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Pa where’d metal go? Left us a long way back. But where? Used up. Or maybe at the bottom of the sea.

What’s a sea? Don’t worry bout that. You’ll never see one. *** Where did it come from? Got it from the shaman I told ya. Said it had to go to the one I found in the wastes and that hasta be you. Innit a beauty? Put it away though in yer pocket. No one kin see it less you want trouble. Trouble? Rumors a metal drive men mad. Even in a peaceful place like this. But long as you keep that hidden trouble should steer clear. He wrapped the knife up in the cloth once more and put the whole thing in his trouser pocket. It was bulkylooking but no one would be sharp enough to guess what it was unless they got close enough. Well now I guess you gotta go off t’Sweetwater? Yep. Why dear? Whys the shaman sendin ya there? Don’t really know. Said I was needed. Guess I’ll figure out when I get there. Rush of unsure power. Questioning existence on the quest. He was worried. He thinks about his life thus far and doubts whether he is the right one and wonders why he was chosen. He thinks. He dreaded what would come when he set out again. Well don’t be goin back out there with no provisions dear. Let me give ya some food and water to take with ya at least. Okay. That all ya got to say? Yer a man with little words in ya if my guess is right. Guessin you were never much for conversation. …Thanks for the help.

There it is dear. Decency in a world gone screwball. That theres all an old one like me could ask for. Off now off back to my home. He went back and laid himself back down. The old woman returned in a short while with a container of water and she goes to work packing some meat into a cleaner cloth. He stretches his body full of aches and drives away the pain by closing his heavy heavy eyes. He sleeps and he dreamed. He watched figured form out of the dark and coalesce into people without faces. They stand in a town not unlike the old woman’s town and soon are joined by others walking into the boundaries from the sands. Guided by a precept altogether foreign to him they went forward and forward all of them walking toward the well. One after the last they plunged in and right before they fell their faces emerged and each face smiled as it disappeared into the underground world. When they were all gone the world shook and the whole lot jettisoned upward like a tower built of interlocking bodies and it surged upward and upward to the sky. And they sang. They sang and they sang and they sang a song made of earth all together until they were halfway up obscured by clouds and a storm fell upon the land. Laughter rained with the water droplets from above but it was a cold chortle devoid of mirth. The laugh of a lord the laugh that came from control and the ability to mold causality until all events merged into a single morsel you were free to consume. Sandstorms are his wrath sandstorms lived to serve the god of storms and the god of the east in his fury strikes back with human chains and love no more and sing the song until silence. What are we if not ripples in the sea that no longer exists? He wakes to screaming. He looks around but the old woman is not there. He rises and looks outside into the dark night and catches his visage some feet away in the hands of a man whose mouth sneers with rage. He slaps her and screams again not in words so much as hateful sounds and syllables. Get him out here! he says. That bastard killed our man and he’ll pay for it if I have to bleed this whole place. I know yer here ya bastard come out! This woman is nothin to me but I know she gave you a bed! He stays quiet inside the hut. He knows the one that holds the woman is one who ran with the giant. He stays behind cover waiting for them to slip up but he holds firm. He smiles finally and the smile is a yellowish flash of cruel intention. He draws his knife and sticks it deep into the woman. No sound as she falls with all her blood and entrails gushing out and a look of resignation crosses her face. He stabs and stabs sending jets into the air until he is drenched.