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He was running through a desert. Except it wasn't, two black suns where above him causing unbearable heat in the crimson red sky. Two large vultures where streaming after him, swooping and diving, screeching one long ear piercing note. They kept diving at him, digging their talons deep into his back. But he kept running. Around his neck lay two serpents, intertwining, strangling. Their tails whipped him and wound his arms up, cutting off all circulation. But he kept running. The suns beat down upon him, he cold feel his shoulders burning up, his back was in shreds, his arms where numb, he was losing oxygen supply. But he kept running, he couldn't stop. He wanted to lie down and let these beasts rip him limb from limb, let them gorge from his stomach, to let him die. He could feel one of the snakes moving, he hoped it was leaving him, when he heard a sharp his and blind pain of fangs in his arm.





He tripped, unloading his burden, unto cold damp earth. He spun around waiting for the vultures but they never came. He looked up and saw one single yellow sun. He tried to get to his knees but they weren't working, he tried to piece together his surroundings, he was in a large field with a river running through but without the slightest trace of a location. He started to remember the night before but stopped and blocked it out. His shirt was hanging in shreds around his crisp burnt shoulders. The sharp pain came back to him as he saw a large red bite mark on his right bicep.

"I hope I didn't hurt you too much" He jerked around trying to get on his feet but just flopped back on the ground. He slammed his hand on the ground to prop him but winced and feel back on his side. He could hear footsteps getting ever nearer. The shadow crept across his body. A hand then reached down and dragged him up.

"Come on, you big oaf" Strangely the voice soothed him and he stopped panicking, accepting his capture he attempted to stand up with the help of his captor. Once he was up he faced the man who held his life in their hands. The face looked oddly familiar, when it stopped spinning.

"Mallhier?"

"Who d'you think it was?" The man retorted.

"I.." But before he got any further he blacked out.




Ronan came too spluttering. His head was tilted back again and more of the liquid down his throat, he gave up and excepted his fate, all struggling had brought him was more pain. He swallowed down what he thought was poison. He was waiting for the pain but instead he was feeling better. Confused and dazed he opened his eyes and looked around.

"Mallhier, is that you?"

"You came to that assumption an hour ago before you passed out." He sat down and put his arm around Ronan's shoulder. They were sat under the shade of a lone olive tree with the stream hissing next to them.

"What happening?" Ronan inquired after a while.

"You bucked me off and passed out."

"No, no. Before that." Ronan interpreted.

"Oh" Mallhier started. "Well I presume that you got out all right as I woke up whilst you were swimming the channel"

"What!" Ronan spluttered, spitting out a mouth of water.

"Yeah, I nearly drowned" He retorted in a very matter of fact way. "Then you've been running non stop since then for about a good ten hours I reckon. You were fireman lifting me this whole way, I apologies if I hurt you in any way, but I was desperate, you wouldn't stop and you didn't seem like you were going to."

"Where are we then? If we crossed the channel where are we now then?"

"Well I reckon you were going around sixty miles an hour, and we don't seem to of passed over the Pyrenees, so I reckon around Bordeaux" As he pondered he stood up and stretched. "Well I think it's time that we move on, I've dressed most of your wounds but your feet are in shreds and your backs burnt to a crisp." As he said that Ronan noticed that his shirt had been taken off and wrapped around the worst of his burns, the soles of his shoes had been melted off and the soles of his feet were blackened and torn up.

"I'm not sure I can, me legs feel like rubber." Ronan winced.

"I suppose you've earned the chance for a rest, but you've taken us around six hundred miles away from where I was heading." As he was saying this, he was propping Ronan up against the tree.

"OK then, but you'll have to be my crutch." Ronan sighed. He put his arm around Mallhier and hobbled forward. They slowly made it through several fields until they came to a vineyard. Behind the vineyard was a road which Ronan rested at whilst Mallhier was trying to hitch-hike. As the day started to wear on, a rusty truck filled with pigs in the back pulled over.

"Bonjour monsieur!" Shouted Mallhier rushing over. "Could you give us a lift?"

"No, not both of you." The driver said with a strong accent. "But you both look rough, theres a small town about a mile down that road, Saint Martin."

"Thank you monsieur!" Stuttered Mallhier.

"It doesn't look like you have any money on you sirs" he said looking down at their torn up clothes. "Tell the inn keeper that Manswel sent you!"

"Thank you! Merci monsieur! Au revior!" Mallhier rushed scooping up Ronan and propping him up on his shoulder.

"Au revior!" And with that Manswel drove off into the opposite direction.

"Common Ronan, I think there's gonig to be a storm."





They walked for the next hour in torrential rainfall into fletting light. As the night drew closer they entered the quint French town of Saint Martin. The rain had turned the dusty village into sludge, the rain pelted the roof's removing all the dust and dirt. Ronan was on his last legs, drenched to the bone and now being dragged along by Mallhier. They finally came to a small inn "Les bras des agriculteurs", inside there was a small fire and a bar area ahead. The barman, a stout man with black greasy hair a green eyes, issued them in shouting in French, when Ronan collapsed to the floor. Mallhier dropped down to his knees beside him as the barman stood awkwardly over them, Mallhier looked up at him and asked, "A room please" in a tiresome voice. The barman looked at him puzzled before he looked back at the bar and called "Francine! Touristes!" and walked off. A slender woman in her mid 20's came rushing over, she had thick bushy brown hair and matching eyes.

"Come, I'll take you to a room." She said trying to scoop Ronan up. Mallhier nodded and took Ronan's other shoulder and followed Francine up a flight of stairs into a small well lit room where they lay Ronan down. When Francine had left Mallhier lay down besides Ronan and fell fast asleep.

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