Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 20

Wither the land. When higher thoughts came, they often fell upon that familiar phrase. It was bitter to an extreme and it was said by broken men who were in danger of giving up. In this new, dying world, those men were common. Wither the land, we’re all damned. It was an unpleasant thought but it was familiar and it rang true for me. Sounds joined the smell. Distant sounds. Hushed sounds. Movement. Voices. Human voices. Whispers in the wind. I heard them. I knew there was prey, prey at the end of the search. I could not tell what the voices said or if they even spoke words at all. I could only hear their sound. With dread, I recognized the pitch of youth. It was passing but not yet fully gone in those voices. Two of them. The hunt. It was all I knew. Most of the hunt was the search. But there was more. The more came at the end. One male and one female, young and foolish. And it was bloody. So much blood. Delicious blood. Humans. True humans. A pair. The humans drew closer. The smell of sweat. Sweat and more. Hormones. I In the unpleasant time following the search , I always drooled. knew I was truly lost to the beast I had become. I’d return to my senses hours later, with the grisly eviThe young couple in love approached. No doubt they dence of my deeds all around me, the taste of them in were sneaking away for some time alone. A little time my mouth. away from the judging eyes of their parents and the The wind was blowing. The wind came from the north other elders, no doubt. So lost in their own business, where there were humans. Fish-fed humans who were they had abandoned all caution. running out of fish. Gardens can’t replace fish. The voices drew closer. Smells came closer. Delicious smells. More drool. I crept low. Silent. I moved toward They knew the end drew near, just as they knew I the humans. The humans moved toward me. I could roamed the dead forest south of their village. A smell in the wind made me drool. I licked my teeth. see a light carried by one. Could see my prey. Sharp teeth. They had not always been that way. Had They were indeed young. Far younger than the years I they? had known before the withering world changed me. In my more lucid moments, I remembered. RememThe prey was so near. It had not seen me. I stood tall. I bered the world as it had once been, green and alive. lunged. The prey heard me. Then saw me. The humans Now all was shades of brown, grey, and black. Now screamed. My prey tried to flee. It did not matter. all was dying or already dead. I was barely twenty years old when the world began to change. First the land withered, then came the horrible changes to men. I believe it was then the humanity which had still remained a part of me must have left forever. Maybe Yes, I remembered the reflection of a face without an sanity left me as well. Can the mad truly know their elongated snout. own madness? PAGE 20