The coachman had argued with the passengers about setting out from the inn the night before. His horses were exhausted from the previous days' slog through the mud and the conditions on the roads had been steadily worsening.
It hadn't been too bad at first. Summer had baked the roads hard so as the rain began to fall it just ran off. But, as the rain continued to fall, the roads had absorbed water and softened, eventually becoming just muddy tracks.
The coach's passengers had argued and argued until finally one had simply paid the coachman a little extra gold. He'd pocketed the crowns and relented.
It was the worst decision he could have made.
The going had been slow all day, the horses struggling to drag the coach through the mire. It was starting to darken now and the coachman reckoned that they were still at least five miles from the next coaching inn, and that wasn't even the inn he'd been hoping to reach.
As the coach rocked and jolted from side-to-side, potholes invisible in the muddy track, the coachman was forced to pull to a stop. The horses were exhausted, steaming in the rain, but worse still, a tree had fallen across the track. The ground so soft that the roots had pulled up and the tree had toppled.
The only possibility was to unhitch the horses and use them to drag the tree out of the way.
The coachman, rain running from his tricorn, lifted his guttering lamp from its bracket and climbed down from his seat. He informed the passengers of the problem and set to work. No point in asking any of this lot for help - he knew he wouldn't get it.
As his numb fingers wrestled with the wet, slippery buckles and straps of the harness, the horses started stamping nervously. Looking up, it was impossible to see anything through the rainy darkness. Nothing could be heard apart from the whickering of the jittery team.
A scream from one of the passengers split the air as, simultaneously, the horses started to panic. The coachman backed away from the rearing team in case they crushed him. As he stumbled backward he slipped in the mud and fell backwards.
Cursing, he tried to gain his feet but slipped again.
A hand reached out towards him, so he grasped it, grateful for the help.
It came off in his hand, with a shower of maggots and a sucking sound. The charnel stench overrode the smell of wet loam.
He attempted to use the zombie's arm as a club to batter away his attacker, but it fell apart after the first swing, leaving just a few meatless fingers in his hand.
His last sight was of the eyeless face of the zombie as it too slipped in the mud and fell on top of him and sank its ragged teeth into his throat.
A long-overdue project for me was to dust-off and bring up to scratch a Vampire Count army that I bought from eBay and which sat in boxes in the loft for several years. Here are my efforts so far:
|Unit Fillers/Objective Markers|