Raking. Raking. Endless raking.
Pause. Look up.
He's staring right at me, his eyes aflame.
I raise my rake, now my weapon.
"I see you, you motherfucker!" I scream, frothing.
The Deer smiles. From behind him, ten more.
"Is that all the force you could muster?!" I monologue. "After all this time, only this pitiful ragtag band of misfit rejects? Don't make me laugh!"
They advance quickly, never breaking formation. Hooves strike gravel in perfect crunching symphony. I sport a rictus grin and crouch low, leg muscles trembling.
The Deer stops. Twenty feet away. Less.
A crow calls. Once. Twice.
The ten spring forward, and die in the same instant, blood spraying upwards and outwards in perfect pretty circles. Their bodies hit the dirt a moment later. My rake has not a single drop of blood on it, but one prong is now slightly bent.
The Deer glances at the corpses for a moment, unperturbed. His smile remains.
"Is that the best you could find?" I ask, smirking.
The Deer moves one hoof slightly.
Ten skeletons rip from the flesh and spin at incredible speed directly at me. Behind them, the Deer pulls his necromantic strings.
Three go down, pulverized to bone dust, before my rake snaps in two from the strain. I flip backwards three times and pick up the car, swinging it like a bat at the horrors still animate.
Four more are reduced to nothing. A fifth gets close enough to graze me. I turn his skull into fragments with my fist.
Two left, circling warily. I flick my eyes back and forth between them.
No. They are merely a distraction. I realize too late.
The Deer has vanished.
I hear the impact of his hooves on my back before I feel the pain. Coughing, spitting blood, I roll on the asphalt away. Not fast enough. A skeletal hoof descends, blotting out my vision.
The blow never lands.
I open my eyes to see the undead beast frozen above me. It slowly withdraws the hoof.
Confused, I look to the Deer, standing serenely, still smiling. Some of my blood is on his hooves.
With one small motion he withdraws his minions. Looking directly at me, he nods once.
I understand. This was merely a message. He could kill me at any time he chooses. He allows me to live so that I may suffer.
I get to my feet. He has won this round.
I nod back, acknowledging his victory and my defeat. The Deer turns his back and slowly walks away, his skeletons sinking back into the earth.
"Shit," I say. "I dented my fender."