Snakes and Pills

103 - forget

Thwack! With a thud and a crunch, she felt the body of the scorpion liquefy under her boot. Just to be sure, Lucy rotated the ball of her foot a few more times, ensuring that all that was once solid was now nothing more than a gooey paste. She lifted her boot up, and confirmed the results: what was once living now resembled anything but. Lucy wasn't particularly happy, but she felt no remorse, either. Better it than her.

Having been temporarily distracted by her venomous victim, she once again surveyed her surroundings. The sun was very close to being completely set, and the remaining light painted the desert cliffs a fantastic reddish brown. Though the sun was waning, Lucy still had no choice but to squint her eyes when she glanced in its immediate direction. She pulled the brim of her hat down slightly.

Nothing had changed. Constancy, if there was one thing she felt she could rely on, it was that. The desert was harsh and unwavering, but it was at least fair. She could respect that.

Lucy grabbed her canteen and rifle, and began descending from the little lookout perch she had been situated in. She knew there was no point in waiting any longer. Not today. Carefully, she began her descent from the bluff. She wasn't being careful in particular about her footing, since she could handle herself well enough in terrain like this. But this time of day, dusk, was when the rattlers liked to come out. Especially in light of her previous close encounter with the scorpion, Lucy was extra keen to avoid any reptilian rendezvous.

Eventually, she had safely completed the journey down the hill and found the little clearing where she had left her horse. "Hi there, Nick!" she cheerfully said as she approached him. Nick let out a cheerful whinny in return, acknowledging his owner's presence. Lucy had never been fond of his name, but it was far too late to change it by the time she came into his life.

"Miss me, boy?" she asked as she scratched the nape of his neck. Lucy was just about ready to saddle up, but she hesitated for a moment. The sun had either set faster than she had expected, or her climb down from the hill had taken longer than she expected. Either way, twilight was upon her, and she was facing a ride back to town of at least two hours. With the full moon she expected no problems in navigating back. But she delayed her trip back for a more practical consideration: hunger.

Lucy got a few provisions out of her saddlebags. It wouldn't be a gourmet meal, but it would do enough to hit the spot. She scavenged up some supplies to start a fire, and soon enough she had a nice flame going.

Lucy cooked her modest meal in a little tin pot over the open flames. The heat of the day had quickly receded with the sun, and under the shine of the moon and the stars, the fire's warmth felt nice. She ate until she felt full and warm in her belly.

The meal had meant that she stayed here longer than she intended. It was time to get a move on, so she packed her goods and extinguished the fire. As her eyes adjusted to see without the help of the fire, she grabbed the last of her belongings: her rifle.

Lucy was glad today was not the day. That day was coming, surely, and she would be ready when it arrived. Still, not today.

She tossed her legs over the saddle, and with a slight kick, sent Nick on his way. It would be a long ride home, but under the moon, it would be all right.


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