Sheltered under a branch he snatched along the way, Falx was fuming in more ways than one. Sprinting as fast as his scrawny legs could muster, he dodged rocks, fallen tree trunks and muddy puddles until he came to a clearing in the woods, framed by a homely looking cabin on one end, and a fenced horse-trotting ground on the other.
A merchant’s wheelcart rested by the gated fence, tilted on its right wheel by a cornucopia of forest and garden produce in boxes, fresh and ready for transport and most likely, sale.
As if under a spell (commonly known as hunger), Falx shifted his stride in the direction of the juicy-looking apples until, suddenly, an orchestra of rusty hinges, crackling wood panels and heavy footsteps induced him to duck, tree branch and all, onto the floor.
Plaid flannel, worn out jeans and tall leather boots complimented the man’s straw-hat like a necessary, but uncoordinated, evil. The dogs that flanked his sides as he made for the cart, allowed their attention spans to divert them into other directions, no doubt those of the markings made by undomesticated animals since early morning.
While the man busied himself with redistributing evenly the weight of the boxes on the cart, one of the dogs made a bee-line in the direction of the semi-concealed Falx.
Far from being intimidated by Falx’ gesticulations, the dog tilted his head left and right in consideration of his smelly counterpart. Not wasting any more time in working out the semantics, the dog changed the topic of conversation to something they would both understand: “catch me if you can”. With a dash propelled by his powerful hindlegs, the dog snapped Falx’ branch and made in the direction of the man.
What ensued was a bizarre blur of movement in brown, black, green and beige, to the tune of Falx’ curses at the Sun.
Alarmed, the man run toward his dog, struggling to understand what was happening but set on rescuing him until, BAM!!! Slamming into the medium-rare demon, the two merged into one.
Confused, the man picked himself up, looking for the animal and ready for a fight. Seeing nothing, he looked to the sky, assuming his spar was with a large predatory bird of some kind. The sunlight was suddenly a lot harsher on his eyes.
It is unclear who was most in disbelief: the man, the dog or the demon. The latter had been unable to possess anything all his life.
As a passenger on a, thankfully, sunlight-impermeable transport, Falx considered this unexpected situation for the brief moment it took the man to saddle the cart to the horse and head to the village.
After a day of selling and a lunch of fruit, cheese and wine, the man took himself to the doctor’s house for what Falx soon learnt was a regular appointment to check on his heart. A natural lifestyle it would seem, is not a fail-safe guarantee of good health.
Years after, as the man worked the fields, his heart gave out. His family did everything they could with their limited means but, within months, to their and Falx’ dismay, his vessel was letting him move onto a new life.
Not realising what would happen next, Falx calmly peered round the funerary room the man lay at until his eyes met Death’s. Somewhat put off by the sight but hopeful that Death could not make him out, he maintained his, rather literal, low-profile.
“Fancy seeing you here.” said one and thought (quietly) the other.