[This is a continuation from yesterday's piece; read it first [clickable link] if you haven't. I try to make most of these things stand alone stories, but this is the story on my mind so it's coming at ya in pieces.]
The rusted tin shack moved subtly but implacably, a counterpoint to the turning of the Earth. It never left the shadow of that lonely leaning spire. The door was cold to the touch, Rutherford noted with a sigh. This wouldn’t be pleasant; the insides probably wouldn’t make much sense, and their clothes were still soaked in frog snot.
“Out of the fire and into an icebox I guess,” he muttered. Sandra Ellen was beside him, pitching a fit or casting a spell or some damn thing. He really wasn’t sure.
Her eyes were rolled back in her head, her fingers scribbled in the sand, and she kept muttering in Latin or Greek or pure damn gibberish for all he knew.
He sighed again then went rummaging through the sack tied to his belt. He should’ve brought more water or less whiskey. Nah, he decided, I got the whiskey part right.
Suddenly, Sandra turned to the side and began to heave violently. It took some time, but eventually she vomited up a terrible tangle of snakes.
“Watch where they go!” she barked breathlessly before passing out.
Rutherford took a fortifying tug then did what he was told.
The snakes took off in all directions leaving behind too-deep ruts in the coarse desert sand. He tried to follow them all as best he could. The snakes ignored him generally and continued to weave their strange circuitous routes. He hoped between them from group to group dashing madly back and forth, until the birds arrived.
A diving desert hawk took a piece of Rutherford’s left ear on its way to one of the snakes. A heartbeat later, an eagle took a snake to his right. The rain of birds continued for several harrowing minutes.
Sandra Ellen awoke to find herself in the center of a maze of crisscrossing snake trails punctuated by blood stained sand.
“It’s a map, ain’t it?” asked Rutherford.
“So it seems.”
“I’m guessing yer friend isn’t home.”
“Well let’s get goin’. If we wait too long, the slime’ll dry, and everybody knows bein' comfortable is bad luck.”