Hunting time is waiting time. I was under no disillusions. I am bait, hear me squeak. But this little mouse is angry. Fucking angry. It started with me contemplating the fact that the love of my life is a tree, and then it spilled into almost dying twice in the span of three days. I was afraid, and that fear overloaded itself, no more flight, fight. I wanted to try to sleep, catch some zzz’s before Mr. Scratchy came clawing, but I just couldn’t. I was too keyed up, also, a little afraid that if I used flesh magic to put myself to sleep, I would be out too hard to wake up. Might as well put this nervous anger to use. I grabbed some more paper and a pen out of one of the kitchen drawers. Goals, what are my goals. Two columns for my goals, short-term and long term. Above them I put wrote in big letters, THREATS/QUESTIONS. One of my key long term goals is to build a greenhouse for my food, and to gather seeds to make that possible. My magic would make that a piece of cake. I was uniquely suited for long term solo survival and fortifications, which led to my second long term goal, fortifications. I could build down, using iron and steel as supports, or maybe just a magic generator to give the stone some structure. A hidden bunker, I liked the sound of that. Maybe I could divert a ley line near me with magic from a new mana converter generator; having that around would probably mask my huge power output.

  My short term goals would be easier, but probably more dangerous. Exploration of the surrounding area would be key. Cars don’t seem to be functioning, but I had an idea for a stone hoverboard that I could propel with earth magic. There’s two big food stores nearby, a Wiess and a Giant. Not too far away from those is a hardware store with a few pharmacies within a stone’s throw. My car as one of those state maps in it which will be useful for later. My planning was interrupted by a timid knock at the door. “Who in the fucking hell,” I whispered while putting down my new life’s journey. I grabbed my spear and strode to the door. Looking out didn’t reveal anything. Again, a soft knock. “Hello?” I said, “Who’s out there?” I went to the window near the door and tried to get a bead on my knocker from the side. As my face was pressed up against the window something slammed into it from the other side.

  The force transferred through the window to me knocking me back. A long slimy tongue caressed the window from bottom to top, “Come out food. I can hear your heartbeat. Come, let me take that fear away forever, so delicious.” Uhg. The only thing slimier than that tongue was the voice in charge of it. Its sibilant tones pressed on my overstressed nerves. I checked the wards of my house, still strong. The strength enchantment backed by my generator had no difficulty for this thing. I still couldn’t really make out what it was, but it did keep taunting me, and that’s what really mattered. My spear began to pulse with light, in tune to my heartbeat. I had been geared up for hours, ready for this fight. My left hand went down to my flashbangs. Now, three options quickly presented themselves. Ignore this shit and not sleep, go Conan the Barbarian on its ass, or lure it inside my house where I could apply some pressure from the house wards. I liked the last one the most, but I didn’t want our fight to go out of control, still had a tree woman in living room. Besides, she spent many long hours decorating the house just the way she liked it and I didn’t want to deal with her anger if it wasn’t that way when she woke up.

  Conan the Barbarian it is. Now this was a hell of a gamble and probably not the smartest play, but I hadn’t tested out my spear yet. It’s like asking a waitress at Starbucks to build you a new car from the junkyard and then driving down a hill towards a lake to test the brakes. Not smart. Anger overrode that though. I kicked open the door with my spell-warded boots. “Bring it you skinny ass slimy motherfucker!” My spearpoint led the way out the door as I threw two flashbang pebbles right after it. My pebbles bounced off the banister of the porch and went off followed by a shriek of epic proportions. So glad I armored my ears to alleviate this. Score one for forethought. The freak stumbled back from the porch furiously blinking its eyes. I grabbed a few more of the flashbang pebbles and the new Lux pebbles from my other pocket. Quickly throwing those at its feet I screamed, “LUX”, followed by a pulse of raw magic. If he wasn’t happy a second ago, he was pretty damn pissed now. The thing looked humanoid, around seven feet tall and had the build of an obsessed meat head. I probably don’t want to tangle up close with that. It was bald and had somewhat of a mottled grey and green tone to its skin. Since he was on all fours in front of me trying to shake off his light-induced delirium, I used my earth magic to sink him into the ground till only its head was showing. Hey, if it works, don’t fix it. Turning the earth around him to stone, I took a step back and tossed out a couple more light stones cut them on. Gotta make sure this fucker doesn’t have friends hiding in the shadows. A ripping sound spun me back around. The creep had an arm free and was furiously working on the rest of himself.

  “Tasty humans full of mana should just lie down. Easy prey dies faster”, it muttered as it pulled itself free, blood dripping from the jagged stone. Deep midnight eyes narrowed as freedom inched its way closer.

  “Fuck you!” I yelled as I pulled out my .45 and unloaded on the creature. I had it at a disadvantage for the moment, which gave me a few seconds to test it out. Eight rounds lodged themselves in its chest and belly and one in the neck, but it didn’t seem to care. [SHIT]. Dropping my gun and gripping my spear with both hands, I pulled half of the energy my battery vest had and channeled it down the staff. I couldn’t miss, I was five feet away. The resonating pulse that went from my vest to my arms and into the staff was legendary. I watched as it flowed down the wood into the three crystals, rage into three different elements, and then forced together in the tri-blade, explode into existence at the tip of the spear. I was not strong enough. The resulting explosion knocked me back to my porch. Thank the Ripple my shield gauntlet was alive and well. It negated the impact almost completely. I stood up. My lawn was a crater that extended into the street.


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