It had been this way for me for some time, their following always hooked about the edges of my shadow. It is Jacobs himself who later at the gallows shows me the white tusk of the boar.
In darkness flight was breathless, strong fisted. The moon had lifted high above the canyon, chaparral cloaked and rock strewn. I followed down a switchback and took into a run, coyote yips clipping up from the river bed flats. Four or five or maybe a dozen, impossible to gauge, with the sound of my boot strikes filling the silence between their hungry calls.
The razor branches began to take their toll and in time I joined their chorus tangling and crying like a giddy voiced schoolboy hauled to the floor and striped raw about the shoulders.
My legs wouldn’t stop, my hands reached out as if invisibly tethered to strings dangling from the star pocked sky. The trail ran out into nothing more than a tumble of sage and the foul, brackish silt of a sulphur spring, ruinous to my plans for further travel.
First light before dawn I am waked by the bristling of a low shaggy figure picking among the dead wood of the dry creek. Instinctively, I take to the lobbing of sharp edged rocks but in my present state of lassitude am too slow to recognize their target, and watch in helpless despair as the creature bucks straight in upon me.