Death Comes Again By: Adam Janus


Death Comes Again
By: Adam Janus

The warrior stood on a flowered field, the setting sun reflected off millions of bright yellow and blue blossoms as a light breeze caused the high grass to sway rhythmically.

The breeze which blew down off white capped mountains in the distance was cool and refreshing and carried with it the smell of snow and honeysuckle, pine and heather. But too, there was an underlying smell; rotten, like the breath of a carrion eater. The warrior tilted his head back to breath deep, his long red hair flowing out from under an iron, fur lined helm.

“Yes, he is there,” the warrior said to himself and sighed. He stroked his drooping mustache before idly checking the straps on his bronze forearm bracers. Calmly the warrior surveyed the laces of his baked leather breast plate and tightened the silver wolf's head belt buckle wrapped around his waist, which held up his checkered blue and green kilt.

With a shrug of his broad powerful shoulders, the warrior shed his wool tartan, letting the blue and green plaid garment fall to the grass behind him. The tunic he wore under his breast plate was of the purest white linen and the sleeves, which extended down to just above his elbows flapped in the breeze.

Neatly arranged before the warrior in the waving grass lay a heat hardened wooden buckler; enameled blue, with the same silver wolf's head insignia of his belt buckle. Beneath the round shield was a scabbard of leather-wrapped wood. The hilt that extended from the scabbard was simple, but finely carved, wrapped with bronze wire. Above the hilt, the cross piece was etched with intertwining mistletoe. To balance the weight, the pommel was large and in the shape of a snarling wolf's head, while two small red jewels made the wolf's eyes glow crimson.

The warrior bent to one knee and tightened the laces of his bull hide boots before picking up the buckler to slide his left arm through the straps and grip the handle riveted in the center. He then grasped the hilt of his sword and rising, the warrior swung the scabbard from the blade, revealing five feet of shining steel. To test the weight of his sword, the warrior swung the weapon in great glittering arcs; it whistled lyrically as it cut through the air, and the setting sun reflected along its length gave the illusion that fire followed in its blurry wake.

He banged the sword against his shield and called out to the distant forest at the base of the snow capped mountains. “Come! I am ready!” His strong, baritone voice rang out over the sea of grass, echoing as it broke the peaceful silence.

At first, there was no reaction, but then the breeze picked up, carrying the scent of putrefied corpses. Black storm clouds formed above the mountains and blotted out the sun, their shadows roiling across the grassy field. From the boughs of the distant forest a flock of crows took flight, and a dark mist rose from the forest floor. From this mist burst a black horse and rider.

Eyes fiery red, hooves thundering, the black horse carried its rider over the flowery fields at impossible speed, thundering directly toward the defiant warrior with the glittering sword. Beneath the horse’s hooves the earth died; the grass withered and turned sickly yellow and brown, the flowers wilted and decayed.

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About the Author

Adam lives in the Pocono Mountains of northeast P.A., with his wife and three kids. He has been writing for several years, but only recently began to submit his work for publication. His work has appeared in a number of small press and semipro venues, and he has been a staff writer for "The Silven Trumpeter" gaming magazine for almost three years. When not writing, Adam can frequently be found carving walking sticks, reading, watching Yankee baseball...or changing diapers.

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