I lead a caravan through the parched desert. A steam of people carrying their belongings followed me across the dunes. Men, women, children, all huddled together in a line, fearing another attack by one of the local tribes. They had already attacked us several times. They were fierce, muscled warriors with pale, albino skin that braved the wastes in nothing but loincloths. We soon spotted a group of them heading towards us on the rise of a nearby dune.
I raised my hands to bring my mini-gun to bear. That would slow them down. I fired, but the tribe kept coming towards us at a slow, steady pace. I looked down to realize I wasn’t firing a gun at them. I was just pointing my finger. In fact, I didn’t even have a gun. “I’ll stop them,” I said. “I have Fists of Steel.”
To my surprise, the tribe did not attack us, but veered off to the side to pass. They eyed us warily but kept their spears and swords lowered. One particularly large warrior walked passed me and I bumped him in the shoulder. He growled and raised his sword, but did not attack. I looked back to see their group passing our caravan. I realized they must be circling around the back to attack us from the rear!
I turned and charged back towards the retreating warrior, tackling him around the waist and bringing him to the ground with a thud. He did not fight back. I turned him over and straddled his chest, pinning him down. “Why aren’t you attacking?!” His grim face simply stared back at me with contempt. “Tell me!” I screamed. I gripped his throat in my hands and began to squeeze. He only sneered. Tighter and tighter I squeezed, until I could feel his tendons straining to keep my hands from crushing the life out of him. Finally, with a slight grimace, he managed to whisper, “The Blood Snow.”
I immediately released him and got up. Of course, the Blood Snow! They were seeking shelter from it. Anybody caught exposed in the freezing storm would surely perish. We had to find some place to take cover. I stopped the caravan at the top of the next dune. Down the other side the dune ended along the shores of a small lake bordered by tall palm trees. A direlect houseboat lay crashed at an odd angle on the shore.
I decided our best bet to stay warm would be to dig a cave in the side of a dune. We could line the roof with brush, cover the brush with a nearby blue tarp, and then cover that with sand. That would provide plenty of insulation against the Blood Snow. As I sat beneath a wind beaten tree on top of the dune, working out the details, Kevin returned from a visit to the old houseboat.
“We can use this guy’s body heat to help us,” he said. Trailing behind him was a monkey the size of a man. He had a broad black-furred face fringed with white and golden hair and leaned on a staff as he walked. He wore two mismatched black boots, with the boot on the right foot rotated around backwards. He extended his hand toward me.
“Theodore Winchester. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir.”
I shook his hand. “Earl.”
His eyes lit up. “Ah, Earl, as in the the English title and 16th King of the Britons?”
“Yeah, sure I guess,” I replied.
“You know you were murdered back then, don’t you?”
My shoulders slumped a little. “Well that wasn’t in the brochure.”