2: The Obsidian Fields

After three days he woke from the rats eating his eyes and the insects crawling through his nose and throat into his lungs. He coughed them up and grabbed a rat as it fled. Blood ran down his chin and forearms as he bit into it. Its tiny bones crunched between his teeth as he chewed, and soon it stopped squealing. He ate in blindness. A black and moldy mass grew in the orbits where his eyes once were. His perverse instigators of life, giving back to him the gift of sight. They regenerated him from inside and out. Keeping him alive and refusing to let him die, they denied him all that he longed for and dreamt about. All that he wanted.

Crawling over the mossy ground, he collected twigs and sticks. He arranged them into a bundle with the thinnest in the middle and the thicker around. Then he sniffed his way back to the rotting carcass of the beastman that had gnawed his arm. There he pulled the knife out off its bloated body. He went back to the bundle of sticks and rained sparks over them by scratching the blade with a firestone. When it began to smoke he blew at it until it caught fire. He kindled the flames and waited for his eyes.

No blood surfaced when he cut into the beastman’s hide. Only maggots wriggled out and into its pelt. Under a thin layer of yellow fat, clots of coagulated blood lay marbled between the muscles and their vessels. He sliced and shaved them off into small pieces that he hung on the hooks still dangling around the site. First one beastman. Then two and then three he cut up and hung and dried into a morsel of food for his journeys. From the hide and sinews of the last beastman, he sewed a bag large enough to hold all the meat. Then he waited until it was done.

One day after countless others, a star fell from the heavens and left a burning trail in the sky lasting for hours. The Devourer left the forests and wandered inland toward where it fell. For moons he walked as the lands changed from misty forests into tundra and ice. There the cold turned his nose and ears and fingers and toes black. When they were lost, he ripped them off and consumed them. Not letting anything go to waste. Soon the creaking of the soft white snow under his feet turned into the crunching of sharp black glass. A desolate landscape where no animal nor plant could live stretched from horizon to horizon. Drenched in half-light by a sun never disappearing. Followed by the pale moon, It circled the edge of the frozen world but never dipped behind it.

The moon came and went thrice. Then a rumble vibrated through the air. He turned around and saw the darkness rising behind him. He ran, but the dust and shadows soon caught up. A rushing wall of howling winds charged him, carrying with it shards of obsidian. The first stray bit of glass cut his arm. The next, larger piece, made a deep cut in his scalp. Blood ran down his face and dripped onto his chest as more shards came toward him. Cutting into his flesh and bone as he limb by limb flew away from himself. The storm of shards separated him into a billion pieces scattered over the Obsidian Fields.

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