Nocturnal encounter

Nocturnal Encounter

        By Laurie Rose Reeves

The still of the night does not go unnoticed by Grrogggg. Though lying by the fire, his hand remains on his weapon. One never knows when it might come in handy. Scrrraaaaffek is snoring lightly from the other side of the fire. Sklipp, the youngest of the group, is tossing and turning, this being his first battle. He has much to think about and much to learn. Barely discernable, a twig cracks. Grrrog’s hand tightens on his weapon. He sees that the others now have their hands on their weapons. This day is not over. How nice it will be to return to the swamp. Another twig……….”

***

A yelp from the other side of the forest had the entire party on their feet.  A pack of four-legged beasts shot from behind them towards the forest where the sounds had resounded.  Their foes lurched forward as well, just 50 or so feet from the party.  The four-legged beasts were grotesquely muscular, with huge fangs protruding 5 inches from their muzzles.  The beasts stood up to a troll’s chest.  Scrrraaaffek whispered, “I fed one of those beasts last night by the river.  I threw him the last of the meat from my plate.”  The party stood agog at the massacre as “their beasts” tore apart the threat that would have surely finished them all. 

dire wolves  (click this link to see a picture of dire wolves by David Ullery, a Trollhalla artist.)

 From behind the melee, another threat stepped forward as giants stepped forward. Formidable, these giants were, with maces bigger than any of the trolls’ heads.  Upon seeing that their beasts had been torn to pieces, the giants stopped to size up the situation.  17 beasts stood in front of Grrrogggg’s party, snarling formidably at the giants.  The giants, 8 in number, knew that they were outnumbered.  For now.  The leader grunted a command and the giant group turned to leave.  The giant leader stared down at Grrogggg. This leader had seen many battles.  He had a scar running down from his hairline to his ear and then to just near his right eye.  That had to hurt.  His left arm had a scar, not too old, going from his elbow to wrist. 

Grrrogggg realized he knew him from somewhere.  Where?  The giant leader pointed at Grrrroggg as if to say, “I will get you later.”  He then turned and left, his immense stature taking him close to the branches of the tall trees.  The beasts wearily approached the party and sat in a circle just in the outskirts of where Grrroggg and his warriors stood.  Grrroggg reached into his pack and threw out some dried meat to the apparent leader of the pack.  Grrroggg stepped closer, as did the leader.  Grrroggg reached out, the pack leader drew closer.  Grrroggg put his hand on the leader’s shoulder, “Thank you, my friend.  We surely would have perished had you not helped us.”  The pack leader snorted slightly then bowed to Grrroggg.  Why, why did he assume a subservient position?  The group decided to move on to a more secure position.  In finding a a cave, they found it a defendable position, the trees and forest about 50 yards away, it leaves some space between the unknown.  The group gave the beasts some more meat, built a fire and laid to rest for a few hours.  They knew the beasts were watching out.   Grrroggg took a last look at the darkness of the trees.  The vines hanging down reminded him of his childhood, playing on the vines with some who were in his party even now.

***

Though lying by the fire, his hand remains on his weapon. One never knows when it might come in handy. Scrrraaaaffek is snoring lightly from the other side of the fire. Sklipp, the youngest of the group, is tossing and turning, this being his first battle. He has much to think about and much to learn. Barely discernable, a twig cracks. Grrrog’s  hand tightens on his weapon. He sees that the others now have their hands on their weapons. This day is not over. How nice it will be to return to the swamp. Another twig……….”

_______________________________________________________________________

Life is made up of many tiny stories.  Just goes to show, life is better with friends, and even trolls have friends.

From trolls and wolves and giants let’s move on to fish.  Again, we are talking life and death.

________________________________________________________________

 

Just Say No

    by Ken St. Andre

Preface: Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fish?

I want to tell you a fish story.

 

Splish!

“What’s that?”

‘Don’t know.  Over there, by the smooth stone.’

“Looks a bit like worms  Nice brown worms.”

‘Looks kinda good.  Maybe we should go over and nibble a bit.’

[No!  Don’t go, younglings!  It’s danger.]

“Oh, Gramps!  You always think everything is dangerous.”

[And that’s how I got to be as big and old and wise as I am.]

‘Look!  Clyde’s going over to investigate it.’

[Clyde!  Stay away!  Danger!]

(Don’t be silly, Gramps.  These worms can’t hurt me. Ohh, that feels kind of good.)

“What are the worms doing?”

‘They are rubbing against Clyde’s belly.  Look at the smile on his face.  He loves it.’

“I want some.”

‘Me too!’

SPLASH!

“What happened?”

‘Where’s Clyde?’

[The thing got him.  Clyde is gone.]

“Gone where?”

[Don’t know for sure, but I doubt if he will return.]

‘How did you know about the danger, Gramps?’

[When I was younger, something like this happened to me.  Strange delicious looking worms appeared in the water, they stroked my stomach, it felt better than anything ever has before or since . . .]

“And?”

[Suddenly the thing grabbed me, and pulled me out of the world.  I flew through outer space, but I wriggled and twisted.  I came down and hit hard.  It wasn’t water.  Something huge lunged for me, but I twisted and flopped as hard as I could . . .]

“And you got back in the water?”

[Yes.  I was very lucky.]

Splish.

‘Look, here it comes again.’

“Ooh, they do look good!”

[Just say no.  You will live longer.]

‘Let’s get out of here.’

* * * * * * * * *

End

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