A day’s ride behind me and I need food and rest. Cold well water rinses dirt from my mouth and crackles on the way down.
The emptiness of the outpost is unnerving. Twenty-two missing but the stables are full.
Why leave on foot?
Overrun? There’d be signs. Hell, there’d be bodies. Even if wolves beat me here, there’d be parts. Savages would’ve taken the horses. Some for riding – some for eating.
My guts growl at the thought of eating and the fact that I’m not.
I find the provisions building by its stench but my initial fear of spoiled food is soon replaced. A man stands naked in one corner of the caged area. Unfocused marbles shift in his head. The greasy floor challenges his balance.
“Eden Gus,” he mumbles.
“Gus?” is the last question I ask.
* * * * * * * *
I wake naked and alone, draped over a barrel of Salt Pork on the wrong side of the locked door.
Head throbs as I stand. Toes clench to keep mud that I know isn’t mud from squishing between them. I’m guessing twenty-two men, no privileges. I step to the cage’s window.
Gus hangs over the well, gutted like a deer, and I realize…
Eating Us…not Eden Gus