the fire.
The creature gasped, and crept closer to get a better look at the gun.
‘I seek its owner. He goes by many names, but when last we met, he called himself Crow.’
The creature smiled, showing its sharp jagged teeth, and said to itself, ‘the master has been seeking this,’ and then to the man, ‘uses Crow for those he mistrusts.’
‘The name he used makes no difference to my cause. Summon him.’
‘The master is away,’ it spat.
‘Then you leave me no choice.’
The man placed his palm over the fire; the flame leapt up into his hand, and he threw it at the creature. It screamed, engulfed in flames, what flesh it had was stripped away quickly; the shrill screams filled the cave. The creature began to blacken and curl, shrivelling up as the fire extinguished its life, and then itself.
The moonlight shone down on the cave entrance, just enough for man to fathom the charred remains of the creature in the darkness. The light behind him dimmed, and he turned. In the doorway stood a figure; tall and hooded.
The man smiled, and said, ‘I thought that might work.’
‘What do you want?’ it asked.
‘I came to dabble with death.’
‘People do not dabble with me. They die.’
The man leaned down, and picked up the cloth, holding the gun within.
‘This is yours,’ he said.
The hood looked down at the gun, and then back to the man. It outstretched a milk white hand, and grasped the gun, examined it, and after satisfying itself, tucked it away; into the darkness of its being.
‘What do you wish?’ it asked.
‘Come now, Crow,’ said the man, ‘we’re old acquaintances; why such formality?’
‘What do you wish?’ Crow insisted.
‘Is it true that gun can extinguish life, any life?’
‘It is, is that your wish?’ Crow withdrew the gun swiftly and pointed it at the man.
He raised his hands up, ‘no, no, no,’ he said, ‘a mere question.’
Crow concealed the gun again.
‘So, it could, say, kill a God?’ asked the man.
‘Yes. Is that your wish?’
‘Oh, yes. It is,’ he said, ‘it most certainly is.’