Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Faerie Hunter - Chapter 4: Goblin Ambush

The wild face staring at me turned panicky, and I blinked hard to clear my eyes as the adrenaline washed over me. When I opened them again, it was gone. I jumped up into a crouching position on the bed and looked around the room. There was no one there. My eyes scanned it quickly, searching for the intruder. Suddenly something moved in my peripheral. I spun my head toward it, but there was nothing there. It was just a trick of my eyes. I stood up and something trickled down my neck. I reached my hand up to feel it. It was blood.

Now my mind was racing, and excitement built up in me. I looked around the room again, this time staring intently at every little thing in it. The nearly full moon was shining into the room, making strange shadows I kept jumping at, thinking it was the man. As I gazed intently at a picture of an 18th century ship on the wall as if it was about to come alive and sail into the room, I saw what I thought was a short man in the corner of my eye, but when I looked straight at the spot, there was nothing. I ran toward it and felt the wall behind where I thought I had seen the man. Feeling foolish once I realized there was nothing there, I turned around to look at the rest of the room.

"Just my imagination," I said out loud, trying to convince myself of that fact, but the shadows kept jumping out at me, and my eyes darted here and there still trying to figure out what was going on. Finally I closed my eyes to clear my head, but the face with the black eyes stared at me from the darkness.

"Nothing but a bad dream," I muttered squeezing my eyes harder and trying to think about something calming, like ocean waves. But mermaids kept popping up on rocks behind the beach. I shook my head to get rid of that thought. The image of the eyes staring at me came back to me. It seemed too real to be part of a nightmare.

A rustling sound caught my attention, and I opened my eyes quickly to look in that direction. This time the man was really there, straight in front of me on the other side of the room, looking at me as if surprised that I could see him. I rushed at him, and he drew out a short knife with a blade on one end, and jagged shards shooting out the other end. I didn't see it in time to move, and he slashed the blade across my bare chest. Pain tore through my brain, but I ignored it, and with my left hand grabbed hold of his knife arm, smashing his wrist against the wall. The knife went flying away. I threw a punch with my right, and the man crumpled on the floor. I jumped on him, holding his arms down with my legs.

"Who are you?" I yelled as he struggled to get free. "What are you after?" I noticed for the first time that his teeth were sharp and pointed. His slight body, hardly more than half my weight as well as several inches shorter, was covered only in a loosely fitting band t-shirt and plain blue jeans. There was a bulge in his front pocket, and I reached in and found the wad of bills James had given me.

"So you're just a common thief, then?"

"No!" he said nervously, in a high, raspy voice. "I mean, yes! I just came for the money, I'm sorry!"

"What do you mean, no and yes?" I asked, now suspicious of his motives.

"Nothing!" he squealed as I pressed down hard on his neck. "Just a little disoriented from being sat on, you know."

"Sorry if I don't trust you. You were standing over me with a knife to my neck and all."

He gave a funny snort, and I realized he was laughing. "Well, it's not me you have to worry about."

I loosened my grip a bit. "What do you mean?"

His gaze turned meaningfully to the doorway. I looked where he was looking, and with a shock, realized that voices and noises were coming from the other side of the door. It sounded like a whole group of people had just come into the house. Fear swept over me as I realized that Sally and my dad were both in danger. Suddenly, while I was distracted, the man twisted his body and kicked my groin. The wind was knocked out of me, but I knew that I only had one chance to take this man down before he got out the door and warned whoever else was out there. I took a deep breath, trying to ignore the throbs of pain and the desire to vomit.

The man was crawling toward his knife. I grabbed his leg and pulled him back, then stood up, and aimed a kick at his stomach. He rolled over, and my foot hit air. He then jumped to his feet with more agility than I expected. I gathered my strength and aimed a kick at his face. It connected, and he fell to the ground, hitting his face on one of the bed posts on the way down.

I leaned over him. He was unconscious, but still breathing; his face was bleeding, and a large bruise was forming over his eye.

All the pain I had been holding back came over me again, and I knelt to the ground for a second before I forced myself to remember that Sally and my dad were in danger. I stood up, took my pocketknife from my dresser, and went over to the door. After drawing in a quick breath, I opened it.

There in front of me was another man, the same size as the one laying unconscious in my room. The word "goblin" suddenly popped into my head. He turned to me, slowly it seemed, but it was really only a split second. There was no time to think about consequences: there were voices in the kitchen, and I needed stealth if I wanted to keep Sally and my dad safe. I leaped toward him and stabbed my knife into his chest, holding my hand over his mouth and letting him drop slowly to the ground. I didn't have time to consider what I had done, but slipped into my dad's room which was just next to mine.

