Chapter 4.13- That Dead Dog On Your Head

24 May

Hey guys. Last chapter ended with a not-so-awesome slumber party.

We’ve got Rylo and his estranged daughter sleeping in a dilapidated shack, seething with hatred for one another. Good times, good times.

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Rylo is just dropping into that pre-sleep stage where everything is warped and sweet and syrupy. His frustration with the child across the room begins to ooze into a dream featuring a little girl named Link, his mother, a red-headed teenager, and a big hairy dog.

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He’s roused slightly by a creak of floorboards, but his dream state explains it away as the thwang of a crossbow as he makes a clean kill on a stag deer.

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Footsteps fall, nearly soundlessly, moving from one end of the room to the other.

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And then the little girl is falling backwards, gasping as her back slams painfully into the wooden floor. Something heavy and metallic clatters across the room, coming to a rest in the shadows. A thick, muscled arm restrains the girl against the ground, although she’s in too much of a panic to even consider running.

Rylo narrows his eyes and peers into her wide terrified ones with suspicion.

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He then sees the hammer glinting in the darkness. His voice comes out hardly more than a murmur, low and menacing.

Rylo: You are not doing this.

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She gulps, and he releases his hold on her. He eases himself against his wall, watching the girl scramble back to her corner.

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She holds her head in her hands, shaking violently. Rylo maintains his vigilant watch until long after she falls asleep.

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The little girl takes his words to heart, and they both make it safely through the rest of the night. Her crying spells seem to have lessened, and she spends her morning gazing into the fire, assuming the posture of an ashamed dog.

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Rylo: We don’t have to talk about your little stunt with the hammer last night. But we’re going to have to figure out what to do here.

The little girl stares silently at the toe of her boot kicking a depression into the dirt.

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Rylo: If you’re trying to kill me in my sleep, you’d obviously rather be somewhere else.

Girl: ….

Rylo: Any ideas where that may be?

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Her voice comes out barely above a whisper.

Girl: I don’t know.

Rylo: ….

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They remain silent for some time, while Rylo mulls over his options.

Rylo: Let’s go.

Girl: Where?

Rylo: I don’t know. Somewhere. To find you a family you want to be with.

Girl: ….

Rylo: Get up, we’re going now.

Finally she raises her face to him, revealing red puffy eyes and tear-streaked cheeks. Wordlessly she follows him.

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Rylo marches resolutely into the woods, the girl trailing a few yards behind him. He knows the chances of finding a good family willing to take in this child are almost non-existent, but he hopes that having some kind of end goal might take the girl’s mind off trying to kill him again.

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After a few hours of blissful silence, a voice pipes up.

Girl: Why didn’t you try to kill me back?

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Rylo sighs heavily, and tries to come up with a response that will shut her up.

Rylo: You’re not supposed to kill your own kid. Laws of nature and stuff.

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Rylo crosses his fingers for her to stay silent, and is massively disappointed when she replies in that ridiculous sassy voice he’s getting so sick of.

Girl: I’m not going to call you dad.

Rylo: Good, I don’t want you to.

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Girl: Hey dad, guess what I-

Rylo: No.

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The girl seems to be taking pleasure in testing his patience, and Rylo huffs and speeds up his pace.

Girl: What’s your name?

Rylo: Rylo.

Girl: That’s stupid.

Rylo: I don’t care.

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Girl: My name’s Briony.

Rylo: Also don’t care.

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Rylo and Briony push through a break in the bushes to find an abandoned helicopter. Of course, they don’t know it’s a helicopter, they just see it as an angular chunk of rusted metal. But Rylo does know it will make for decent shelter.

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Briony settles herself onto a rock and watches Rylo drag firewood into a pile.

Briony: Why do you wear that dead dog on your head?

Rylo: That dead dog was my friend.

Briony: Oh. Remind me never to be your friend.

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Rylo: Noted.

Briony: Did you kill him?

Rylo: Her. And no, but I did eat her.

Briony: You’re crazy.

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Another moment of silence, and then another question.

Briony: Have you ever killed a person?

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Rylo: Weren’t you there the night your mom died?

Briony: But like, really on purpose.

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The fire roars to life in it’s cradle of dried mosses and Rylo lifts himself back up off the ground.

Rylo: Yup.

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Briony: Why?

Rylo: Wanted to.

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Rylo lowers himself into a less dusty spot of grass and waits for the next prying question.

Briony: Just the one guy?

Rylo: Just the one guy.

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Briony gets off her rock and takes a step towards the fire.

Briony: …I could kill you.

Rylo: Oh yeah? How would you do that, assuming there’s no hammers around?

Briony: Poison.

Rylo: You couldn’t poison me.

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Briony: You’d better believe it, I could.

Rylo: Okay, how?

Briony: Plants. My mom taught me.

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Rylo: If you know so much about plants, why you haven’t found any we can eat yet?

Briony: Because I hate you and I hope you starve.

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Rylo: I’m not going to starve, I have a crossbow and about fifty pounds of annoying little girl to eat if I’m desperate.

Briony: You probably would eat a kid, you crazy person.

Rylo: You’re right, I would.

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Briony: Whatever. You can eat these brown mushrooms here. I’ve been eating them all along behind your back.

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Rylo: Oh, for fucks’s sakes!

He marches angrily off into the bushes to hunt down more of the mushrooms Briony claims are edible.

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Behind him, Briony lays down on the earth, staring up at the sky behind a frame of warped helicopter propellers.

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Rylo quickly finds more of the ugly rock-like mushrooms. He pulls one apart and tries to analyze its damp scent. Briony could be trying to poison him right now and he would have no way to know. He carries on collecting the mushrooms anyways, thinking that death might be easier than dealing with any more of her incessant questions.

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Rylo returns to the firepit and tosses some mushrooms to the girl.

Rylo: How do I know you’re not poisoning me with these?

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Briony: I’m not.

Rylo: Is that how your mom raised you? To poison people?

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Briony: My mom raised me to be smart, and to know how to use what’s around me.

She takes a bite, chews, and swallows. Rylo relaxes and bites into a mushroom.

Rylo: That’s a laugh. Last time I saw your mom she had no idea what was around her.

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Briony: …fuck you!

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Rylo: Can’t lie, this is actually pretty good.

And we’ll end this post here. I gotta say, I love Briony. That girl asks the burning questions we all probably have, and her homicidal threats are nothing short of adorable.

It’s like this, but with less chicken.

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One Response to “Chapter 4.13- That Dead Dog On Your Head”

  1. logogrryph May 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    I feel like this legacy is just getting sassier with each generation. It’s interesting to hear about Briony’s mom. I wish we had gotten to learn a little bit more about her before she got the axe lol. The comparison to Arya and Sandor is hilarious. I can totally see it.

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