It walked with an easy, jaunty step,enjoying the cool wind that blew across its face.It had stopped looking around now, its ears registering every monotonous inch of the dusty wilderness.The sun had risen a few hours ago, and the warmth felt energising. Now and then it would bend down to examine a strange rock, or shell, occasionally picking up broken pieces of bone. Processes: Swirling fluids,falling rocks and decaying atoms, these it could see, but only in flashes and fragments. Incomplete knowledge, random scraps, stored away meticulously for later use. Curiosity was natural, but its thoughts, it's personality, was impartial,uninterested. A strange curiosity,directed but unbiased, natural, irresistible.
It stopped, ears pricking up ever so slightly. Crouching, it moved to its left, heading for a large rocky hill. It moved swiftly, running bowlegged, in an almost comical fashion. It leapt up, grabbing at a fissure, and swiftly began climbing the rock face. It reached the top with a long leap , followed by a scrabble, sure as a mountain goat. Pulling itself up,it looked down..
It was a nomadic camp. Highwaymen of a sort, though this was not yet apparent to the savage. It seemed almost happy now, or excited at any rate, and it began descending the hill, leaping from rock to rock on the balls of its feet. The highwaymen were dressed in loose robes with large hoods. As they spotted the savage, they rose to their feet readying rifles and crossbows of a strange design, perplexed, yelling directions in a strange, musical tongue. Their leader, a slim woman with beautiful green eyes,stood in the center holding a double barreled rifle on the rapidly descending stranger.
The savage leapt down,dropping into a crouch and bracing itself with one hand, then stood up and looked at the woman holding a gun to his head. He saw it in her eyes almost as soon as she thought it,and leapt at her, just as she gave the order to attack. He ripped the gun easily out of her hand smashing it into the nearest attackers head,and then threw the leader into the oncoming fire of her troops. The blasts and whistles disoriented him.He whipped around to his right, grabbing another attacker as a shield, eyes filled with a mixture of fear and wonder.Almost in a trance, he grabbed the shotgun dropped by his unwilling saviour, and in one fluid motion, swung around and fired all 8 shots. At that range, it caused bedlam. Every one of his shots had found a target, and they in turn, flailing and discharging their weapons had incapacitated all but three of the nomads. Shotgun and two crossbows. They all fired at once. The savage jumped to the ground and slid towards his attackers. He grabbed a crossbowman and threw him at the shotgun's blast, then smashed his fist upward into the remaining attackers nose, who discharged her weapon. The bolt ripped through the other crossbowman's head, causing him to shoot the last highwayman in the throat.
The savage looked down at the woman that lay gasping and wheezing at his feet. His eyes gleamed. He picked up the crossbow and shot her through the heart, ending her suffering.He looked back at the broken and dying people, perplexed. Those that were still alive were too scared to make a move, whimpering silently as they lay in the sand. The savage walked to one of the tents nearby, and peered in. He smiled and picked up a blue and grey robe.
The robes felt good against his skin, as did the cloth sandals, as he walked towards the settlement that was now only a few miles away. He appreciatively fingered the crossbow that was now at his side, absentmindedly fiddling with the locking mechanism as he walked. He felt the adrenaline. It gave him strength, and purpose. He started whistling as he swung the crossbow jauntily into a shoulder firing position, looking down its sights. He stopped walking, and lowered the crossbow, as if struck by a realisation. He looked back to the highwayman camp, now far in the distance, and made a sudden movement, then stopped. He swallowed once, then turned around, and started walking quickly towards the settlement, leaving behind him the first of many unanswered questions.....