A sharp, unfettered sound coursing through the speckled leaves of autumn trees made him pause.
Warily he turned. Watched.
A second, deeper sound cut through the first, slicing deep into soil and undergrowth like a new honed plow.
This time a chittering challenge which pierced the bones and threaded fear through nerve and mind.
The beast stepped back, terrified. Retribution, yes. He could face retribution, dying. Give him death or torture. Make him bleed and suffer pain.
Dear God not this…
…this punishment which made Hades doors so sweet.
Fragrant forms of ethereal creatures gathered before him like forest mists. He fled. He didn’t care where. As far from them and their eternal life of misery as his legs, and will could carry him.
He’d tasted of their fruit before—never again!
He’d die before Hell visited its twisted justice upon his door.
Reaching the river he leaped to the further bank. Scrabbled up the muddy shore then heard…