A Friend Once Told Me . . .
By Daniel Ellis

I pulled the trigger and shot him in the leg. Ok, so I'm not the greatest shot in the world. It didn't feel right. I knew I was much better with the sword. I drew it, knowing what it meant to be a knight, fighting against evil. It was just like all the stories, just like the movies and TV shows, just like everything I had been promised when I was young. Ok, maybe that's a little melodramatic, but when you stand there as if written to do so by some unseen screenwriter, you feel it. You really do.

Fletcher fell to the ground as the bullet exploded in his thigh. He was screaming something incomprehensible-as far as I can remember it anyway. As he fell I saw an iron spike fall from his robe, just like the one in Bruce. Before he could look up, I rushed him.

I don't think it was from greed or malice or hatred. I don't think it was logical. It was just instinct, feeling the bear inside as the interloper tried to kill us all. My vision, as crisp as it was, felt like it was blurring without doing so. It was a focused tunnel vision, set up by the cameraman for the best angle. The roar that accompanied my rushing bellowed out my incensed fury at this little . . . stupid . . . loser!

He blocked my initial blow with the spear but sacrificed it in doing so. I dropped the pistol and grabbed at his throat with my left hand. My right arm arched the sword for another attempt. I could feel blood on me, although I wasn't sure exactly where.

Then his head was gone. It caught me a bit by surprised. First it was there, then it was gone. His blood, colored unnaturally, spewed forth. Bubbly fountains of electric fluid showered over me. It was over. Just like that. The thumping stopped and the slumping forms slapped themselves to the ground, flopping like fish. I looked down at the body. I was intrigued how it had stopped being Fletcher and was now just a collection of bones and muscle, water bound together in a sloppy package.

"Will you get me the fuck out of here!" I heard Bruce scream. My mind realized my surroundings and its blatant normalcy, except for my friend's bleeding shoulder. I ran back to the truck. He had unstrapped himself from the truck, but the iron spike was still in his shoulder and still in his windshield.

"I don't know how?" I confessed. I knew enough not to be stupid, like rip the spear from his shoulder, but not enough to be helpful.

He sighed, relaxing in that moment. I think he even started to laugh but I wasn't sure. "Have they stopped moving?" he finally asked. "All of them?"

"I think so." I said looking at the streets paved in flesh, not unlike brown snow on cold December evenings. "When Fletcher went down, they followed. I guess they needed someone to keep focus."

"Fletcher did this?" Bruce was laughing now. "That yutz? How did he get the power to do this?"

"He has been bargaining for souls for years." I said, half interested. "He also had some book with him."

"Book?" His face winced with pain as he jolted up, tearing open his arm wound a bit more. I yanked off my flannel over shirt and pressed it against his shoulder to stop the bleeding. "What book?"

"Big one," I said holding him down. "Some Lovecraftian thing. Brown with gold clasps. Looks kind of old."

"The son of a bitch got his hands on that?"

"I take it you know about it?"

Bruce nodded then leaned his head back against the cab. "Where the heck could he get the Magus Ultimatum?"

"Ebay, I guess." I smiled.

"You have got to get out of here." He spoke authoritatively, like he was barking orders, but he usually used that tone of voice. "Take the book and get out of town. Call 911 at the phone booth on the corner and tell them I'm here, then get that book and get to San Fran. I'll be ok."

Somehow I believed him. I knew it was all going to be ok. Nothing I could understand but there it was. "You will find me, right?" He nodded.

"I hope the dream is worth it, Magus."

I ignored his last comment as I rushed for the book, tossing the body off it, and cradling it in my arms. I ran to my car, opening the door with fever and tossing the book on a pile of clothes and towels. As I looked back, Bruce saluted. I did my best to return the honor. Then with that, I was gone. Never to return to Denton.

* * *

It's been a while since I hit the road to San Francisco. A job did appear, as a screenwriter. Not exactly what I was looking for but I love it. It was enough to pay the bills and every so often I saw my name in lights. I worked with great people and I am happy in my office.

I still have the book. That's what that other interruption was about. Every so often, some dark sorcerer or punk thinks he has the power and gall to try to rip the book away from me. But that was my job. I was caretaker of the book. I had to keep it safe for those who would unleash it.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Not a bad story, but why didn't he have more tits, or more horror, or whatever? Well, you can think to yourself that this guy may or may not be a good writer with a great imagination who has managed to get his stuff published on some website. Or you can look around you, and believe the map that has Denton, Texas, with IOOF cemetery on Carroll Blvd. You can find the pagoda run by a man named Ra and find the remains of a kid named Fletcher who would offer you something for your soul. With all these facts in hand you can drive t o that town and get lost in the dead that still perfume the streets with their presence. I certainly cannot tell you what to believe in.


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