Friday, November 18

Chapter 40:

The Adventures of Frank and Periwinkle
"The Goat"
- Part 3 -

The next morning Morton awoke to see Frank leaping off the roof and landing in the creek where he swam and played. Morton thought of teaching him a lesson, but he didn’t know how to swim and so let Frank continue - besides, Morton’s stomach still hurt.

The farmer’s wife came out with a cake of alfalfa, and some pieces of bread for them, and, like clockwork, Morton was the first one there looking around to see if Frank or Mrs. P would try and question his authority, but instead saw Mrs. P happily chewing on the handles of the push-mower. Morton raced over and told her to stop, asking why she didn’t eat the alfalfa.

"Oh," she cried happily, "you can keep the silly alfalfa, because I like chewing on this lawnmower ever so much more."

This infuriated Morton who forbid her to ever chew on the mower again, and told her that she had to eat the alfalfa the farmer’s wife brought out instead while he got to eat the lawnmower, which he then set about to eat while Mrs. P walked off to eat the alfalfa. Morton thought the lawnmower tasted terrible, and he could not seem to do more than gnaw the rubber off the handles, and the paint off the body of the thing, but he kept to it in order to make his point.

Later that afternoon when the farmer came out and threw a handful of corn to Frank, Morton raced over, but Frank was not there. Instead, Frank was nibbling at the corner of the house. Morton would not stand for it, and ordered him to stop it immediately and only eat the corn that the farmer tossed him, and Morton was the only one who could eat the corner of the house. Frank walked over and began pecking at the corn trying to look dejected while Morton settled in to nibble on the siding... which tasted far better than the mower, but it was not about taste, but about the point he was trying to make.

The next morning when Morton awoke, Mrs. P was chewing on the tractor’s tire, and Frank was trying to eat a can of paint - - both of which Morton stopped them from doing while taking over in their place. The tire popped leaving his mouth with the taste of rubber, and the paint spilled all over the porch and left a nasty aftertaste.

That afternoon Morton’s stomach hurt, and he lay in the shady spot and tried to sleep, but couldn’t because of his stomach.

"What seems to be the problem Morton?" asked Frank as he and Mrs. P walked up.

"My stomach hurts," He told them.

"Oh," said Mrs. P, "you know what helps?"


"Eating blue jeans." Said frank, smiling, "and I happen to know where some are. Would you like us to fetch them for you?" Morton nodded, and Mrs. P and Frank went over to the laundry line where they pulled from the line the farmer’s favorite trousers which were drying there. Together they drug them back to Morton who thanked them and began chewing on the jeans. He thought it was helping, so he drug himself slowly and stiffly to the clothes line where he began eating the other clothes off the line.

By the time the farmer’s wife went out to check on the drying clothes, Morton had devoured three pairs of pants, two of the farmer’s wife’s favorite dressed, one towel, six pair of socks, three pairs of bloomers, and a dish-rag.

The farmer’s wife was furious and called her husband to see the trouble. Then they noticed the side of the house had been chewed up as well; the tractor’s tire had a bite in it, the lawnmower handle was bitten through, and there was paint all over the back porch with Morton’s tracks leading away from it. They tied a rope around Morton’s neck and took him that very afternoon to the auction yard to sell him.

Frank and Mrs. P, however, lived happily ever after... until the farmer and his wife got a rather large pig... but that is another story.

Chapter 39:

The Adventures of Frank and Periwinkle
"The Goat"
- Part 2 -

The next morning, bright and early the farmer’s wife came into the yard with a quarter bail of alfalfa for Mrs. P and Morton, and some slices of bread for Frank. Mrs. P raced over, but Morton was much younger and faster, and beat her there. As the farmer’s wife went back inside her home, Morton told Frank and Mrs. P: "No one is to eat until I have finished."

Morton glared at Frank who stopped short of his bread, for fear of a greater bruising than the day before, then at Mrs. P who was happily munching away on a mouthful of alfalfa as though she didn’t have a care in the world. Morton backed up and butted Mrs. P in the side, toppling her over and knocking the breath out of her for a moment. As she lay there on her side, Frank went over to comfort her, and Morton began eating Frank’s bread.

