He rolls over, and cracks a smile so wide it hurts. He breaks out laughing and rolls about in the snow, filled with joy. When he finally gains control of himself he looks around and soon finds another droplet, then another, each a bit bigger than the last. He has found the trail
“Herrick, I’m coming. Do you hear? It will end here!” He laughs aloud and continues to track his prey. As he follows the blood, he looks down at his own arm and the gash in his thick parka. He stops to sift through the fluff and cloth to get to the cloth wrap he has around the wound. The cut on his arm has stopped bleeding. It wasn’t a fatal wound, but deep enough that it would still need to be cleaned and stitched. It burns slightly in the cold, so he wraps it again, and covers it over once more with the torn parka.
He begins to follow the drops of blood through the forest once more. He yawns as he goes. It has been a long morning. He has been chasing Herrick for what feels like days, but the sun is still high in the sky, so it couldn’t have been more than a few hours. He wishes it were days, for then his exhaustion would be explainable. He shouldn’t be this tired, but he chalks it up to the cold. He is unfamiliar with it and it must take more of a toll on his body than he expected.
He finds new strength when he thinks that his dream will finally be fulfilled. He will finally take Herrick’s life. The very thought makes his body quiver with anticipation. Herrick has lived much longer than planned already. Corinth had tried to kill his old friend on other occasions, each time getting very, very close, but always failing. He looks back fondly on his first attempt, and finds his lack of finesse amusing.
He was too bold, too rash. He simply walked up to Herrick’s door and knocked, dagger in hand. The door opened to a smiling Herrick. Before he could even say hello Corinth lunged at him but he tripped on the doorframe, and only managed to lacerate his own shoulder as he fell on his friend . They struggled for a moment before Herrick gained the upper hand and threw Corinth out the door. He had ripped the dagger from Corinth’s hand and stepped out the door with it, poised to defend himself. He remembers being so afraid of dying their in the dirt.
Corinth laughs now as he thinks of what happened next. A passerby heard the commotion and called for the town guards, who arrived just in time to see Herrick standing over him with the dagger, and they assumedhehad tried to kill Corinth. Poor Herrick. He was arrested and spent the next year in a cell for attempted murder, which was satisfying, but not enough for Corinth.
Herrick had taken what was most dear to him, and a meager year of his life was not nearly enough to satisfy Corinth’s thirst for vengeance. His next attempt would be on the day Herrick was released from prison, and was a bit better planned, but still showed a lack of skill and inexperience of a novice. He broke into Herrick’s house early in the morning and waited for him to return home for the first time since he was put in prison. He waited in the dark for hours, the anticipation build in him like a rising tide.
Then, finally, late in the night, the door opened. In walked Herrick, weary from his journey. Corinth wasted no time and ambushed him before he could even close the door, much as he had a year prior, this time with success. The knife plunged deep into his heart, and he fell backwards with a painful groan as the last bit of blood pumped through his dying body. He had fallen back through the doorway, and moonlight fell on the dead mans face. Corinth’s delight faded as quickly as it came.