And then he StoppedMature

Jeffery stood. He said nothing. He stood with calculation, and without much thought. He did these things as a reflex. Always as a reflex. When he leaned over the bar to check on the man who was serving him, it was reflexive. When he offered a hand to help this man up, the man took it. His eyes were bulging. His teeth clenched in a way that ground them against one another. He asked, "Why are you always so damn calm, Stillwater?"

 He asked this every time there was a catastrophe. 

"You'd think a man would get used to it," the bartender said. "You'd think after years and years and years you'd get used to it. I'm old enough, aren't I? Stillwater, say something."

The bartender was an old man. He wore his age in his face. He was fast with the drinks. He had always been that fast. But he wore it in his face. Jefferey pulled him over the bar.

"You think I'm used to it, old man. I'm just realistic."

There was growling outside the saloon. People were dying. Many people were dying. Things were happening fast. These were terrible things. Jeffery did not think about them. A paned window fractured and tore outward, taking portions of walling. An ugly thing peeked inside. It was a thing whose eyes were hard to follow. One never knew if it were looking at them. They were reminded of buffalo when they saw it. They were reminded of skulls, and of a general death. 

Jeffery pushed a hand into the bartender's chest. He was not delicate. The old man fell into a chair and rolled a few times across the floor. He was not dead. Jeffery believed he was not dead. Their intruder was across the barroom floor in an instant. The thing that had no eyes, which reminded people of skulls, brought its massive frame upon Jefferey. He did not think. He tripped into the bar and let himself tumble onto it. He pulled with his elbows across it and he kicked his legs into the thing. 

The creature was excited. It smelled him and felt him pushing away against its head. The head was larger than Jeffery. Against its smooth, gray surface he pounded, and the creature was pushing toward him, growling. Jeffery always thought they were laughing. He began to think. 

"Oh, God! Oh, God! They're hideous! Why do they have to be so hideous?!" He became panicked. The ceiling rushed away and things were black for a moment. He felt static flirting with his skin. It was tantalizing. A euphoria set in. In the darkness, he heard a voice calling out to him. It told him to stand. It told him he had to slash with everything he had, even if he knew he would not win. He had to do this because that was the way things were. And Stillwater was then very happy. 

Before he opened his eyes to see the buffalo looming above, he found the hilt of his broadsword. His fingers danced around it. They were shaking. They were certain as he gripped the leather. He laughed as the sword whipped back and forth, cutting asunder the dripping tentacles that closed around him. These members split and fell over him. They bled green puss. The creature was laughing. He was laughing. 

"There won't be any last words, gentlemen!" He was addressing the surviving patrons. He did not know if there were any. He did not care. "When it's you, you won't have any last words!" There were more tentacles than sword swings. Jeffery wondered why it did not hurt when the thing bit into him. When the flat teeth crushed his skull. He did not know how he was still thinking. And then he stopped. 

The End

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