Always Like This

Jordan screamed as the armor-clad skeleton took Ruby’s jaw off with an axe. Ruby, his mentor, had used that jaw just minutes ago to tell him to pucker up and enjoy the ride. He had no time to think. The abomination advanced on him, swinging its bloody axe. Only tripping backward over an ancient stone bench saved him.

Legs above him on the bench, Jordan flailed madly. He deflected the monster’s axe twice, then he pulled his knees to his chest in time to keep them from being severed when the axe cut deep into the bench.

When the skeleton stepped onto the bench to get closer, Jordan frantically pushed himself away. He must’ve kicked the bench, because the bench fell backward, toppling the skeleton forward. With the creature facedown beside him, Jordan swung his sword full-strength into the back of its neck, severing its spine. It fell still.

He lay there. The cold of the long-abandoned tunnel seeped into his back through the stiff layers of his padded jack. The scent of dust kicked up by the struggle mingled with the rich smell of Ruby’s blood. He wished he had someone to tell him it wasn’t always like this.

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