Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Red As Any Blood--Part 1

The men walked through the woods, glancing over their shoulders.  "I don't like this place," muttered one.  "It's not like a forest should be.  All these forests in Tintagel are off, but this one... it's the most off."

Another, larger man snorted.  "It's got trees in it, don't it?" he muttered.  "That's pretty much my definition of a forest."

The smaller man looked around, nervously.  "But it's gone all quiet here."  He looked around desperately.  "Woods should have noises in them!  Birds chirping.  Animals... making... animal noises."

"Like growls?" suggested a pale-haired man, joining the small man in looking around nervously.

"No!  Not growls!" said the small man.  "I... have you ever heard the sounds a rabbit makes?"

"Rabbits make sounds?" said the large man who'd first replied.  "I always thought they just... hopped around and were all... rabbitty."

"Well, they do make noises," said the small man.  "Not often, but they do make them."  He glanced at the other man.  "And they aren't growls.  And we aren't hearing them now."

"How do you know we aren't hearing them?" said a rather florid man with snaggle-teeth.  The small man raised an eye in bitter anger. "No, wait--hear me out. You're getting a bit on in years, and these are small animals.  It might be they're making the noise, and you can't hear it.  But we can." 

The small man stared at him for a moment, as if considering his choice of insult.  "Well, admit it, it's a possibility," said snaggle-toothed man.  "Ain't it, Antoine?"

The tall man nodded.  "It is, Fleury."

"Right," declared Fleury confidentally.  "We need to know what these rabbits sound like."

The small man sighed.  "It's sort of a... squeak.  Mostly."

"Like a mouse?" asked the pale-haired man, puzzled.

"Sort of," agreed the small man.  "Sometimes."

"Well, I can't hear that," said Fleury.

"Nor can I," said Antoine.

The small man winced.  "Of course not.  Because everything around us is eerie and silent."

"Oh, not everything," said Fleury.  "Why... there's some sort of bird calling."  He cupped a hand to his ear.  "Sounds quite pretty real--"

That was when the arrow caught him in the throat.

Antoine drew his sword and looked around the woods.  "It's an amb--"

The small man watched him fall dead, filled with arrows.    The pale-haired man gave a shriek, threw his weapons to the ground and ran off, though the sound of something striking the ground convinced the small man he didn't make it far.  As the small man considered his options, several hooded figures emerged from the woods, their bows trained on him.  The small man coughed, and raised his hands.  "I surrender."

"Very wise choice," said the leading figure in what was surprisingly a female voice.  "Though I have to say that rabbits chirp in my experience more than they squeak."

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