Chapter 1

It was hard for him to let go of that piece of land that belonged to his family, but he had to in order to help the development of the town. Hugh could only sit and watch as new buildings get made each month, houses replacing trees. This land was fought and won by his great, great grandfather, Dirk “Daggerback” Grahams, when the west was still wild and uncharted. It was fertile land and had the chance to grow plants, and to help the oncoming civilization find a new place to populate. Dirk thought humanity was like a disease, always spreading and tearing away the beauty of nature. Yet he had to keep fighting the natives in order to put food on the table and keep some land of his own. They called him Daggerback because when a rescue party was sent to retrieve Dirk after being captured by nearby natives, but they found him alive and the rest of his captors dead with dagger wounds on their backs. That still didn’t make the job of claiming land any easier. It just so happened that one of the captors was the son of a shaman, one with a mighty reputation. The shaman caught wind of the news that his son died at the hands of a white man.

With bloody rage in his heart and wails from his mind, the shaman cried aloud for vengeance! The clouds darkened around the small settlement where Dirk and some local farmers were and unleashed lighting all around them! Roars of hatred were heard from the wind rushing through the area, the ground shook with terrible rage and then there was silence…

FWOOM!

A burst of dark light shot out of the ground towards the heavens and with it came screams. Voices of the damned echoed across the land and in the ears of anyone near. At first it was so faint due to the screaming, but Dirk soon heard its laughter from all the wailing and shouting. Eyes glowed from behind the light, claws emerged from the dark light like daggers cutting through paper. Its grin matched a mad man’s and slowly twisted it’s way out of vortex. The light faded away and the screams with it. There it stood, a six foot tall, dark red demon from the foulest pits of Hell, still grinning. Horns of a goat and barbed tail, just like the ones from the bible. Dirk knew someone had Hell to pay for bringing this thing on Earth, but first things first.

With a quick draw while twisting around to find cover, Dirk got all of his shots on target. The demon flinched from some of them, but steadily walked towards him, hunger in his eyes. He couldn’t believe that it was still on it’s feet, walking tall.

Blam blam blam!

Shots rung throughout the town as Dirk tried to find his way into safety. The farmers also took up arms and ran towards the grinning demon, but were brushed aside like flies against a gust of wind. The demon kept on walking, still grinning. A big man with a shotgun came up behind the demon and fired away. His trigger finger kept going as he yelled aloud, and dust gathered around the demon as other gun men unleashed bullet justice. It was hard to see what happened with all the dust surrounding most of the shooting area, but out walked a grinning demon. No wounds, no blood. It kept on walking, and Dirk got this feeling that he could at least out run it.

He makes a run for the nearest horse as he puts away his guns, never looking back. No reason to if you know that all you’ll see is your impending death. He grabs onto the horse’s mane and lifts himself up with a quick jump to the saddle, still not looking back.

“Hiyah!” Dirk yells as he directs the horse towards the east, towards the sun. Faster and faster the horse goes, but Dirk feels a need to look behind. He turns his head slightly to the left, eyes widen with horror. A dazzling and terrible sight was behind him, speeding up with each passing moment. Twisting and howling, a red, vertical tornado was approaching fast upon him. Glowing eyes, a pair of sharp claws and that devilish grin were in the front, pushing this powerful force of demonic power towards his prey. This was the race of Dirk’s life and it seemed to be at an end soon. With all life’s precious moments passing through his mind, his first time to ride a horse, to kill a wolf, marry the love of his life, and his son’s birth. Now all going to end very soon.

He looked up at the sun, it seemed so much brighter. Then he felt a force that knocked him out of his saddle and towards the ground, skidding for just a few feet. Getting his senses back, he hears the horse galloping away, now silence. Blurry visions, so hard to get back up, but he hears sounds of a struggle. A crack and a few blows to the ribs of something is all he heard before going back to darkness once again.

 

While this story is the property of Eric McVinney, the title and references from any Sonata Arctica song belongs to Sonata Arctica. Distribution to any unauthorized persons are prohibited.

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