"I..." Mrs. P began, who was more stunned than hurt, "I was hungry." Frank sat down on her shoulder and told her how much he sympathized with her, and that they would have to stick together in this, and it would all come out okay in the end, even though they couldn’t see how.
Morton finished off the last of the alfalfa and bread, then told them he was now done eating. He trotted off to his place in the shade and lay down with a severe stomach ache from eating so much... but he had to make his point. He lay with his back to the others and let out a soft groan as Frank and Mrs. P searched the trough for bits of alfalfa and crumbs of bread to nibble on, but there were none so Mrs. P headed for a large clump of grass she had been saving for just such an occasion as this, and Frank went down to the muddy banks of the creek to look for minnows and dig with his bill for worms.

Later that afternoon Morton woke to see Frank with his bill in the dirt near the banks of the creek, and it looked as though he were eating something. Morton had not given him permission to find food that way, so he marched staunchly over to Frank and said, "What is it you are eating?"

"I’m not eating anything," said Frank guiltily as he swallowed the last part of a worm.

"Yes you were, and I want to know what it was!" Yelled Morton at him.

Frank was scared, and knew he would be forbidden from eating worms in the future because of the mood Morton was in (and because that was all Morton had really done since he arrived), but he said, "I... I was eating the worms."

"I didn’t give you permission to eat those!" cried Morton. "You must stop eating them from now on."

"But," said Frank, "worms are my favorite."

Then, to make his point, Morton began eating all the worms he could find with a sinister grin on his lips. After eating seven or eight worms as well as a large number of muddy stones, his stomach began to hurt again, so he walked off to his shady spot and lay down again with a soft groan.

Frank was very excited and ran to Mrs. P to tell her the good news: "Morton ate worms and muddy rocks!"

"Good," said Mrs. P, not fully grasping the situation, "maybe if he fills up on rocks he will leave us some alfalfa tomorrow morning." Then Frank explained the story to her, and she listened intently, having him repeat certain things, and tey both decided on a plan to get rid of Morton once and for all.

Thursday, November 17

Chapter 38:

The Adventures of Frank and Periwinkle
"The Goat"
- Part 1 -

Long ago there were two friends: a duck named Frank, and a sheep named Periwinkle. Periwinkle was as white as the freshly driven snow with blue eyes (a rarity for an sheep, which earned her the name of Periwinkle), and Frank was a Wood-duck with the brightest white collar and darkest sheen of green covering his head.

Frank and Mrs. P (for that was what her friends called her) lived on a farm on the outskirts of town with the pasture’s end capped by a creek flowing gently by the farm house. They were just outside a small town called Orkney by the River, and the two were very happy in their pasture being cared for by the farmer and his wife who would bring Frank and Periwinkle bread and cakes of alfalfa, respectively, every morning for breakfast, and handfuls of corn or old flapjacks every afternoon.

One morning a truck pulled up to the farm house, and a man began talking with the farmer and his wife. They all seemed happy, and the man went to the back of his truck and brought out a medium size billy-goat with a large blue ribbon around his neck, and a rope to lead the goat.
Frank flew to the top of the fence while Mrs. P stuck her head through the wires to see the new arrival. They watched the goat with his head held high and regal; he stood like a champion. He ignored Frank and Mrs. P, but instead began following munching on a nearby rhododendron. The farmer and his wife gave a slight tug on the lead, and the goat stiffly trotted off behind them as they rounded the house to the gate on the far side.

"I don’t like it," said Frank as he flew to the ground from his perch. "I think they are keeping it. We’re going to have to compete with this... this..."

"Show goat." Mrs. P finished his thought. She bent her head towards a large clump of grass just beyond the fence. If she could just stretch her neck a bit further...

The farmer’s voice came to them from the other side of the yard, and Mrs. P drew her head back triumphantly through the fence with a large clump of elephant grass between her teeth and looked at the approaching humans and the new goat.

"Periwinkle, Frank," began the farmer’s wife, "this is your new friend Morton." Morton the goat looked disdainfully down his muzzle at Frank and Mrs. P and said: "Maa."

"Isn’t that cute," said the farmer, "he’s saying hello." The farmer and his wife both smiled and walked back into their house.

However, the farmer was mistaken, and what the goat really said was, "You two are going down."

Morton watched the retreating steps of the farmer and his wife until they had entered their home, and then closed the door. Morton turned back to face his companions and said, "I’m going to make your lives misreable unless you both do everything I tell you." He turned and trotted off to the wood-pile and ambled to the top. "I am now ruler of this pen!" He shouted. "And all are beneath me!"

"Hi," said Mrs. P, "My name is Periwinkle, and this is Frank." She then went over to a nice pile of grass and began munching away happily.

"Silence troglodytes!" screamed Morton, "I did not give you permission to speak!"

