Kiena was washing the laundry in the river when she saw the giant man coming though the tree’s diving down behind a bush to hide. Her heart raced, pounding so hard she feared it would give her away.
He paused, scanning the surroundings his hand instinctively going to his sword, he was a warrior by his gait but more than that he was one of ‘them’ and he knew she was there.
“Chris” he called…
She stayed silent…. Quiet as mouse only daring to move when he approached her hiding spot and staying still would have threatened to give her away.
Scampering on hands and knees she moved as quickly and as quietly as she could out of his path cursing silently as he turned, he could hear her she only prayed he thought her an animal.
Suddenly a thought struck her…… She hoped it wasn’t hungry.
“Chris” it called again.
What was that… some hunting call, a name perhaps? Was it calling for more of its kind, she prayed it wasn’t.
Suddenly her heart sank as she watched him head towards the river, her eye’s darting towards the pile of washing… it was too late he was going to see them.
Scrambling to her feet, there was no point hiding. Kneeing down he picked up her apron she didn’t stay to see what he did with it.
She literally collided with the front door, tumbling into the hut she ran to the bed.
“What am I going to do with you?” she whimpered at the young man lying on her bed. He’d not yet regained consciousness, his skin was pale and the fever still had him in its grips. The slightest movement re-opened the wound in his chest and she was sure he’d died at least a dozen times.
She couldn’t move him, she couldn’t risk it.
They never came this far west…. They never scaled the waterfall…. Why had it come? What was it looking for? “Is it looking for you?” she begged, the unconscious man “Did it do this to you?” Of course it must have it was the only explanation.
She always known they were there, he father had told her the story and of course she heard them baying in the darkness.
The flesh eaters… lupus … half men half wolf. Eaters of souled… but she’s only encountered them once before……
Fear gripping her she darted to the window peering out across the glen, her eye’s scanning the charm’s her father had hung from the tree’s bone and feather they warded the place from evil she only hoped they would be enough to keep the creature out.
She wished her father was her… she missed him terribly, it been 6….. perhaps 7 years since he’d died and left her here all alone. It could have have been even longer than that… it was hard to track the years these days, the only thing that mattered was season’s each year the same… scrounge what you could during the warmer seasons and save it for when the snow came.
Watching the giant enter the glen, she reached for her knife…
Her father told her that should he ever come, she should kill herself, last time it had caught her unawares…. “Better that” he said “Than spend what little life it left her, raped and beaten forced to bare it’s bastards” and oh how true that was.
Glancing towards the young man… she began to cry. She didn’t want to die… but than that she didn’t know if she had the strength she needed to kill the young man she’d cared for, for all these weeks.
Suddenly she made a rash decision, running quickly to the bed she grabbed the young man roughly dragging him with a thump down onto the floor. He didn’t stir not even when his head banged against to floor with a crack.
She let out a short wail, as she watched a red stain bled out across her father’s shirt, but as a knock came at the door she ignored it shoving the young man with all her strength beneath the bed.
Another knock came louder this time, reaching for her knife again she tucked it in her belt and cautiously headed to the door. “What do you want?” she called, terrified.
“I’m sorry to trouble you Lass… can we speak” a gruff male voice asked.
Briefly she re-considered the option of killing herself, but instead opened to door, just a crack. Her hand not straying for a moment, from her knife.
“What do you want” she asked trying not the let her voice waver.
Peering cautiously at the large man. She looked for clues… and then she saw it, a large bow slung over the man’s shoulder. ‘The bow’ no doubt… the bow that had launched the arrow that had taken her 3 hours to dig out of the young mans chest.
“Yer alrite Lass… I ain’t here to hurt ya. Ter be honest im surprised to find anyone out here…”
“We don’t have many visitor’s” she nodded, “How can I help you?”
“Aye im not surprised, had to damn near climb down a waterfall to reach you” he smiled. “Im wonderin if you can help me, I’m looking for a lad … a young man, he’ll be injured or dead. I don’t suppose you’ve seen one?”
“No” she replied “No one comes this way, but I’ll be sure to ask my Pa, an husband” she lied, “They should be home soon, any minute in fact”
“He’s a young lad lass, it’s very important we find him alive or dead. Can you ask your Pa to keep an eye out for me?”
“I will” she agreed, her eye’s darting towards the bed as the large man peer past her into the small cabin beyond.
She breathed a sigh of relief as the large man nodded and turned away to leave.