“Well, you can rest…” Terrence suddenly felt Yuah stiffen. She turned around to look behind her, and then came to a halt, halting him as well.
“What is it?”
“It’s those horrible birds. There’s a pack of them following us. I just saw one off to the left and there are two more behind us.”
“No, the bigger ones. The ones with the brown feathers.”
“Deinonychus. You can bet that if you see three, there are three around here that you can’t see.”
“Will they attack?”
“Maybe. Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” Terrence reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a forty five caliber revolver.”
“Wonderful,” said Yuah. “It’s enough I have to worry about killer birds. And now a blind man with a gun.”
“It’s not a gun. It’s a pistol,” said Terrence. “And I’m not going to shoot it. You are.”
“I can’t shoot a gun… a pistol.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll guide you through it.” He took her by the wrist and placed the revolver, handle first, into her small hand. “Where are they now?”
“Two are in the road about thirty feet back. I don’t see the one in the woods anymore.”
At that moment a squawk came from the woods to the left, and was answered by a similar call in the woods to the right.
“Well, we know they’re there. Hold the pistol in your right hand, and cup your left hand under the grip.”
Terrence stepped behind her and reached around to hold her hands in his. His body pressed against her backside so that her bustle collapsed inward and her dress ballooned out somewhat in front. She could feel his breath on her neck.
“Pick a target and line it up with the sight at the end of the barrel. Do you have it?”
“Don’t worry. I have you. Do you have the bird lined up?”
“Then gently squeeze. Don’t pull on the trigger. Just squeeze.”
There was a tremendous boom and a cloud of metallic smoke. The gun’s kick had pushed Yuah back, but Terrence’s body hadn’t moved. She leaned backwards into him.
“Did you hit it?”
Yuah opened the eyes that she hadn’t even realized she had closed.
“Oh, no. Now there are three of them.”
“Do you see any in the woods?”
She glanced to either side. “No.”
“How about behind us?”
“No. I hear something moving in the woods now though.”
“Yes, I hear it too. Let’s take aim again at the one we missed.”
“I don’t know which one it is.”
“Just aim at one Yuah.”
Yuah took aim down the barrel of the pistol at the deinonychus which was closest to the center of the road, and just as Terrence had instructed before, squeezed the trigger. Again there was a tremendous boom and a cloud of smoke. This time as the gun pushed her back, Yuah leaned into Terrence’s body. He didn’t move. The birdlike creature that she had aimed at was hit. Its chest exploded and it was flipped end on end.
“We got it,” said Yuah turning her head so that her face was only an inch from Terrence’s.
“Good,” he said, but made no move to take his arms from around her shoulders or to turn his face away from hers.
“Should we shoot another one?”
“I don’t know. What are the others doing?”
“The other two on the road are sniffing it. Wait… three more are coming out of the woods, but they’re not looking at us. Do you think they’ll eat their friend?”
“Maybe. Proper animals wouldn’t resort to cannibalism, but these Birmisian creatures… Let’s get out of here anyway. If they don’t decide to eat it, they might come after us yet. And something else might come along.”
Terrence unwrapped his arms from her and took the gun, putting it back in the pocket of his great coat. They continued down the road. As they walked, he put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. Yuah looked back once to see that the deinonychus, now six, were still sniffing at their dead companion’s body.
The Dark and Forbidding Land is a high point for Yuah. As I’ve mentioned before, she has the most drastic story arc of the major characters and this is still just the beginning, but I so enjoy writing about her.