The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. His feet, wrapped only in the same tough black cloth that his pants were made of, sank and kicked up sand in rhythm with his staggering steps.
A bullet winged past his right side and he stumbled into a semblance of a zig zag pattern as it poofed up a cloud of sand about two feet in front of him.
His eyes wheeled, searching for a mound of sand that would indicate a Hole. There was nowhere to hide in the Desert World, nothing to brandish as a weapon. Black clothing stood out like a neon target in this monochromatic landscape, zig zag pattern or no.
As the sand sapped his strength and the sun scorched his uncovered head, the man in black finally spied what he was looking for. With renewed vigor he lurched forward, eyes on the prize, and another shot rang out. He stretched his arms out and dove for the hole in the earth just as a singeing pain on his left calf twanged his nerves and forced out an involuntary yelp.
“Water! Water!” he yelled in a voice made hoarse by exertion and dehydration. Sliding into the Hole, careening faster than he had expected, he grasped at the scree and stunted roots in the tunnel walls as he flew past. Sand got inbetween his lips, rough against his tongue and excruciating on any raw patches of flesh that were unfortunate enough to be uncovered. He closed his mouth and eyes tightly and hoped that his call for water had been heard in time.
An eternal moment later coolness kissed his face as he felt the angle of his descent deepen. His free fall began and the man in black sighed with relief. He landed with a whump on damper packed sand, quickly rolling to his feet and loping crookedly away from the Hole. His entire body wanted to revolt against the continued exertion but he knew that he was finally close to having a chance at winning this particular game.
Scanning the Island World in which he now found himself, his gaze fell upon a piece of driftwood conveniently formed into a club and his cracked lips smiled for the first time in days. He hefted it in his right hand, testing the weight and grip, no longer noticing the blood that dripped from his bullet grazed leg.
“So now the game really begins.”
This weeks Master Class offering came from the BlogBirthdayBoy, Eric at Sinistral Scribblings. In honor of his blog’s anniversary, he chose the first line from Stephen King’s “The Gunslinger” and let us have at it. This story was also inspired by Hole in the Earth, by the Deftones, which is what I was listening to as I drove through a bleak and monochromatic valley this morning and *poof* – I saw the man in the black running for his life. It also appears to be brought to you by the letter ‘S’ as it seems that there are an inordinate amount of those in here…maybe I should’ve worked a Scryer in as well…