Ogre Hunt – Part Two
This is part two on a short story that I started on Thursday. You can read part one here.
The wind was knocked from Ava’s lungs by her fall and she winced in pain. Her light stone rolled free from her hand upon impact, casting her surroundings in darkness. The crashing stone overhead put her senses on high alert and her eyes searched the shadows for signs of her assailant. She laid as still as possible, holding her breath and waiting for movement. She hoped the ogre, like many others she had hunted, could not see well in the dark. But there was always that rare one she would track that had excellent night vision.
The footsteps of the ogre caused the stones and dirt around Ava to shift around. She inched her way backward, praying that he could not see her movement. A thick, brown leg stomped down where she had lain earlier. The ogre spoke in sharp, guttural sounds that indicated his anger at her absence. He stormed over to her light stone, bending over to retrieve it with a hairy arm. The ogre picked the stone up, which was smaller than the size of his fingernail. He looked closely at it, scratching his coarse hair. He let out a cry of rage and closed his fist, crushing the stone into fine powder.
Ava groped her way back along the tunnel of the cavern, feeling along the wall for any sign of an opening. The footsteps of the ogre echoed through the walls, reminding her that she needed to move fast. If he caught her in the open, with no light to aid her, she would be done for. Her hands felt a small crevice in the wall, barely large enough for her to squeeze into. She backed into the hole, a dagger drawn in each hand, waiting for the ogre to come after her. She heard its heavy breathing drawing near. Its breath smelled like a mix between rotten eggs and raw fish, which was rather good for an ogre. Ava waited patiently for the moment to strike as the ogre lumbered forward.
A dirty foot slammed to the ground inches away from her hiding spot. Ava took a deep breath, bracing herself for an attack. She counted to three, collecting her thoughts, then reached out and drove both daggers into the foot of the ogre. It roared in pain, swiping blindly in the air as Ava rolled out of her hiding spot and ran back toward the running water. She needed light in order to survive a direct confrontation, and the fog was not going to work in her favor if she led it outside. The agonized roars of the ogre drowned out all other noise, and she envisioned it groping about trying to remove the daggers from its foot. With any luck it would think she went toward the entrance, buying her time to prepare a fatal ambush.
Icy water chilled her to the bone as she stepped into the stream of flowing water. She paused to try and see her surroundings, hoping to find some source of light. It seemed like the tunnel continued beyond the water, which made no sense to Ava. Every other ogre she has tracked into a cave made their home at the water source. The roaring of the ogre had diminished, a sign that he was fooled by her diversion and was headed outside. The bounty was as good as hers.
She moved deeper into the cavern, running her hands along the rough stone wall. A faint glow came into view, making Ava smile. She was almost to its lair. She moved faster, determined to have plenty of time to prepare an ambush. She stepped out of the tunnel and into a massive chamber. A thick yellow-hued moss covered the ceiling of the room, casting light throughout the room. A giant bed of straw stretched along the wall on the far side of the room with a thick tree trunk leaning against the wall beside it. The carcass of a half-eaten deer and a bucket of water was laying off to the right side of the room. The stench of the rotting meat nearly gagged Ava, forcing her to breathe into her cloak. On the left side of the room was another tunnel, leading into a different part of the cavern. In the center of the chamber was a massive pile of assorted artifacts and stacks of coins. Rusted shields and shattered swords are tossed haphazardly onto the stack of treasure. It looked like this ogre has been hording treasure, which struck Ava as being oddly dragon-like for an ogre. She paused to listen for signs of the ogre’s return and, hearing nothing, she stepped toward the pile to see if there was anything that might be useful in taking down the ogre.
She tossed aside coins and jewels, not wanting to weigh herself down yet with the monetary treasures. She picked up the charred remains of a longbow, wondering why the ogre would keep such a worthless item among everything else. She dug deeper into the treasure, still not finding anything in good enough condition to be of use. Her hand gripped the hilt of a large sword and she pulled it free. She let out an audible gasp when she saw the elegant blade, running her fingers over the familiar engraving. She had seen this blade before, and knew the owner of it very well before his death. She finally found her father’s lost sword.