Life on the Edge

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1. Life on the ledge.


Kurht listened anxiously to the sound ot ht ewind. IN the morining th ewind died ever so slightly, ending the night with a final breathy sigh. The beating of hte drums had long since given way to the endless rustle of winged creatures beating back to their lairs, or lifting wasy on early nocturnes onftheir own. It was a peaceful sound.

But tonight the sound was maddening, insistent. Things were moving away from their places at a furious pace, leaping, skitteing, crawling away at a pace that threeatened to overtake him.

He stood in the shelter of a borat tree, the wavied trunk nestling him in its folds. Kurht heard things bump and clatter agaoinst the thick bole of the tree, blind in the dark, blinded by fear. He could see nothing, not even the movement of his own hand, but the could feel, as if someting were alive, and tangible, and brushing against his skin.

Something large bruch thumped aginst the tree, shivering leaves above.Kurht recoiuled back i into the fold. the rush was at its peakn, now.

Soon the sounds of flight diminshed, thenfaded entirely. He reached out with one hand, hanging onto the tree for support, then moved cautionsly away. The night was so thick!

Suddenly a scrabbling noise was heard, then a rhythnmic thimping. Something was bounding towqwrd him . If he could only get away...

With a crash t a small animal hit his calf. It leaped instinctively up, away from the obstacle, and landed in his arms. Kicking, flainling wildly, it kicked at his chest. Pain exploded from a dozen bruises. One tiny hoof cught in his shirt, then propelled it over hishead, With a final kick at his scalp it jumped wasy, landing with a thump soem distance away. Ift struggled agoinst the ground, stuggling to get upright, then hurried lamely away.

"A gaemsbik," he thought, "A small one. Nealry ripped his heart open." He held a hadn to his chest, feeling wetness. "Great. External bleeding. Bruises. Better take a look at it. If memory served, there was a house in the brush to his left. "Maybe," he thought further, "he should follow the animals. They seemed to know where they were going. Maybe..."

Kurht stopped, his breath freezing. Something was coming, to his right. Something large, slow limbed but fast. It was shakning the groudn as it advanced, sending tremors through him.


ernal bleeding. Bruises. Better take a look at it. If memory served, there was xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx