A brief interlude.

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A brief interlude.

It comes at the end of a long night, just when I've bedded down-I spotted the Dogman briefly in passing, eyes glowing in the monochrome green of my nivigs. (I knew what the 'name' stood for, but among the sprawl scum certain names had come into parlance and had crept, among barter at the Junk Market and the grudging wait for the Last Chance, into mine.) It's on me swiftly, despite my traps, and I lunge back, briefly, loosing a cluster of arrows into its chest. It roars, and swipes at me, and in its attack I am knocked back and rent brutally. I focus, and loose another arrow, and another. It chokes, and collapses on one, as soon as I am outside its reach-and after a moment to be sure, I drop my bow and beat it to death with my fists.

Job done, murder done, I sigh to myself and shuck off my clothing-the skin of one of its fellows, a meme pried from a cooling corpse, and a simple black shirt purchased for a reasonable sum. Whiskey of appalling cheapness does a more appropriate job-daubed stingingly onto brutal gashes before I tie well-washed rags into place. With that done, I rub sleep from my eyes and stoke a fire-I'm not done yet.

A multitool gums with hot blood as I scowl and slice the bleeding carcass into meat and shelter, a fresh coat left to dry on the opposite side of the fire. Four fires, to be precise-lit into bigger kin, then snuffed for their ash, as I turn meat into primitive jerky. A bounty this great is worth a princely sum at the Junk Market, if-I think, as I consider my flight-I can make it back in time. With the great hunks of meat rendered dry and transportable, I yawn, and sear the rest into barbecue, devoured hot before I stack the flesh in my sled.

There's a long, long way between me and the Junk Market. I'd best get going.

The day passes quickly-I strain and stride and pull my burden behind me, bitterly aware of the rapidly putrescing flesh behind me. I curse humidity, and the lack of clean white butcher's paper, striding past a dog that would have provided half the same bounty, and breathing easily once it gives up the chase. It is night when I see the Glow, and pre-dawn when I force a bottle of Corn-a-Cola down my throat. That gets me through the woods and over the hills into morning again as I drag my bounty into the market-glad, that even not at its full price, I am near a thousand dollars richer between my old coat and a bounty of meat. Stretching, yawning, I stride for the Parkade-I've earned a night of luxury.

I prepared Explosive Runes this morning!