"Oh blow it out your horns," said Frank, "I am not your slave, or... or... whatever thing you called me." He flew up onto the fence where his head was higher than Morton’s to show he could not be bullied. "You don’t scare me."

Morton’s eyes narrowed, and he leapt nimbly onto the roof of the house where he could look down on the duck. He smiled, and looked down to the fence where Frank laughed at him, and flew down to the ground where he began eating some freshly tossed corn kernels that the farmer’s wife had just tossed him. Morton was furious and leapt down to the ground in two leaps and faced Frank. "I command you to stop eating that corn!" He bellowed into Frank’s ears, but Frank did not stop eating. Morton lowered his head and quickly charged, knocking Frank three yards backwards where he fell unconscious. Morton then began eating the corn himself – not because he liked corn, but because he was trying to make a point – and finished every last bit, then went over to a shady spot beneath the walnut tree, and went to sleep.

Mrs. P had by now trotted over to Frank to look after him and found him unconscious. She began calling for help as loud as she could until Morton yelled for her to stop and be quiet – which she did, because Mrs. P was not one to buck the system.

The farmer’s wife had heard the commotion and had come out. She saw Frank lying there in the grass, and called for the farmer. They were both soon at his side feeling him all over for broken bones and wondering what had happened. Frank soon woke up. The farmer and his wife were very relieved, but did not understand Frank when he tried to explain to them what had happened and to warn them about Morton. But, since they were humans, all they heard was "Quack, quack, quack."

Morton chuckled to himself and went to sleep

Chapter 37:

In Which We Read the Truth About Lying

There are three main categories of lying I can think of: lies that hurt others, lies that hurt nobody, and lies that make you money. I suppose you could add a fourth category as well, and that would be the category of "lies everybody knows are lies, so they are expected, and so not really lies at all." It is this last category i will be speaking of today. You see, there is a group of liars that we tend to take for granted because we all both expect and know their lies, and so we disregard the lies entirely: fishermen.

Every fisherman worth his salt knows that the fish they caught use to be bigger before they pulled it from the water. It has to do with laws of refraction and displacement, or something. The fisherman can see it there beneath the water fighting like a welterweight and snapping the 15lb test line they use as though it were mint-flavored dental-floss. The fisherman knows it is a beast of yesteryear left over from the Triassic period who is just too stubborn to die. When the fisherman finally musters enough strength to drag this Leviathan out of the depths, it turns out to be merely a 6 lb. perch or trout.

This is where the "fish tale" begins. In the mind of the sportsman there is no comparing the fish he just landed, and the mighty Behemoth he just fought. He therefore tells the tale as it actually happened, and omits the fact that the end result was a fish so small he had to add half a can of Spam just to make a meal of it. The fish he ate or held in his hand, he surmises, had transformed as it left the water, and so his tale of catching it, though it would seem false, is actually true. The phrase, "it must have been as long as my truck," is, therefore, not a lie, even when you show him the actual fish. Most sportsmen will merely laugh with you, but this is only because they can’t explain the scientific properties of fish that cause this transformation.

As you look at a fish out of water, you see merely a fish, but when the fish is beneath the surface, you may, in fact, see a monster. This is because a fish has the refractive property of 3.662154 marks: the exact refractive property of a sphere of Lime Jell-O. IF you don’t believe me, do this experiment. Take a globe of Jell-O (you may use any flavor for this experiment) and drop this sphere into a swimming pool (your neighbor’s pool, preferably, although a small kid’s wading pool will work in a pinch). As you see the Jell-O beneath the water, it will appear larger (unless you have used Cherry Jell-O or Jell-O pudding). When you try to drag it out of the water, it will by much harder to remove the Jell-O than when you dropped it in (this part of the experiment is optional unless your neighbor catches you doing the experiment in his pool).

You see, fish are actually much like sponges: they absorb water (most people do not know this because they do not read it in a text-book) . When a fish is in fresh water, they are much larger for all the water that is stored beneath their scales. When a fish comes out of the water, most of the water in its muscles stays in the river/lake/creek/supermarket freezer department. While still fighting the fish, you must fight against the water around the fish as well as its muscles which are stronger because they have not shrunken by coming out of the water.

So, as you can see, removing the fish from water actually causes it to shrink, which is why it is so much harder to fight against the fish until you finally pick it out of the water. That reminds me of this time I caught this sea bass that was as long as...

