The Sun and the SouthMature

“You have lost too much blood my friend. You are the one dying, while I remain in perfect health.” Herrick laughs and once again begins to cough, but this time blood pours out of his mouth and down his face. His words come out thick and muffled through the blood that fills his mouth, and Corinth struggles to understand him.

“You are certainly not in perfect health my friend, but even if you were, you would succumb to the cold long before you made it out of this forest.”

“What are you talking about? I have only been in this forest for a few hours, no great trek.” Herrick manages to get out a small chuckle and gives him a patronizing smile.

“They say dogs have no sense of time. Apparently neither do wolves. Here in the South, for a few months of the year, the sun is out for days at a time and night never comes. Based on my own experience here, I would say you have been following me at least two days. You should see the look of horror on your face. It is almost sad. Do you need any more proof that you are nothing more than an animal? No man could be so focused and determined to kill that he would lead himself to his own death. Only a beast can lose himself in the hunt as you have.”

Now it all makes sense. The hunger, the weariness, the increasing pain of his wound. It felt like days because ithadbeen days. Corinth is afraid. He has always been a dealer of death, not a receiver. The same feeling of panic he felt earlier is back, but much, much worse. But he will not give in. He will survive. He has not come this far die at the hands of the cold. He can make it. He stands a bit taller, and gains control of himself. He tries to speak with confidence once more, but knows his voice cracks and he shakes with anxiety.

“Two days is not that far. Others have survived longer with less, and I am stronger than an average man.” He starts to shake, and he feels something worse than panic set in, something he has not felt in a long, long time:fear.

“No, you are not. You have made it this far on the thrill of the hunt. With that gone, you will not last.”

“Says the man who dies alone. I have no more time to waste listening to your ramblings. Goodbye old friend.” He crouches down once more and drives the knife into his friend’s heart. He looks into his eyes one last time, and is surprised to see happiness instead of fear or hatred. Herrick manages to utter a few parting words.

“You have punished yourself in the worst way you could imagine, and you do not even know it.”  His eyes shut and he slumps against his new grave. Corinth sheaths the dagger and begins to run back the way he came.

The End

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