The shadow of the wailing form loomed closer.
Much like the pale vestiges of humanity I had dismembered, the silhouette indicated that this too was a shambling wreck, devoid of life, worthy of nothing but a quick, painless death by decapitation.
It all seemed too easy. Except that while the nightwalkers that I had slain, as the term would endear itself to, made themselves present from dusk till sunrise, this could be something a lot more sinister.
Arcadia’s square was replete with small passageways and spots that would allow me to avoid the impending danger that grew closer with each mind-numbing screech.
But, this is not our way. We never believed in hiding. Facing menace head on was our way, nay our destiny. I will stand my ground.
Readying my blade, bloodied and caked with the flesh and gibs of the infected, I prepared to strike whatever peril that was around the corner. This shall be my final stand.
All the courage in this mortal coil could not prepare me for what presented itself.
It was a small girl. A child. She wasn’t one of the many walking dead that the populace of our fair town had turned to. No. This was far more malicious.
Decked in royal vestments of the staff bearers, she was obviously of magic blood. Yet she moved as if a marionette in the hands of an invisible and rather inept manipulator.
As she stumbled closer the sun’s rays seemed like a distant dream. Darkness hit like an arrow to the heart. This was definitely not any witchcraft from this realm.
Lost in my thoughts, I was taken aback as this robed infant cast a spell on me. One that resulted in me writhing on the ground in abject agony. It was now clear, she was but a medium for something particularly demonic.
Grey clouds gathered forth, she hulked over my body and spoke in an otherworldy, raspy voice that was clearly not her own.
“Tell me, oh last of the sovereigns of steel, would you humour a demon traveler on his way?”
I did not have much of a choice. Gathering my strength, I tried to warrant a response. However I realised my mouth was sealed shut. More foul spellcraft at play.
“It matters not, you will play along. I have but one question. Answer correctly and I shall spare you and this insolent vessel I control. Fail to do so and you and this entire village shall bask in an eternal flame.”
My sword was nowhere close. It lay amidst the corpses that peppered the plaza. It appears that I was left with no option but to indulge this fiend.
“So answer me, brethren of the blade, when is a man truly dead?”
Here it was. My last stand. No weapon sight. The foe from another dimension. And the battlefield, existential questions.
This will not end well.