“A gruesome little tale of careful what you ask for by guest author, Charles Gramlich on PenoftheDamned.com“
When You’re Howling
I watched the crazy bastard staggering across the shit-colored wasteland like some post-apocalyptic bindlestiff. He gestured wildly at Heaven and Hell, screaming in some dead language. But a bandana-wrapped poke dangled from the cane over his shoulder. Maybe it held food; I was starving.
A big boulder hid me. The dude walked past. I rose up behind him, cleared my throat. He spun around, and if he’d had a gun he would have shucked it. I had one—a cheap piece of blue-steel crap from before the world went to rot. But I didn’t shoot. The man was ugly as sin. On one side. The left side of his face…squirmed. I didn’t want to look too closely. But the right side was beautiful—uncomfortably beautiful. I looked away.
“I’ll take those goodies,” I told him, gesturing at his poke.
Suddenly calm, he pulled the cane off his shoulder and tapped the bandana-wrapped bindle. “You really don’t want to see inside this,” he said. “Let me offer a cigarette instead.”
I dealt him the nastiest smile in my set. “I’ll have the cigarettes too. But first the bag.”
He shook his head. “You’ve got no reason to believe me. But I’m not here by chance. I came seeking you. To make an end. I see now, though, you deserve more time. That heart’s not quite dead yet. In this bag, there isn’t anything to eat or sell. There’s only destruction.”
I hefted my pistol. “This is real destruction. Brought the world low. Give me the fuckin’ bag.”