I've seen people cook these without draining em. Not me. Besides there are uses for that venom. I try to drain any that's left in the sack into whatever small container I have handy. This one only had a little. It was enough though if it had gotten close enough to score a hit. Stuff can paralyze a horse. If they can catch the horse. Most horses seem to have a sixth sense about these lizards.
Love the taste. That's the lizard not the horse.
Don't ask me what it taste like. I don't like chicken. Come to think of it this stuff is more like the marrow from that bone in the round steak. A little rich. You can only eat so much. But these lizards usually aren't any bigger than a cat. Cats like the lizard meat too. But, I've seen a few get on the wrong end of the deal. It's not pretty.
I lick some of the juices off my hand. The fire crackles and sparks. My other hand withdraws quickly. I've cut most of what I'll eat off. It's spread out on the flat part of the wood I call my plate. Sitting on my haunches well away from the radiating heat I nibble. When I look up Michelle shifts her weight. I think she's been sitting there waiting for me to offer her part of my kill. I point the knife at the fire. I say, "I was gonna save the legs for Jason. I know how much he likes them." Mich's nose wrinkles and the look of disgust tells me the legs are safe. I say,"Oh. Sorry I should have offered some of this." I separate the remaining chunks half and half and hold out the plate.
Mish puts her nose up and kicks at the dirt. Some of the dirt goes into the fire. She turns and starts to walk away. Without turning back she shouts, "You people are disgusting. I don't know how you can eat that crap. Those lizards and the disgusting..."
I offer, "Insects."
She says, "No! Those maggots. You eat insects too?"
I have to think about the maggots thing. Then I say, "Oh, the grubs. Sure those are good for you. And, It's mostly the larger insects. They have extra flavor."
She's almost running now. I can hear Mish choking or screaming. "Ahhhhhhhhhh..."
I hear someone laughing. Looking towards the sound I see Ted is standing shirtless with a jug under his arm. He's leaning up against a fragile tree. His feet are all clomping down on some green vines. I fix him with a remonstrant stare. I say, "It's really not that funny you know. She shouldn't be out here if she can't contribute. More so if she can't stomach the things we bring to the table."
Ted says, "She's a hoot. You were supposed to bring her up something from the bar." He uncorks the jug and takes a long swig.
I pull my eyes back and upward. "Oops. I forgot." I point at the flat thing on the fire with the legs lightly scorched. "I did bring that though, Jason doesn't have to have the legs."
Ted rolls his eyes and says, "Like she's ever going to touch that stuff."
I look at his jug and say, "Maybe if you could get her to drink some of that she wouldn't be so averse."
He hugs his jug more tightly. Now he has nasty looks for me. He says, "She starts in on my stash and I'll deliver her back to her mom and dad."
Shaking my head I say, "She didn't run away. They booted her. She doesn't have many options."
Ted grumbles, "As opposed to you who have parents who posted your picture before they discovered you weren't interested in being found."
I divert my gaze to the fire. Watching the flame inhale and exhale. I say, "Yeah, well. It wouldn't be a problem if I'd been brought up the sensible way. I'm not even sure how you can call people parents when they not only don't have your genes, but they have no clue how to parent someone."
Ted says, "Maybe you should cut them some slack."
That makes me growl. I say, "Maybe you shouldn't drink that stuff in the daytime when it can suck the water out of you. You'll pass out somewhere where no one notices and my next lunch will drag you off somewhere."
Ted shrugs his shoulders and says, "Circle of life, ya gotta love it."
I hear a rustling of the nearby foliage and start to wheel around. Ted shouts out, "Oh, welcome back Jase, you're early. Thought you was gonna work all weekend. What's that you brought back with you?"
I turn in time to have Mr. Dalton Greymare thrown almost at my feet. His hands are behind him. When his forward motion pushes him to his knees I have to stick mine out to keep his face from hitting the ground. His clothes are all dusty. His face and arms are scratched up a bit. When I take a closer look I can see the heavy duty plastic tie that's binding his hands together. I look up at Jason ready to ask him what the deal is but I have to stop and turn away. I'm almost laughing.
