The moment the copper slug burned through the one-eyed giant's forehead, Clive felt another piece of himself drift up and away into the boundless expanse of sky. He tucked the revolver into its leather cradle, which hung loosely at his hip, and his hazy blues stared callously at the river of blood that flowed out from the dead man.

"Three more bullets and I lose my soul," He said hoarsely before he teetered and collapsed onto his side. Sand exploded around him, hung in the air, then settled back down over his fallen body. The desert itself seemed to hold its breath as an unnatural silence set in.

Then the woman in red stumbled forward. She crested the large dune, tripped, and rolled all the way down the other side. With a mouthful of sand, she still managed to call out his name: "Clive!"

Now crawling on hands and knees, she dragged herself to his side before collapsing in exhaustion.

"You can't…" She coughed up a mixture of spit and sand, "We can't go on like this anymore."

Clive lay motionless, and the woman began to shake him.

"Wake up, you bastard."

She turned him onto his back and stared down at his grizzled face, trying to remember what he looked like beneath all the grime. Gently, she brushed a bit of his knotted, black hair back. Rough looking, yes, but still handsome.

Just as she was going to kiss his brow, in the very same spot that Clive's last bullet had met its victim, his eyes snapped open and, of all things, he smiled.

"Did you say something, Lydia?" He asked, staring up at her.

"Yes. I called you a bastard. And I said I want to go home."

"Then go."

Lydia's face fell into a frown, and she looked wounded, "You know I don't mean alone. I want you to give all of this up and come home with me."

As strength returned to him, Clive tried to sit up, but he only managed it with Lydia's help. She took the water skin from around her neck and lifted it up to Clive's blistered lips. He drank heartily, but made sure to leave some for her.

"Do you honestly believe we can continue on like this? Clive, ever since you found that gun, it's been nothing but trouble. And none of this can end well… Please, let's just go home."

Clive listened to Lydia's pleadings with his ears, but she could tell his heart had tuned her out long ago. He would not return home until he had found what he was searching for.

"Well? Clive?" Lydia shook him, this time out of frustration "You won't, will you? Not until he's dead…"

"If you know my answer, then why do you bother to ask?"

Lydia fell silent and set her gaze towards the horizon, its orange and yellows blending seamlessly with the wasteland of sand. In all of its treachery, there was still some beauty.

"Can we make it to the next town before nightfall?" Lydia asked at long last, rising shakily to her feet.

"Probably not."

Clive held out his hand to her, and she gripped it tight, pulling him up. He staggered, but Lydia caught him before he could fall again. He leaned all his weight on her, and she managed to keep him erect. Though Lydia's slender form, her long legs and bony framework, did not give testament to her strength, she possessed an incredible amount of hidden power. She rarely tapped into this side of herself to reveal the rich contents of her being. Only few, like Clive, new how strong a woman she could be when she wanted.

As she held him there, she knew how weak he was by the way his body hung limply in her arms. He lifted his head up and met her brown eyes.

"Do you hate me for what I am doing, Lydia?"

Her eyes had begun to pool up with the last bit of moisture in her body, and she suddenly fell backwards. Clive toppled over on top of her. For a brief moment as she hit the ground pain streaked through her, but it quickly passed. The desert floor had cooled with the coming of dusk, and it was a strange sensation—the silky coldness of the sand beneath her and the warmth of Clive above.

"Do you?" He repeated, looking down deeper into her eyes, as if searching for an answer there.

"No, Clive. You know I could never hate you. I love you. Which is why I'm so afraid." She paused, and sucked in a breath that made her teeth clatter together, "If you can't kill that demon in three more bullets, I'll lose you. And that scares me—a lot."

Clive's face was once more creased by a grin, and to see him smiling made Lydia both hate him and love him all the more.

"Why are you so damn happy?" She raked her hands back through his jet-black hair. It reached down to his shoulders now, though when they begun it had barely touched his ears.

"Because, you're worrying too much. Have a little faith. I will have my revenge, and then I will bury all of this with it."

"Including the gun?"


He kissed her deeply without warning. His lips were rough and chapped and his breath was rank, but she relished the kiss. She pulled him closer, wanting more.

All thoughts of reaching town put out of mind, Clive and Lydia Kennison made love in the middle of the desert, nestled in-between two rolling sand dunes. The heat of the day had faded, and a bitter cold was beginning to take over. If during the night they froze to death and were buried under a mountain of sand, it would be all right, Lydia thought. Huddled together, they fell asleep.

Lydia's dream was the same as it had been the night before and the night before that and so on.

The demon, Varkas, stood before her with a sword dipped in blood and cackled terribly. She bolted in the other direction, running through darkened rooms and abandoned corridors. But Varkas followed, gliding along above the stacked up bodies of the dead.

Then she burst through a door into the light, and there was Clive.

He held that cursed gun—the Demon Killer. The Eversor.

They both wanted revenge, but the price was high.

Clive stood there valiantly, and she ran to join him. But Varkas appeared behind him, and she could not open her mouth to yell a warning.

She woke up for the seventh night in a row, bathed in sweat and screaming.

They both stood over the dead figure, silhouetted by the rising sun. He wore a patch over one eye, and the other was now rolled up inside his head. His once determined face was now twisted in an eternal cry, his mouth forming the shape of an O. Lydia looked down at him and could not help, but feel a swelling of pity inside. She looked over at Clive.

"I wonder who this man was, before he was taken over. He looks mean, either way," She said, hooking her arm with Clive's.

"The demon that possessed this body was evil. That's all I know. They all are."

"Clive, don't say that. You don't know—"

"Don't give me this lecture. One of these creatures, whatever they are, stole my mother from me…the woman that gave me faith in this hopeless world."

The woman at his side looked wounded a little, "Then what am I to you?"

He smiled, "I'm sorry. You know I have faith in you, too. And I love you."

Lydia gave Clive a kiss on his sun burnt forehead before pulling Clive with her, away from the sight of death. The sun had begun to thaw her out as it resumed its duty for the day.

It had been over a week since either had eaten more than dried jerky, and Lydia's body was beginning to beg for more. Likewise, she knew Clive was running on fumes.

"We have to reach town today," She said, issuing a simple nod from Clive.

Without any further conversation, they moved on, away from the resting place of the one-eyed demon and towards town, and ultimately Varkas and their journey's end.