Long Hunt (9781101559208)

Long Hunt (9781101559208) by Cameron Judd Read Free Book Online

Book: Long Hunt (9781101559208) by Cameron Judd Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cameron Judd
was that it was as if he was in the base of a funnel, his weight pulling him downward into the tightest part of it, his left leg already hopelessly wedged into the funnel’s hole, and pulverized. Miserable throbs of torment came up from that leg in waves, filling him again and again, building upon itself.
    He heard himself scream and his voice seemed louder than it should have been. He opened his eyes just as a pale wash of light came down upon him. Looking up, Littleton saw an irregular circle of sky. It was night and the moon had just moved past the black edge surrounding the circle, and it was that light he had just seen.
    It came back to him then: the memory of being on the bluff, of his tense words with Gilly Cobble, and Gilly’s treachery in pushing him over the bluff. This “funnel” around him was the lower portion of a pit into which he had plunged feetfirst, and the hole of the funnel was simply a crevice in the rock that was too small to accommodate his hips and upper body, but which had received his left foot and leg easily, though destroying both flesh and bone from the knee down. Littleton’s right leg, amazingly, had found a resting place in a smooth recess in the stone wall, and seemed uninjured, though the pain radiating from his destroyed left limb was so intense he could hardly tell what was hurting and what was not.
    How long had he been down here? It was afternoon when Gilly had pushed him over, but now it was dark. He might have been here for hours, bleeding from that shattered leg. God above, it hurt! How it hurt! He was quite sure that his shinbone was broken clean through with the broken end protruding through his flesh. Torn and bleeding flesh was all that kept his ankle and foot connected to his body.
    But his arms were free, and maybe, if he could find purchase to push himself up, he could pull out of the terrible pinch. Then maybe it would hurt less . . . but he would still be trapped in this pit. And Gilly, he was sure, was gone by now, probably hoping and assuming Littleton was dead.
    It was that thought that gave Littleton the will to place his hands on the rock and give his body a heave upward. The only result was a horrible intensifying of his pain, a throb of agony pulsing up from the ruined leg. Littleton screamed and fainted, and when he came around again, he knew he could not be freed from this place. He would die here simply because it hurt too terribly to try to pull his leg free.
    His right hand flopped limply and touched something . . . the grip of the butcher knife he always carried. Another throb of pain came and he knew this could not go on. If he was to die here, he would rather do it fast, to ease the suffering. And he would rather die by a hand other than that of Gilly. That betraying killer did not merit the achievement of causing his death. Littleton would do the job himself.
    With effort he worked the knife from its sheath . . . and dropped it. Reflexively reaching after it, he inflicted another jolt of suffering upon himself, and groaned loudly in his constricting prison of rock.
    â€œSo thirsty,” he whispered. “Hurting . . . and so thirsty !”
    Despite the discomfort that groping for the knife had caused, he had managed to get it. He moved it into position against his chest, pressing the tip of it against his flesh until he could feel the pulsing of his heart vibrating the blade—then, hesitation.
    Littleton was no praying man, but his eyes drifted skyward and he stared at the moon through tears. “I . . . I don’t want to die, God,” he said. “But I hurt so bad . . . and if I don’t do this, I’ll die anyway, just longer and slower and hurting worse, and I can’t bear it. Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for what I’ve got to do.”
    His leg throbbed worse than ever now, and he sobbed.
    Pressing harder with the knife, he wondered how badly it would hurt when he pushed the metal into his heart; but as

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