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Jakob Black-Thumb

by Luc Reid

A demon of pestilence and a demon of fear emerged from the rough road through the forest into the sleeping village. The demon of pestilence was called Jakob Black-Thumb, and the demon of fear preferred not to have a name.

"Why do you always go first?" rumbled Jakob. "Your thing isn't even real."

The demon of fear turned a cold glare on Jakob, and Jakob felt a familiar chill trickle down from the base of his horns to the tips of his talons.

"Well, I'm ... I'm going over here now," said Jakob, and he headed for a large house fronted with neat flowerboxes full of pink and blue pansies. He began looking for a rat to infect. Minutes later, he was interrupted by a scream.

Near where the fear demon lurked in the shadow of a doorway, a fire had broken out, and two men were struggling in the street, scrabbling for each other's throats. That demon of fear was a fast worker.

The screamer was a young man, or a nearly-grown boy, and he was running through the hard-packed dust of the village street, straight toward the demon of fear. The boy had one of those monocles in his eye, the ones men made sometimes by imprisoning an executed murderer's fleeing soul, and through this he apparently could see the demon of fear. What made no sense was why he was running toward it instead of away from it.

The demon of fear drew itself up and roared, its mouth distending into a slobbering, iron-toothed muzzle, its skin rippling with flames and unidentifiable, writhing masses. Jakob flinched involuntarily, and the boy screamed again, but he flung himself at the demon of fear and ... hugged it.

Jakob would have liked to think it was a tackle or some kind of wrestling, but the boy wasn't squeezing the demon hard, and he wasn't trying to force it down: he simply wrapped his arms around it and hugged. Jakob's gorge rose.

The demon of fear, defenseless against the hug, howled desperately as it broke into pieces, falling to the ground like chunks of a burned, rotten tree.

The boy wasn't screaming any more: now he was breathing hard and gritting his teeth. His chest and arms were badly burned, but he still had the monocle and he had a fervent gleam in his eye. The men in the road stopped fighting. The boy smiled at Jakob.

Jakob ran.


so informative, thanks to tell us.

Posted by: rorUnsado | September 30, 2010 1:51 AM

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