Uhric pulled his cloak tighter, trying in vain to ignore the wind which continued to cut its way through his flesh like knives. There was little chance of escaping the elements up here on the beacon towers, but at least winter, and the snows it would bring, were still some weeks away yet. If being stationed to man one of the beacon towers during the last days of Autumn were bad enough, being selected to man one of the blasted things during the height of winter was as cruel a punishment as one could possibly think of.
Don’t see his bloody majesty traipsing ‘is fat arse up 3000 bloody stairs during the middle of no bloody snow storm now do we?
Urhic shook his head in frustration, before turning his attention to the satchel hanging from his belt. Following a quick rummage though the bag’s contents, he retrieved a thumb sized piece of dried horse meat and, more importantly, a skin filled with Haldor’s infamous fire water. Perfectly suited to killing noxious weeds, cleaning congealed grease from the wife’s cooking pots, and keeping one’s belly warm during cold nights, Haldor’s unique brew was a favourite amongst the guardsmen assigned to the beacon towers.
Technically, drinking on duty was strictly forbidden, and it could earn any man caught a flogging he would soon not forget, but seeing as Uhric was perfectly alone up here with little else but the clouds and birds for company, he doubted that a quick swig would be of any harm. Tearing a piece of the dried meat off with his teeth, Uhric went to wash the mouthful down with the fire water when the potent brew caused him to gag and the meat to catch in his throat. Firewater spilled everywhere, as Uhric pounded his chest in a bid to dislodge the food causing him to choke. With one final thump, a cloud of firewater and dried horsemeat sprayed out of his mouth and caught alight from the single lantern perched above the beacon’s oil soaked pyre.
Uhric watched as a succession of beacon towers burst into life in the distance, warning the far off garrison of an invasion which would never come. There was only one thing to be done in times like this, Urich thought. He may as well finish the skin’s contents off.
TC Phillips lives in tropical Central Queensland where he lives with his loving wife, three children, two spoilt cats and an overactive imagination. After embarking on a Masters in Creative Writing and getting some of his own work published by various outlets, he founded Specul8: Central Queensland Journal of Speculative fiction in 2015 and eventually turned it into Specul8 Publishing in 2018. A true fan of all that is weird and wonderful, he enjoys introducing new writers to the world and occasionally putting his own twisted works together as well. His collection of shorter works Tattle Tale and Other Stories is also available from Specul8 publishing, but only because the editor owes him a reluctant favour.
TC Phillips also occasionally feeds his own ego on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTCPhillips
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