A story by Ricks, Fry, and A. R. Caldwell

He left me and I don’t know why.

I was in a place I didn’t recognize, although I knew it was a tomb. The gravestones spoke of centuries of death. Generations upon generations rested here. I thought of their bones, if they knew what we were doing, and what would become of us should we succeed.

It didn’t matter, when it came down to it, but it comforted me to think that I wasn’t the first to end their days here. I trudged forward, dragging my feet and sword in the dust beneath me. It seemed to swirl in the air and move before me, though the air around me was still.

And there it was, the stone I had been looking for, the stone of my Fathers. Here lay the remains of my bloodline. My cigarette began to taste bitter like plastic before I noticed it was nearly done. I padded it out in the dirt. Perhaps stamping it out wasn’t the best idea, but it was my typical move. The trap I activated with my foot made a stone wall tumble down to my right, and the ceiling crumbled down on my left.

I raised my sword, ready to fight. My handgun would be useless against these foes. The beat on my right was a lion mated with dragon, and the mechanism to my left was death made from stone. The dragon-lion ran two paces and lept into the air with a flap of its wings. I pulled myself behind a giant stone as it slid to a stop and turned to face me with the stone beast behind it.

I would have to fight one or the other, and I charged between them, slashing at the lion-dragon to distract him as I garnered the stone giant’s attention. I lit a certain substance and slid it between my lips and took a deep puff. I decided it’s better to use cold steel, my sword, against a dragon-lion than a rock being born of earth.
It raised tis claws, but I held my ground and my sword was steady. I brought it down from high guard and struck the beast in its muzzle. The stone contraption rushed from behind it and slashed its blade. I rolled out of the way, and just in time, for a chunk of ground raised up from behind me from the blow of the rock guardian.

The lion-dragon was quick on the counterattack. I was quicker to grab the stone, stuffing in my pocket while extracting my flask. I took a long pull from the flask and threw the empty husk at the lion-dragon. As it slashed at the flask I swung, and hacked its paw off with one clean cut. I steadied myself, and turned just in time to catch a wailing blow from a stone fist, sending me sliding across the floor into a wall.

Blood flowed from my lip. I slouched forward only to realize my sword, cigarettes and flask were flung from my body and spread across the room. As I scrambled for my sword, the lion-dragon roared, and drew itself upward, hesitating only a moment before folding its wings and diving directly for me.

I can only thank my ancestors that I had grabbed the stone of ym Fathers in time. I used its power to block the lion-dragon, sending it back against the wall. The stone machine was close behind, but not close enough. The stone of my Fathers brought my will against its own, and proved mine own the worthier.

With a burst of fury the stone projected an energy unknown to me at the time. I turned from the blinding flash only to witness molten earth. I tucked the stone away in a small pouch along my belt as I sensed a lions eyes and dragons heaving breath closing on my back. The stone guardian was gone, but I had neglected the beast.

“Fuck you, you piece of shit!” I shouted, for it had taken my partner so many years before. I thrust the stone of my Fathers at it, only to watch the light grow dim. I shook it. Nothing. The lion growl the filled the dark silence shivered my bones.

I sighed and raised my sword. “Come on, you piece of fuck shit.” It lurked still in the darkness. It was a youthful and tacky attempt to invoke fear in me. However, I knew my Fathers would not steer me wrong like my mate of past. I stayed fast with blade in hand. However, a cigarette lay on the ground stern right to my position. It would be dangerous to grab even attempt to grab it due to the fact that a serenaded tail could whip across my path any time.
I did not hesitate what-so-ever.
The cigarette rested between my lips before the beast could blink, and my flaks was but a jump away. The lion-dragon struck with its reamaining forepaw, and I with my sword. It was no match for me, for with the power of my ancestors, I crushed through its flesh as easily as a knife slices butter. I reached my flask in no time. “Fathers be with me,” I whispered as I touched ember to fuel.

But the beast did not explode with my intentions. The lion roared and dragon breathed fire, but neither at me nor blade or stone. A crushing blow of reality swept upon us from above and washed over my proper realm.
I was left abandoned in thought, wandering in the strange lands alone. Flask in hand. For nothing appeared to me now save the desert dunes.

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