My dad was lying on the bed, a goblin standing over him, choking him while my dad tried vainly to shove him off. I ran toward him, but something tripped me, and I stumbled to the ground. As I spun onto my back, a goblin who had followed me into the room jumped on top of me wielding a knife and screaming at me. I kicked up hard with my legs, flinging the goblin over me. Quickly I jumped to a stand as the goblin scrambled to his feet.

Suddenly I heard a whistle blow from the other room, and the two goblins in the room suddenly ran out of the door, leaving my dad and I alone. I ran to my dad, who was breathing heavily.

"Dad! Are you okay?" I looked down at him. His arm was bleeding badly, and one of his legs was broken.

He struggled to regain his breath, and I put my hand on his arm to try to stop the bleeding. He shoved my hand off and put his own there.

"Sally—" was all he could manage to say. And suddenly fear leapt into me and I raced away from him and into Sally's room. It had been ransacked, and Sally was nowhere to be found.

"Sally!" I yelled at the top of my lungs as I raced through the house, looking for her in vain. But I knew where she was. I nearly kicked down the back door as I ran to the porch and looked toward the ocean. I heard a scream, and saw a group of people running fast away from the house. I leaped over the porch rail, not bothering to use the steps, and sprinted toward the ocean.

They were far away, and I was only gaining slowly. Panic rose as I knew that I couldn't keep up a sprint forever. I closed my eyes for a moment and steeled myself, thinking only of Sally and what they planned to do with her. I sped up. Finally, the goblins were getting closer. I saw Sally in the middle of them, being carried by one of the goblins. Some glanced back worriedly at intervals. Suddenly, when I was only a few yards away, two turned around. I couldn't stop in time, and they slashed at me with knives as I passed them. I kept running, ignoring the burning in my sides. I had fallen back many yards, and I braced myself against my will and ran faster.

A cliff rose on my left and the beach narrowed. As I neared the goblins once again, three of them turned to face me. This time I was prepared, and they were the ones surprised as my knife found an eye on one, the neck on another, and slashed across the chest of the third. I kept running, but now I was even further behind, and my legs were wobbling. I gritted my teeth and ran on, but I could barely keep up with the pace of the goblins. Suddenly, a few hundred feet ahead, the cliff swung out into the water, effectively walling the goblins in. Hope rose in me as I thought that I had them trapped, and I sped up, spurred on by the thought.

But as I leaped over a pile of debris that lay across the beach, I saw that there was a rope ladder up the cliff, and the goblins were climbing it, escaping. Sally let out a yell as the goblin who was carrying her reached the top and threw her roughly onto the ground. I rushed toward the wall, reaching the ladder just as the last goblin was halfway up. I started climbing, but when I was twenty feet up, it was cut from the top, and I fell hard on the beach sand.

I cursed loudly and looked for another way up, but the face was clear of handholds. Suddenly I heard a loud roar from above and behind me. I turned and looked up, but saw nothing. The shriek sounded again, and I froze in fear. Without warning the debris I had jumped over burst into flame, and even though it was a hundred feet away, I felt the heat and began to sweat. The beach lit up menacingly, flickering as if the sand and the cliff were on fire too.

The roar came again, and I looked up, still seeing nothing. Suddenly I realized I had been set up, that this was an ambush. I looked out to the water. Waves crashed onto sharp rocks, making it too dangerous to swim. Behind me was an unscalable cliff, and in front of me a line of blazing fire. Above me flew some horrible creature, and I was armed only with a pocket knife. I was trapped.

A steady beating sound grew louder and louder in my ears. Wind rushed down on me from above. I looked up slowly as a large silhouette descended. The firelight reflected off the creature's scales, which covered its entire body from its long neck to its hulking stomach. The ground shook as it landed in front of me. I lost my footing and fell to the ground as its large, hideous eyes stared at me, laughing silently at my impending defeat as it looked down upon me. Its huge body took up most of the space between me and the fire, its tail nearly grazing the fire while its head was only a few feet in front of me. The wings folded into its side, and I knew what it was, though I had never before seen one. It was a dragon.


  1. I am eagerly waiting the next chapter. Any idea when you might post it? JW. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for reading Rebecca! I'm deeply sorry for the long and unannounced hiatus. I just started up work for the season (mowing) and have had some long weeks. But from now on I'm supposed to have four ten hour days with Friday through Sunday off. So hopefully I'll post a chapter today or tomorrow, and then it should be weekly again. I haven't forgotten!!