Bill was falling. He did not know how long he had been falling. He did not know from where he had fallen, or where he was falling to, all he knew was he was falling. He fell past memories in quick succession. One after another passing before his gaze. Each one taking a lifetime and an instant in the same moment. He saw himself. A child, then a teenager, then an adult, then in the wasteland. All these things moved past him with due deference and disappeared into the darkness from which he fell. Then he saw it. The final memory. A barrel, wreathed in flame, spitting death into his very person. He felt his leg shatter under the weight of the ignorance which had launched his demise, but it wasn’t his leg, he did not have a leg made of metal.
His contemplation was broken by the sudden end of his falling. He lay upon the ground for an eternity, a cold chill creeping through him with every passing thought. He was tired, so tired. He could not even bring himself to lift his head. He felt alone and lost. Absent of any reason which could aid him in finding his place in the landscape. The ground beneath him was cold, hard and rang with a metallic echo. He could hear the distant sound of voices. Imperceptible utterances carried by the wind. Dread and fear held him to the ground. It took the sound of footsteps to make him lift his gaze. A great sandstorm blew around him, blurring his vision on all sides. From with the storm approached a figure. A giant of a man, at least 6’5", with the appearance of a villain and thug. He looked as though he was built of solid muscle and was more than capable of withstanding any blow. He stopped before the sprawled figure of bill and looked upon him with pity.
“Why have you come to torment me” cried out Bill in his despair.
“I have not” Replied the figure “I have been sent to aid you. To led you through these lands to the safety and solace which lies beyond”
“Leave me spirit. I am not yet done” Bill retorted defiantly “I shall not go with you to the next world. I shall remain until my task is done”
“That path is arduous and long” replied the spirit “you do not have the strength to go it alone. I shall aid you if I can, if you will accept it”
“I will” murmured Bill
The figure bent his knee to Bill and offered him his hand. “Then we must begin now, before your strength fades. I shall be your guide and master. Your sword and shield”
Bill took his hand and rose to his feet.
“Spirit, by what name shall I know you”
The spirit smiled a little “I was once Known, as John Hunt”