Saturday, November 5

Chapter 36:

Ironman pt. 2

His eyes blinked, but he could see nothing. He wondered if this was what happened when your life ran out – utter darkness. He tried to turn his head, and heard it scrape along the remains of a burnt roof joist. He moved his hands and legs and feet. He pushed against the burnt boards, now cool to the touch, and found it was not utter darkness, but only a moonless night. He sighed out steam: he still held water and a fire. He wasn’t dead.

The sound of his pushing timber and ash off of himself woke a dog nearby who began barking. Peter quickly stood and looked around himself. There was none stirring in the town. He walked as quietly as he could over the ashes of the hut, and towards the edge of the village nearest the woods. He would go there and wait for his end to come. He didn’t deserve to live, and he knew it, but was unable to drain himself or put out his own fire. He felt like a coward as he slunk into the forest – a condemned murderer.

The woods obscured all light in the sky, but he opened his burner door and let his dying embers light the way deeper and deeper away from the village. He looked and saw that he was down to his last coal. It wouldn’t be long now, he thought. He let out steam in a long sigh that culminated in a low whistle. At the sound, he saw something flash in the bushes. He looked, and saw another and another. They were small pale-green lights that went on and off at random places and in no particular order. He watched them dance through the night about him. Like... like... he had no words to describe them. One landed on his hand and lit up. It was a fly of fire, thought Peter, and he watched it walk along his hand, then leap up and dance in the night glowing on and off.
The woods around him were full of the fireflies that night, and he walked along with them, opening and closing his furnace-door as though he were one of them. They had no fear of him, nor did he wish to find out if they were flesh and bone underneath. They passed ten minutes flickering together in the night: they with their green glow, and he with his orange.

He was feeling tired, and so he sat down against the stump of a large tree whose branches seemed to fill the entire sky. Through the leaves, Peter could see stars begin to flicker like the fireflies. He stared up into the sky until his eyes closed, and he drifted off into a fitful sleep: the steady puffing of steam slowly becoming less and less as the night progressed and the stars took their course across the night sky. The sky grew lighter in the east, little by little, as the fire in his burner faded, until an orange glow lit the rim of the world: a great ball of fire rising into the day to give its warmth and glow to all: a perfect example of design and function, and his fire was gone. Softly the sun rose into the heavens, scattering all darkness and fear from the village. Babies cried as her rays struck their tired eyes. Roosters crowed out their song saying the night had ended with all its monsters and woes. Sheep began to bleat for their straw and donkeys bray for oats. Cows begged to be milked, and life had begun again in the village.

A small child nestled to her mother’s breast with one arm hanging limply at its side. Her mother rocked her gently and crooned softly into the child’s ear as it rested: it had been a long night for the child and mother as, from time to time, they thought they would lose each other. But with the help of a shepherd, the wound had been stopped from bleeding, and the child had a chance of survival it could last the night. It had lost its left arm’s use, but they had not amputated it for fear of a more serious infection. The child had been in a stupor, and had ceased crying, but her mother had not. Both clung to the hope that all was not lost, and in this glorious morning, both had triumphed.

"I see she lasted the night," the shepherd commented to the grandmother of the child as he entered the hut. "And so did the child."

"Aye," said the grandmother. "She is a fighter as were her father, God rest his soul."

"Anna is no name for such a one," said the mother with a tired voice of one half waking from a dream, and half still in the other world, "but she will be named for the one who spared her life: death himself. Shallon."

Friday, November 4

Chapter 35:

Ironman pt. 1

Long ago in the village of Ix there lived a blacksmith named George Meadweb. Everyone in the town looked up to him, because he was the greatest blacksmith who had ever lived. They used to say he could make anything out of metal.

But, although George was the greatest blacksmith, he had no friends, and was very lonely, only having anvils and hammers and a forge to keep him company, so one morning he went for a walk into the forest.

As he was on his journey he saw a man with very dark skin walking not too far away. The stranger was wearing a blue robe with a silver sash about his waist. George saw him and immediately went up to him to try and be friendly. The black man introduced himself as Jamal.

"I see you are a lonely fella," said Jamal, "but you are the best blacksmith in the world, and they say you can make anything out of metal: why not make a friend for yourself?"

"Fool," said George, "a metal man can’t speak or eat or be a friend." He kicked at the dirt. "You’re just being a fool."

"You are very angry," said Jamal.

"It is because I am always alone, "George replied. "I just need a friend."

"Then make one," said Jamal, and instantly, he vanished from sight. George stood in wonder at this, until Jamal’s voice came to him again, "make a metal man."

