Thursday, December 9, 2010

Border Town - By Stephen Briner


           Braden Coll wiped the blood off of his saber, touched the gash on his forehead, and called to the man at the end of the tunnel. “Now Remus, we can keep it up all day if you want.”
          “Like hell you can!” Remus stood, holding a stolen pickaxe. Part of the haft had been chopped away and blood welled from the miner’s fingers. But he stood firm and glared down the tunnel at Braden. “We both know how it’s gonna end. Now we’re just settling who gets to walk away.”
          Braden stepped forward, his saber lowered but ready. He studied the fugitive’s reaction. He’d seen Remus around before. Must have come through The Gate about six months ago, sentenced to the Sterling Company’s mines. Remus had kept his head down until last week, when he and a few others had made off with a load Sterling’s picks, helmets, and carts. Braden had tracked them to Mount Feste, where the thieves had holed up in the mountain’s web like network of tunnels.
          He’d caught Remus and two others at the entrance. They’d resisted. Braden had killed the other two, but Remus had fled deeper into the tunnels. Now they stared each other down, and Braden struggled for a less bloody solution. 

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