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"The Blood Drip" by Brian Evenson

"The Blood Drip" by Brian Evenson 

I read this in the December issue of Nightmare magazine.  It was orginally published in Granta Magazine. 

Two men are lost in the woods and find a town.  They approach the town and just as they get near the walls they are attacked.  Rocks are hurled at them from up above and one of them, Nils, gets hit in the head and drops.  The other guy, Karsen, runs for his life leaving Nils laying next to the town wall.  After Karsen finds safetey he reconsiders his actions. 

Karsen goes back for Nils, but in the process is knocked out cold by a rock to the head.  He wakes up to find his head covered in blood.  Ahead of him he sees a big bloody spot where Nils should have been, but is nowhere to be seen.  Karsen gets up and makes a run for it.  He heads into the forest and tries to head east.  He eventually gets lost and darkness is approaching.  He uses one of his last 3 matches to start a fire, and then falls asleep. 

When karsen wakes up the ground around him, and his hair, are on fire.  After he puts out the fire, he lays down and sleeps again.  During his sleep he has a dream.  He has a dream that he is someone else, but still himself.  They are riding horses, and the man just ahead of him is shot in the leg and losing mass amounts of blood.  It soon starts dripping off the horse in the shape of a snow angel.  When he awakes he finds his friend Nils in a tree dripping blood, but seems to be alive.  And he soon finds out that he is more than just his friend, and knows more than he lets on. 

This story was interesting.  I like how the writer introduced the characters.  You quickly sense what kind of man Karsen is and how he feels about his friends.  The writer does a great job of using description and I could really see the blood dripping and sense what it felt like. 

With the two men running to a town to be saved and then stoned begs the question what is the town and what are they guarding?  Are they guarding anything at all or defending something?  The story really starts going after Nils gets hit in the head and drops.  At first you think it will turn into a rescue situation.  Then the story makes a turn and takes you on a survival story.  Then when you least expect it  you do a 180 degree turn and your left thinking in existential terms of life and death.

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