Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunset, Part 7

Garret awoke to a sweltering sun. His back was raw, sunburned. There was the faint smell of smoke in the air, reminiscent of a camp fire. The faintest breeze blew over him, causing him to cringe. His back stung.
He picked himself up, rubbing at his eyes. He smirked at how similar this was to not but two days ago.

Am I condemned to repeat this forever?

The sun was painful, and larger in the sky than ever. It hung in the sky, looking fat enough to collapse onto the ground at any moment. As Garret averted his eyes from the sun, he caught sight of a plume of smoke on the horizon. It covered a vast expanse, and was carried lazily towards the mountains by the slight wind. He walked toward it. I bet I'll catch sight of whatever's making that smoke on the way to the forest. Damn, I'm hungry. He rubbed his stomach absentmindedly, then jerked his hand away; his stomach too, was burnt. It seemed only his scalp had evaded that fate, but his hair was brittle, and stiff.

Garret continued to walk, though the sand was painful on his feet. What else could he do?

Garret had barely caught sight of the forest when he realized where the smoke was coming from. A forest fire raged though the region, tearing through tree and shrub and animal alike. He could only stare at the destruction. A charred pig, skin burning, burst from a fiery conflagration, and ran onto the sand. It ran helplessly in circles before passing out. The smell of roast pork accompanied the smoke, and it was all Garret could do to tear his eyes away. He didn't want to watch the forest burn but he felt the inexorable urge pulling him back, forcing him to watch the blaze.

It was then that something snapped. Garret felt an itching on his skin, like that of a mosquito bite, or the death throes of a sunburn, but it was from neither of those - his sunburns were too new to be anything but raw to the touch. It came from deeper inside him, almost as if his bones were rebelling against his body.

And then he screamed. His skin charred in front of his eyes, and his hair burnt, wisps of it falling off, and blowing to the ground. He screamed, throat parched from the dry atmosphere, and he ran. Something possessed him to take the pig, which weighed heavily in his arms as he ran. He needed shelter. Shade. The forest was gone. The ocean was far away. Where could he-

The cave. That dark, ominous thing. That was probably where the spiders lived. And that man. That strange, primal man. Should he go there? Could he afford not to?

He ran, ran for ages it seemed, and screamed in victory when he found solace in the cave, rolling on the floor, rolling in agony, in joy, and to extinguish the fire that ate at him.

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