7: The First Friend

The man watched her back as she walked. Then he hurried after her, jumping from body to body until his foot sank into one of them as it let out a deep sigh. He fell and caught himself with his hands. The shards cut his palms that filled and overflowed with blood. It dripped onto the ground. Beneath the stream of blood, between the muscles of his hands, white bones and tendons lay exposed. He got up and clenched his fists in an attempt to stop the bleeding. It didn’t work. Instead, he pushed them against each other, which decreased the bleeding a little. Further away he saw the back of the woman as she continued walking toward the horizon. He turned around and looked at the body he had stepped on. It breathed.

Are you alive? He asked but got no answer. He crouched down and put his hand on its back. The blood started trickling again, and he pushed together his palms. He rose and touched the body with his foot. When it didn’t respond, he kicked. It whimpered.

Are you alive? He repeated.

Yes, The Devourer answered.

The man looked toward the Woman in White and saw that she was disappearing behind the horizon. Get up! He yelled. Get up if you can, or I’ll leave you here. The Devourer coughed and began to move. First, he rolled onto the side and revealed a bearded face covered in cuts and some smaller shards stuck to the skin. Then he struggled onto his hands and knees, where he paused.

Hurry, The man said looking at the woman again. Else I’ll leave you, I said.

Yes. Yes.

The man took hold of the Devourer’s arm and helped him to his feet. He led him in the direction of the woman. When the Devourer stumbled and fell over a body, the man helped him up and lifted him onto his shoulders. He started walking toward the woman again. The bones of the dead under his feet cracked with every difficult step, and the clouds from his breath grew larger and more numerous. He alternated his gaze between the back of the woman, and the ground in front of him as the white dot on the horizon became smaller and smaller.

Fuck! He yelled and stopped. He put the Devourer on the ground and said, I’m sorry, I’ll be back. Stay awake so that you can answer when I call for you, okay?

He ran for a while. Then he stopped, turned around and walked back in the direction of the abandoned man. Hello! He called going from body to body. Hello! I’m back to get you.

Here, Answered a weak voice.

Where?

Over here.

He looked around. The sun was still visible in the sky despite it being hours since he woke. It had only circled him a little bit above the horizon without ever disappearing behind it. He saw a movement and went there. The Devourer struggled up on all fours, and the man helped him to his feet again. He looked at the Devourer’s bloody face and swept away some of the shards with his hand. Then he picked away at those that were stuck, one after another.

Try staying on your feet as you lean against me. I’m Chyron, by the way, He said. I’ll help you as much as I can.

Why do you want to go there? The Devourer asked and coughed.

I saw someone further down in the crater.

Is it the Woman in White?

Yes. Have you met her?

Yes, everyone does before they die.

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