The next day found George in his workshop with hammer and anvil beating out an old cast-iron stove into the shape of a man’s body. He used stove-pipes for legs, and smaller ones for arms. He made joints for the shoulders, elbows, wrists; knees, ankles, and hips, and attached them all together. He made feet out of two irons, and hands out of an old rake and a pitchfork. Then he started on the head and neck: these he crafted with great care out of a bucket. He cut holes for the eyes, and made a jaw, and attached it to the body. He created two eyes out of lead, and two ears out of tin, and a nose out of an old funnel. The little metal man looked wonderful, but he did not live.

The next day George began making a steam engine to fit inside the stove-body, and gears to work the joints, and tubes to carry the steam to the head. He made a little heart that would pump the steam heated by the fires in the metal man’s stove stomach, and made steam driven parts for inside the head. The metal man was able to do things now, but still was not alive.
George placed the metal man in the corner of his home and stoked up his belly with coal and wood. He filled his boiler with water, and stood him in the corner. Out of one ear came smoke from the fire, and from the other came steam from the boiler. He looked magnificent, and was the most complicated thing the blacksmith had ever made, but he was still not alive. George went to bed, and closed his eyes, watching the metal man for any sign of movement, but he did not move, and George fell asleep.

That night, as the bell in the church struck twelve, there was a sound like ice breaking up in the spring, and, in the middle fo the room, Jamal stood wearing a red robe and a golden sash about his waist. The floor made no sound as he walked over to the metal man, but there was a sound like crackling fire all about him as he reached out his hand and touched the metal man. He began singing in a strange voice that sounded like steam hitting loose sand:

"You are metal, heart of metal
You are like the heart of stone
But before this night is over
You shall live, and I be gone."
On the instant, the metal man blinked his iron black eyes, and looked up at Jamal. The man smiled and whispered into the metal man’s ear, causing him to give a large metal smile, and then, Jamal vanished without a trace, and with only the sound of a gong left ringing in the home behind him.

The sound woke the blacksmith, who sat straight up in bed, and saw the metal man standing there in the corner where he had left him, but there was a difference. The metal man was smiling.

"Are you alive?" George asked, as he stood to his feet.

The metal man nodded, and George gave a little yell and leapt back on top of his bed. The metal man lifted his foot and took a step towards George, who was standing on top of his bed with his back against the farthest wall. The metal man took another step, and found that it wasn’t that difficult for him to walk, and soon, he was stomping across the room, scattering sparks across the floor from the fire in his belly.

"You are alive." George said incredulously. "Can you talk?"

The metal man stopped walking and looked at George. The thought had never occurred to him that he might be able to talk. The metal man opened his mouth and tried to say something, but all that came out was "toot toot" as a steam organ might sound. He tried again, and tooted three different notes. This so pleased him that he began to sing out a melody with his tooting.

"I suppose," said George, venturing down to the floor, "I ought to find you a name." And the metal man nodded. George went over to his table and pulled some charcoal and a piece of paper over. He couldn’t think of what to name the metal man, but then he thought that maybe the metal man already had a name, so he asked, "do you already have a name?" The metal man nodded again. "What is it?"

The metal man opened his mouth and tooted a few times, but then shook his head. He walked over to the man and looked at the paper. "How about this," George said, "I will write out the alphabet, and you stop me when I get to the right letters to spell your name." This suited the metal man fine, and he tooted his ascent.

George started with A, then went to B. C, D, E, F... still nothing. GHIJKLMNOP... the metal man tooted. The first letter was P. He started from the beginning for the second letter. ABCDE... E? Pe... Pepe? Pendergrass? Pentatonic? Peter? That was it, tooted the metal man. Peter.

"Okay then, Peter it is." George looked down at the short metal man there before him, and smiled. "Welcome to my home Peter." Peter smiled, then patted his stomach and looked hopefully at George. "Do you need more coal?" Peter nodded, and George lead him to the pile of coal in the corner. "Just help yourself, but don’t overstuff yourself, or the fire may go out. The water is outside in the well." He lead Peter out and showed him how to draw up water, and where to fill his pump. Peter smiled and George smiled, then they both went back inside and slept the rest of the night.

