At the Mountain of Madness
August 1, 2011
Dick was trying to maintain a stumbling half jog, while he clutched his broken arm to his chest. This didn’t keep him from complaining. “Why are you taking me? Every step jars my blasted arm and how can you expect me to keep running when you stabbed my leg with your axe?”
“You’re right. I should probably just kill you.”
“No, I’m cool,” he said, looking back over his shoulder. “I can make it.”
Although he had never mentioned it, I saw Dick was avoiding certain trails, which I figured were trapped. One time he took me down a wide path and stepped over a trip wire. But I had spotted it and followed suit. From the looks he flashed me, he was clearly disappointed.
Night had completely claimed the land, by this point, and I slowed the Gloom down. I had also noted that we were about to climb above the tree line. The area was moving from sparse trees to boulders fields, but would be quickly becoming a difficult near vertical climb.
“I guess I can see why they use brooms,” I said, while looking up the side of what had to be at least a fourteen thousander. “I don’t suppose there’s a trail?”
“They don’t want us up there. The Bitters come to our cabin when they need something from us.”
“So what, you’re their piss-ants. Do you hope one day to be given your own broom or something.”
I must have struck a nerve, because he leaned against the side of a boulder and sulked. I again looked up the mountain. There were ways easier than others and I could probably make the climb as long as freaks riding broomsticks didn’t attempt to knock me off.
As I gazed at the mountain, I thought I saw colors. Sharp reds and jagged black bolts began to curl into the air near the peak. “Oh, that can’t be good. I guess I’d better quit screwing around. I suppose I can only hope that they’ll be distracted enough to not see me heading toward them.”
“What about me?”
“I’m sure I can trust you not to give me away right?” I said and then broke out laughing.
“But you can’t just kill me. I was helping you.”
“And I might need some additional help, sooo…” I pushed him back into a tree as we talked. These were healthy uncorrupted pines and the tree encased the Xemmoni in a dozen strong limbs. After stuffing a rag cut from Dick’s own cloak and securing it into his mouth, I set off.
This was going to suck.