Chapter II: The Red Rooster
The drugs had begun to have an effect. The incessant chatter from the women ahead of me and the lizard’s heaving breathing produced uneasy rhythms that didn’t match, and it began affecting me more and more. Chchch-huh-chch-huh-chchchch-huh-u-huh…the pattern became random, chaotic, violent. I heard the piercing, echoing chirps of birds that rung off of the few walls that remained standing in this dead place, and my anxiety built to a dull roar as we passed by ruined home after ruined home. This had been the place where the common folk had lived before He took over and killed every living soul, and even now five years after His defeat only a few looters and distant cousins in search of a few coins or a family heirloom had touched any of what remained of the buildings.