The next morning George woke up to find his metal man Peter was gone. George leapt from his bed and sprinted to put his trousers on to go find Peter before he got into trouble, but as he was pulling on his boots, Peter came in through the door with a plate of coal. He set it down before George as if offering him breakfast. George sighed, and pulled his boots off again. "I don’t eat coal," he told Peter. "I’m a human." Peter looked a bit confused, so George explained further: "you are made of metal with a stove for a belly and run on water, but I am not made of metal. I am made of... of... hair and skin and meat and bone and blood. I eat things like eggs and ham." Peter scratched the top of his head with his rake hand, and strolled back outside to wait while George washed himself up.

It was a beautiful day out, and Peter took in a load of fresh air, making the fire in his belly roar. He watched the birds flit through the trees and land lightly on branches. He wondered what they were made of. He heard a dog back, and he turned to see it walking towards him. It came up right beside him and lifted its leg, urinating all over Peter’s left leg. Peter was aghast, and kicked at the dog, sending it a good twenty-feet into the side of a tree, knocking the dog unconscious. Peter went up and picked up the dog. He began looking at what it was made of. He felt the soft hair, then tore that away to reveal the flesh beneath. Beneath that, had said George, there was meat. He tore the skin away and saw the meat below. Next came the bone. Peter was surprised to see how much red liquid this dog contained. He wondered what it was, then he remembered his own water hold, and guessed it was rusty water from the dog’s internal tank. He thought he would refill the dog, and took him to the well and drew up a bucket, pouring the contents into the dog’s open wound.

George walked out of the house to see Peter standing over the dead dog with a second bucket of water, washing the blood off his legs and arms and feet. George looked at Peter’s blood covered claws and went back into the house and locked the door.

Peter was worried because the dog was getting cold, so he took a burning coal out of his own stomach and placed it in the dog’s mouth. There was a horrid scent and a sizzling sound that accompanied it. Peter thought he should get George’s help, so he went to the door of the cottage, but it was locked. Peter banged on the door and tooted, but George wasn’t letting him in. Peter went to the window and looked in: George was not there. He had gone out the other door. So Peter began tooting a tune he made up, and walked around the cottage to the main road.

There was an entire village there with people walking along the streets, and horses pulling cartloads of hay and vegetables to the market. It smelled of harvest, and Peter took a good look around for George, but did not see him. Since he did not know anything about the town, he began to explore.

The nearest hut was a bath house where people were soaking in tubs of water. They all had pink skin, and, below that, said Peter to himself, muscle and bone; and they don’t eat coal. He walked into the next hut followed by the sounds of screaming women in the bath-house. This hut was like George’s, but there was a small square thing in the corner that was slowly rocking back and forth. Peter walked over and looked in. There was a small thing in there sleeping. Peter picked it up. It looked like a small person. He looked at it closer and saw that it was flesh like George was with hair on the top. But it didn’t look like any of the people he had seen before that day. Peter supposed the only way to find out was to see if there was meat beneath the flesh, and bone beneath that.

A woman entered the hut and screamed. Peter turned, still holding the screaming child in his hands. The child had a large gash in its arm clear to the bone, and blood was everywhere. Peter set the child back in its bed and walked towards the woman. The woman screamed and started to back away putting up her arm to protect her face, then rushed past Peter to her baby, grabbing the screaming child and running out of the hut as fast as she could with Peter watching curiously.

He walked out of the hut and tooted to the woman waving his pitchfork hand. The villagers were beginning to congregate around him carrying torches and pitchforks and rocks. Peter was unsure of what they were up to, but, since they carried fire, he guessed they must want to befriend him – bringing him something to burn in his fires. Then the first rock was thrown. Others began throwing stones at him, hitting against his iron sides and bouncing away. Peter put up his hands to stop them, but the rocks kept coming. He backed into the hut as the villagers pushed at him with the pitchforks and torches. They closed the door after him and lit the walls of the small hut. The entire house was soon engulfed in flames, and pieces of the roof began to fall on him. He lifted his arm to protect himself, and remembered this as the action of the woman. She had been trying to protect herself. From what? he wondered.

Then something clicked, and he realized that she was trying to protect herself and her child from him. He looked at his hands and saw them covered in the red liquid. This was blood. This was what kept them alive. He had taken it out of the dog, then out of the child. Their life was on his hands. A large beam fell from the ceiling and crashed across his legs, pinning him to the floor. He began to lift it, then stopped and let it lay there as the rest of the building burned and fell in about him. They were trying to kill him now for what he had done. He would just lay still and let himself run dry. It was right that he too should die. He closed his eyes and tried to think about the beauty of the morning and the birds singing as the building colapsed on him engulfed in flames.