Against The Current, thrilling installment #4

1 03 2008

Things got ugly in #3 and they aren’t getting any better for now… As usual com
menting is seriously encouraged. And now… action!

In one fluid motion Laiva pulled her dagger from its sheath and spun around her axis, pushing the blade as far from her body as her arm allowed. The metal described a wide arc, indiscriminately cutting through air and flesh. Almost dancing Laiva sidestepped, letting the massive body of the wolf crash into the ground some feet from her.

The manoeuvre caught the wolves completely by surprise. Dumbstruck they stared at their leader until the stench of blood reached their nostrils, filling their hearts with rage, minds with fury and eyes with madness. As one they turned to throw themselves at the girl – but the girl was gone.

Laiva hadn’t waited for the wolves to come to their senses. Without transition she went from tumbling to running, not wasting any time on coming to a halt first. Within a blink of the eyes she had left the wolves behind and darted through the trees, no longer caring about the road or even where she was going.

It wasn’t until she heard the angry howl, before Laiva realised running away wasn’t much of a solution. She skidded to a halt and threw her back against a particularly large tree, the trunk wide enough to cover her back as well as a wall would have. Unfortunately that left her complete front open for attack. On the tree she would have been out of reach, but none of the trees had low enough branches to climb them in a hurry. If only she had anything to defend herself with. The dagger was far too short to induce fear… Fire! She needed fire!

She started reciting the spell, careful not to confuse any syllables. Messing the spell up was unlikely to do anything at all, much less to harm her, but she doubted that there would be the time for second try; she could already hear the wolves drawing closer.

The spell was easy enough, though; she had mastered it years ago. Laiva lively remembered how proud she had been when she had finally got it working. Her mum on the other hand hadn’t been too happy, not after she had accidentally set the table on fire anyway.

Laiva focused on a dry branch lying before her and the orange and violet sparks that had so far played around her fingers flew towards it. The wood started to smoke and small flames erupted from its surface; a moment later the branch was ablaze.

It hadn’t been a moment too soon either. The wolves had just caught up with her and were about to throw themselves at Laiva when the fire came into life. A wave of primordial fear run along their spines and made the hair on their backs stand up. Slowly they backed off.

Laiva sighed. Safe – for the moment. She pushed some twigs and leaves into the fire and leaned back, letting her back slide down the tree trunk. She hugged her shins and let her head sink onto her knees. It wouldn’t be too hard to keep the fire going for some time, a couple of hours at least, but after that… She didn’t allow herself to finish the thought. She didn’t want to. For now the wolves kept well away from the fire, even if they were still there. Waiting. Watching. The glow of their cold yellow eyes gave them away.

A thought struck her; the fire kept her out of the reach of the wolves, but that didn’t mean the wolves were out of her reach as well, did it? Slowly she took out her bow and slipped the sinew into place. The wolves didn’t move. She selected an arrow and put it on. The wolves still didn’t move. Laiva raised the bow, yanked the arrow back and released it. A high pitched yelp was the answer and a pair of eyes had gone. To her horror, however, they quickly reappeared, accompanied by a low, very definite growl. The bow dropped from Laiva’s hand. She was sure she had hit; the arrow had gone straight for the spot between the eyes. The very eyes that were just coming closer. She shuffled to her feet just in time to see the creature stepping into the light of the fire.

Laiva gulped. She recognised the creature, but it couldn’t be. It mustn’t! She had killed it back on the road! It had been dead! A single word escaped her lips as she made the connection. It was hardly a whisper, not audible by anyone but herself, but it said more than a thousand others could have.

‘Werewolves.’

Laiva glanced down. Her bow was still lying on the ground. Not that it mattered. Cold fear filled every part of her body. Laiva trembled. She closed the eyes and waited for the end.

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