The following is the opening section of a short story entitled, For No Reason. I hope to include this story in an anthology in several months. The main character, Dax, is stuck in a magical rut that’s not headed toward a good ending…
After Elon’s house he stared ahead until he approached the tavern where the men still sat. They stared, sullen and quiet.
Dax spat. “There’s your change.” Laugh at that. They uttered neither jibe nor snicker so he left Alton’s Ford without further trouble.
He rode out of earshot and ground his teeth. “That stupid hag! Worthless daughter of a hog!” Dax swore worse things in rapid succession. “That diseased herd of sheep! I’ll tear them to pieces. I’ll foul their bones when I’ve chewed them to nothing.”
The mule plodded along with its ears drooping.
At his cabin, Dax still ranted at his enemies. He stomped around, unloaded his goods and slammed parcels onto rough shelves. The mule watched with rolling eyes each time Dax returned until he tore the panniers away, untied the animal and slapped its nose.
The mule nipped at his hands.
Dax kicked the animal’s rear leg.
Dax dodged the hoof. “You filthy, nameless beast! I’ll show you! I’ll show them all!”
The mule brayed defiance.
Dax stormed the porch. He snatched his axe and hacked the porch posts.
The mule wheezed alarm and trotted away.
Dax roared with each swing. He burst through his door. They’d see when he changed. He tossed his bed over and hacked the log walls. “The blasted curse, take them all!” Dax kicked his stack of broken mirrors.
“Why won’t they let me do something? Why won’t they let me break this curse? Why do they hate me?” Each axe blow demanded an answer. Dax collapsed into a weeping heap. “Why, why, why…?”
A breeze stirred the curtains. “By his teeth their hatred will consume them.”
“No, never, I won’t come to that.” He shivered. He’d be a mindless beast, all teeth and rage and dead to himself. And they’d die. He was becoming that too soon. He blinked through sudden tears at the ruined room. If only he’d tried in the village. He’d do something.
His sores bled for days. The mule bared its teeth and trotted away from Dax whenever he approached the animal. Otherwise, he slept or stared at the trees.
One morning, he awoke wearied of the wrecked cabin that festered like his sores. He’d wounded his home. If only he could heal it. On the porch, he suppressed a groan and sunk onto the loose step-boards as he stared into the trees. The mule wandered close. “It never ends and I can’t end it even if I wanted.”
The pack animal rasped a snort, dropped dung and trotted away.
“The mule needs a name. And this place needs a cleaning.”
The end of part 3.
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. The next part of the story will be posted on 3/9/2016. Sign up for my Archer’s Aim Digest mailing list to receive notification of these posts and those for other upcoming fiction projects to appear on Archer’s Aim as well as news about the upcoming release of An Arrow Against the Wind, the second novel of The Bow of Hart Saga due out later this year.
Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga: