CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FIFTY-TWO
Like the fire surrounding the screaming women, his rage lit with fierce power. He ran down the small hill and forded the stream in no time. Ignoring the Templars that were fighting with villagers, he ran to the women. He hopped over the fire. The women were unconscious now from the heat and fumes of the fire.
One at a time, he freed the women. He dug a trench and laid their abused bodies into it. As he’d done many times before, he covered the women with cool soil leaving only their heads exposed. He cut the wheat and lay it over the area. The women were effectively hidden from the soldiers. By the time they revived, he and the other Templars would be long gone.
He was dribbling water from his personal water skin into the mouth of the final victim when the world around him became eerily silent.
“Now what?” Nelson asked out loud.
Hearing his voice, the woman shifted, moaned, but did not awaken. He finished dribbling water into her mouth. Standing, he dropped the water skin next to her body.
The wind blew smoke from the fires into his face, blinding him from anything other than the grey smoke and the heat of the fire. Unafraid, he walked forward through the smoke. Ahead of him, he saw the back of. . .
“What the hell?” Nelson whispered.
He was looked at the back of what he took to be a human head. Rather than hair, the head was filled with. . . live snakes?
Nelson knew he should remember something about this creature. He did not.
Across the field, he saw another head covered in live snakes.
“Live snakes?” he repeated to no one at all.
He turned to survey the field.
Everyone was. . .
“Dead?” Nelson wasn’t sure why he needed to hear his own voice. He only knew that somehow the sound of his own voice was comforting. “Stone.”
The human beings across this field had been turned to stone. Just then, the fires crackled and a fog of smoke obscured his view again.
“You saved them?” a sour woman’s voice came from behind him. “Did you rape them too?”
“Not my type,” Nelson said.
Something deep inside him forced him not to turn to the voice.
He heard the. . . Was it a woman? . . . Creature. It sounded more like some kind of mythological creature than a human or an animal. This was something from history before myth became fairy tale.
His heart ached for his friend and his beloved’s wife. The word hung on his lips like a prayer.
“Yeesss,” the creature said. “She said that you belonged to her.”
The creature was so close to him that it could easily touch him. For the first time in years of numbness, Nelson was terrified. He stood absolutely still.
“Tell me now, and I will spare your life,” the creature standing behind him said.
The creature moved closer and sniffed at him. Nelson shook with fear.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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