Friday, November 1, 2013


My opponent bellowed in rage more than pain.  He shook me off his back and tried to turn to face me, but he toppled clumsily.  Apparently he was still a little dizzy from the teleportation.  So I pounced on him, dodging a wild slice of his arm blade, and shoved my dagger through his forehead.  I felt a sickening vibration in my hand as the blade pierced his skull.  He screamed this time, a higher and less manly sound than he’d made the first time I stabbed him.

He became sluggish, but he was still trying to fight me off.  I used my now superior strength and speed to pin him down while I stabbed him repeatedly in every possible location on his torso.  He groaned, whined and shouted as I desperately probed for the location of his heart.  Finally, after probably fifty jabs, I decided to dispense with the subtlety.

“Where’s your fucking heart?!” I screamed at him hoarsely.

He spat blood before answering, and I got the distinct impression that he’d been aiming to get it in my eyes.  “You hit it on the first try,” he wheezed.  “And the fourteenth.  And the thirty-eighth.”

“Then why aren’t you dead?” I asked him.  I was practically sobbing.  I was exhausted.  The initial fight had been stressful because, thanks to Niven, I knew full well that these monsters were actually capable of killing me.  But after I’d gained the upper hand I’d used every muscle in my amped up body and all the energy I had to find his heart.  All that, combined with the high stakes and the possibility that I was experiencing a crushing failure meant that I was on the brink of passing out and having a nervous breakdown simultaneously.

The beast chuckled raggedly.  “What makes you think I can die?” he taunted. 

I didn’t know if he was telling the truth either by his claim that I’d scored a hit on his heart or by his implication that he was invincible.  But if either one were true, Tithenai had some explaining to do.  If she had a reasonable solution, however, I needed this particular soldier of Halkkor’s army not to find his way back to his boss and inform him that I was in search of a way to kill him.

So I grabbed as many heavy chunks of shale as I could, stuffed his perforated torso with them, and tossed him into the lake of fire.  I figured that would buy me some time. 

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