'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Forty-nine:


   "Private property of Generic Corporation's Death
Adventure.  Get out!"

                                 - A sign on a fallen fence
that went unnoticed by
Emmerick and Kill-M-All.

   They had been walking for a very long time.  Very long.  
It was also getting dark around them in the pine forest.  
Very dark.
   "Very long," Emmerick muttered under his breath, "Very
   It was only an hour ago since they encountered that
strange man and his equally strange dog, but being lost in an
unfamiliar forest made it seem like an eternity.  Why did
they run, you may ask?  Why didn't they just use the key ring
full of car keys that Emmerick borrowed from the dead man and
driven themselves someplace less hazardous?  Even assuming
that they couldn't drive, surely that man's house was
connected to some sort of driveway or road.  Why didn't they
just follow that out to safety, you may ask as well?  Well,
who asked you?  Only kidding.
   "Glad we hastened our retreat from thy house of Hell,"
Emmerick explained while reorganizing his pack of arrows.  
"No telling how many other strange beings were in there."
   That's your answer.
   "Must ye verbalize your thoughts like that?" Kill-M-All
retorted, rather annoyed with having to spend so much time
with him.  "Give the readers some credi--"
   "What was that?!"  Emmerick leaned towards the forest to
get a better listen.  "Did ye hear it?"
   "Ye are a pain in my right nostril, ye know that?!"
Kill-M-All yelled, already getting irritated with him.  "Ye
are hearing thy things again!"
   "No, I'm not!" he yelled as he stamped up and down.  "I
heard it!"  He snapped his head to the right.  "Listen; there
it is again."  He put his hand to his ear in an elf-like
   "See!" Emmerick cried.  "It's coming from over that way!"
   Kill-M-All shrugged and they both began to walk over that
way, ignoring ten flashes of reddish light in the night sky,
followed by ten fireball-like explosions...
   They both walked into a large placard sign that read:

       "Generic Corporation's Death Adventure Safari
                    Dangerous Animals!
Please Do Not Strap Young Children to the Roof of Your Car!"

   "Oh.  How nice," they both said as one.
   "Let's get the hell out of here, hmn..." Kill-M-All
remarked as he turned to walk in the opposite direction,
presumably to the exit.  Emmerick followed close behind, just
as eager to leave.
   Again they walked into a posted sign, hidden by the
increasing darkness, this time reading:

Do NOT, Under Any Circumstances, Pour Blood on Oneself and
                Taunt the Man-eating Lions!
          There is a Chance that They May Attack.
                        Thank You."

   "Man-eating lions?"  Emmerick began to get a bad feeling
about this.  "I don't suppose that means elves, too?" he
asked hopefully.
   Kill-M-All didn't answer--he was too busy looking
straight into the eyes of a very large specimen of a
man-eating lion, just as the sign had said.  He was also
glancing at twenty to thirty of the lion's cousins.  This is
not looking good, he thought.  He nudged Emmerick in the
   "What?" Emmerick yelled as he spun around.  The rest of
his words died in his throat.  "Oh..."
   As one, all the lions growled, the sound of many, many
hunger pangs.  It wasn't a nice sound--a bit unnerving at the
least.  The biggest lion started to advance slowly...
   "Do you think we can take them all?" Emmerick asked,
drawing his short sword.
   Kill-M-All didn't answer.  He withdrew his magic sword,
hoping to take out as many as he could before the man and elf
eating lions overcame him, tearing the flesh from his bones
and removing many vital organs.
   "At least we are not covered with blood..." Emmerick
glumly chuckled, a bleak last minute attempt at humor.
   "We soon will be."