Story Time: “Blood on the Sand”

Blood on the Sand

Leandra Ranger

   There’s blood on the sand.

   My blood’s on the sand…

   I’m on the sand.  I should probably get-Alicander’s helmet clanged against the ground as his opponent’s lasso tightened impossibly about his ankles.  The sudden yank on his legs caused Alicander to lose his trident as his head reverberated in his helmet, drowning out the screams of the crowd.  His feet scrabbled fruitlessly against the ground in an attempt to combat the strength of the younger man.  Blood-red flowers blossomed on his calves and knees by the time the pulling stopped.

Alicander’s opponent, a laquerarius, loomed over him, blocking the sun.  He leaned over threateningly, faking a stab to the applause of the crowd.

“Get up, old man,” murmured the laquerarius softly, “and die on your feet.”

The laquerarius was young.  He hadn’t lost yet.  He didn’t know how hard it was to stand with your head pounding and your joints aching and the crowd cheering for your opponent and no skin on your knees.  Alicander was too old, and he knew too well.

He could stay down.  The laquerarius would kill him either way.  It would just be a less interesting fight.

For the last twenty years of his life, Alicander’s job had been to provide interesting fights.  Old habits were hard to break.

He stood up.


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