Jason is also covered in scratches. It looks like the bramble attacked both of these guys. But, Jason has a black eye too. Bramble doesn't usually do that. When I look back down on the captive I notice he has a shitty grin on his face and his eyes are staring at my thigh. Jason lowers the antique weapon he's pointing at Dalton. He scowls and says, "Good you can torture him for a while."
I nod at the rifle. "Where'd you get that? My dad has one like it. It's in a glass case. Like it's something valuable. Only takes it out to clean it."
Jason looks at the rifle with what seems like added respect. He smiles and says, "Got it as a sort of bonus on my last job."
I say, "Nice bonus." Reaching down I hook the tie and pull out my knife. I say, "Enuff horsing around. We should let Mr. Greymare go."
Jason looks at me with quizzical eyes. Then he nods and pulls a wallet from his pocket and says, "You know him? I guess that would be about right. Being he's from your home world. Don't cut him loose until I have a moment to find out why he ambushed me." His hand has stopped my knife before reaching the plastic.
"Ambush?" I raise my eyebrows. I don't know if I should be impressed or confused. I look at those boots again while Jason tosses the wallet at me. I catch it and look down to Dalton, who seems happy to rest his head on my thigh, I say, "Escura Luz, is this some joke. A fake ID. Greymare from Escura Luz. Lord Greymare?"
His shoulders shrug and Dalton says, "I am but a shadow of my former self."
That hits home. The clones that are brought up after their namesake has passed away are religiously taught to view their life that way. I throw the wallet down and say, "Yeah, a shadow full of crap maybe."
He doesn't say anything so I grasp his wrist and tear him away from his comfort zone.
Jason says, "I didn't know you had lords on the clone worlds."
I look Dalton in the eyes. Yeah there it is or isn't. There's no fear. He has a neck chain. I pull at it and it pops out with a small tube floating at the end. These are used to scab off a chunk of flesh to go to the vats when Dalton has any sort of death, untimely or otherwise. Most of the clans closer to the central cities keep some on file. Some like the ones in the region of Escura Luz don't have that much luxury. And some choose to wait until the event happens. They have been known to lose a part of their line that way. He still looks too soft to me. But I now have a little more respect for him.
Letting out a long breath I say, "So what are you doing here?"
Almost bordering on glib Dalton says, "Your friend here dragged me."
Shaking my head I say, "Not here, here. Why are you on New Terra? I always thought mom and dad were just being paranoid that someone was going to come out here looking for us."
Dalton fixes me with a cold stare before he turns his head and over his shoulder he says,"You should have killed me out there when you had the chance." Jason just looks confused. Dalton turns back to me. He says, "Your parents are dead."
My heart sinks and I have no idea why.
It's quiet for a long time. Jason seems to be on the edge. He's holding the rifle as though he's going to throttle it or maybe strike Dalton with the stock. Unsure of which, I hold up my hand and say,"You don't want to mar that if it's valuable." I stare at Dalton while a moist glimmer of a tear is trying to make itself in the corner of my eye.
Dalton looks once more over his shoulder and then address's me again. "They were murdered three days ago. I arrived here yesterday. I picked up the perpetrators trail by evening. They went to ground and I spent the night at your nice tavern. I almost missed his flight out this way but i was able to get up there on Jerry's truck so I could intercept him."
Gasping once I say, "What are you talking about?"
Jason takes this moment to bring the rifle to bear down on Dalton's kidney. Dalton's knees start to buckle but he holds his stance. He grits his teeth and says, "You should really take a closer look at that weapon."
Jason brings the rifle up, I try to grab the barrel and pull him towards me. He lets off a shot that nearly deafens me. He pushes me aside trying to rip the rifle from my hands. He tries to point it at Dalton with me still holding onto it. I grasp my knife and swing it out towards Jason's face. Jason brings up a hand to his face and he steps back. It probably felt like he was stung. He looks at the blood on his finger and starts to move forward again with the rifle.
I grit my teeth and say, "You should probably get down to the river and wash that out." I let my eyes wander to the fire where the charbroiled lizard sits over the dying embers."
Jason looks, his eyes widen and he drops the rifle and runs almost in the same direction Mich had gone.
I wheel around and grasp the front of Dalton's shirt. I pull him closer and say, "Alright, while he's busy you better start talking fast."
When he remains mute I nudge him."Better hurry before he realizes that knife didn't have any venom on it."
Copyright 2012 J.L. Dobias