Liping woke with a start. Pain shot through his side. He reached to check himself but his arm was stuck. As he tried to move a foul odor collided with his nose. Blood, sweat, defecation. In a wave of panic he kicked all around him. He turned and twisted feeling facial hair, drops of cool blood ran over his eyes.

He heard shouting, and froze to listen.

“There’s one still alive in there!”

“Kill him! No one leaves!”

Liping’s panic grew. Kicking, pushing, squirming against the bodies. He could feel he was getting closer to something, and in a flash he saw the night sky as he struggled.

It pushed him on, and he went to poke his head up between two of the bodies. His side rejected the idea.

“Ahhh!” his hand shot to the wound and he sank back into the mess.

“He’s over here!”

Bang.

A shot rang out, a bullet impacted into a body on top of him. There seemed to be at least four men. Some of them armed. Liping reached around, hands molesting the corpses around him for any sort of weapon. By a stroke of luck his fingers felt the handle of a pistol. He carefully unholstered it from the dead man and prepared to get his head above the surface of the dead.

Another shot, and he could hear it shatter the skull of a body above him.

Waiting for a couple seconds, he pushed a corpse above him like a trap-door and a shield. His side fought him, making his pistol hand shake. Another shot from above the rave, and it hit his new friend.

Knowing he only had a moment to fire before the pain would overtake his senses, he fired the pistol at one of the shadowy figures at the perimeter. He fell back into bodies, and they shifted around his collapse. He slid further into them, headfirst. The smell was horrifying.

“Jesus Christ! He’s armed!” One of the men hollered.

“John I told you to take their pistols!” Another responded.

“Mr. Fu ain’t gonna like this”

Liping swam against the bodies, angling to get to the surface again. He brushed against one and hair went into his mouth. He nearly vomited, but coughed instead. The pain in his side exploded and he yelled out.

“AAArgh”

Shots rang out. Blood splattered over Liping’s hand. He recoiled in fear, wiping it against his shirt only to realize his shirt was soaked through. A hand fell from above him, the fingers running against his face.

He yelled, forgetting his wounds. Grabbing at the collar of one of the corpses, he pushed against the torso of another, rising out of the bodies. With one arm carrying a man-shield and the other a pistol, he shot at a nearby figure.

The figure yelped in pain and dropped. Liping crawled, painstakingly over to the downed man, covering himself with the found pistol.

When he reached the edge of the grave he let go of his shield and reached up to find the way out. The desert earth was above his head, he would need to stand to get out of this mess.

“John! You alright?” called a man from the opposite side.

“Ugggh

the voice came from just a few feet away from Liping. He flailed his arm up above the edge, the pistol in his hand parallel to the earth. He let off a shot in the direction of the voice and got a response.

“AHHHHH!”

There was shuffling as two other men ran along the edge of the grave.

“Son of a bitch…” Came from the injured man.

From behind Liping, the man crawled to the edge. His pistol swung into the grave along the wall, and he tried to find a target.

Liping placed his pistol against the man’s temple and fired. The man fell limp, his arm dangling, it dropped the pistol into the bodies.

Liping grabbed at the man’s arm and pleasantly found he was heavy. Using him as a rope he crawled his way out of the pit, his side burning with each tiny movement. Only a moment after getting his weight onto the earth, a shot pierced the night.

A bullet hit the downed man. Liping, using the dead man as cover, whipped his arm to rest on the man’s back, lining up a shot. A silhouette against the stars and mountains, moving in the black was all he could make out.

He fired, and the man went down.

“Gaah! God damn it! Chuck!”

The third man ran off into the desert.

“Chuck you god damned coward! The job ain’t done! He’ll kill you! He’ll kill you!”

While the man cursed his comrade Liping crawled into the night, farther into coyote territory. The injured man’s cries of pain became a distant howl. He wondered if the man might be drawing attention to the night vultures.

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