The Fallowing – The Third, Part VI

by Steppen Sawicki

It is so difficult to make sure Faye doesn’t speak in these scenes.  Because she’s Faye.

Novel: Occult Adventure

I managed to shoot my pistol once, though not at it.  I had no time.  He placed a hand on my chest even as he spoke.

I couldn’t hold on to my gun any longer; both it and my torch slipped from my grasp like the thing before me had plunged a knife into my heart.  I lost all strength.  I looked into those shadows where eyes should be and though I should have felt some anger and anticipation of the fight, possibly the kill, I felt only terror and fear of what this man could do.  I collapsed into the snow in a heap.

Now I’m still not sure whether Cain felt what he took from his victims, but I like to think he did, that he felt all that bravery leaking from me and got enough of a rush from it to just stand there and wait for Sam to come running.

I didn’t hear him come running.  I was busy crawling backwards away from this sudden source of fear.

“Get away from her,” I heard from behind me.  There was Sam, sounding very heroic.

“Last chance, Sam.  It’d be easier on you too.”  Cain circled around me, and I tried to stand but fell down again.  “Much easier.”

He drew a sword from under his coat.  It was light and curved and much larger than the knife Sam held.

I looked over my shoulder at Sam, and thought for just a moment in the light of my forgotten torch I could see fear in his eyes like I was feeling.  Then his eyes flicked to mine, and he steadied himself, holding the knife like he was going to fence with it.

Cain laughed.  “Sam, you never had to learn how to swordfight, never mind fight a sword with a knife.  I’m going to pulverize you.”  He shook his head.  “Just take my offer, for old times’ sake.”

“Fuck off,” Sam said, though his voice shook as he said it.

“Famous last words,” Cain said, and lightly swung the sword.

There was the shot of a rifle, and Cain fell back onto the ground as I yelped in surprise.  Sam and I both looked back at the source of the sound – the house – but it was too dark to see anything.

Sam leapt on Cain and they became one big black and gray blur in the dark, snarling and grunting and punching.  I was still sitting immobile and terrified in the snow.  I would have gotten to my feet to run but the silly thing is I was scared I would get shot by another round from the rifle.

I couldn’t see a thing of the fight.  I only saw Sam jump back out of it holding both knife and sword, and Cain running back into the trees.  Another rifle blast sounded, this one closer behind me.  Cain rolled as if hit but slipped into the woods.

Someone picked up my torch from where it had fallen and shined it on Sam.  He was bleeding badly from his right leg and breathing hard, shaking as if he were feeling what I was feeling.  He cursed, dropped the sword, and reached under his coat as if wounded there too.  He glanced back at the trees, actually taking a step towards them as if he would give chase.

“You should be in the house, Cassandra,” he said.

Cassandra still had her rifle trained on the treeline.  She said nothing.

“Can you walk?” Sam said.  After a moment I realized he was speaking to me.

I nodded, pulling myself up.  But I was a bit shaky and I stumbled a few steps.

“You’ll have to lean against me,” he said.  But with his leg I ended up carrying more of him than he of me to the house, Cassandra covering our back.

She led us inside, and though the family made an initial rejection of our being there they let up when they saw Sam’s leg.  Rick dressed it in silence, only the crackling of the fire filling the air.  The cut was a slash to the outer thigh, long but not deep.

“He didn’t have much strength,” Sam explained.  “Couldn’t quite hold up the sword.  Cassandra’s a good shot.”

The sword was leaning against the wall by the fireplace like an elaborate fire poker.  It had the marks of a used weapon, dents and chips in it, but it had been polished until it shone.

“Then why didn’t you kill him?” asked Kelly.

“He tried,” Cassandra said.  “Look at his leg.”

“I didn’t ask whether he tried.”

Sam grit his teeth as if biting back some retort.  Probably because he had none.  He had failed at his best chance and now he and I were both wounded, he physically and I mentally.

All was silence as Rick finished wrapping the wound.