Title: Dead Man Walking
Dead Man Walking. That’s what they call him. Stays out of town mostly, up in the hills where the wind whips your hair into barbs that score your cheeks. Folk says he’s not just mad...he’s deranged. There’s a difference, presumably. Mad’s mad as far as I’m concerned. I guess that’s why they dared me to do it. Go and get my fortune read by Dead Man Walking.
Stolen boots firmly laced to my feet, I started the long climb up Devil’s Hill. Rain threatened to burst from the pregnant clouds and a wintry chill cramped the air. Determined, I trudged up the barren path, lone trees pointing their scarred branches at me.
“Go home,” the rustling branches whispered. I chucked a stone at the boughs and told them to shut up.
I was panting and out of breath by the time I reached Dead Man Walking’s cave. The sun dipped further towards the horizon and a red stain bled over the rocky ledge.
“Hey, mister. Mister...err, Walking.”
Nothing stirred from within the eerie depths of the cave for a moment. Then I could hear him coming. Big heavy steps like a bear. A bear wearing a construction worker’s boots. He emerged in a flurry of cobwebs and trickling dust.
“What is it?” he snarled.
His bulbous nose burned a deep scarlet beneath dark eyes, and his grey hair fell in matted waves around his shoulders. He needed a wash too - and soon.
Me, being only fourteen and a girl at that, you’d assume I was scared stiff as a corpse. Bloody right I was!