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title Chapter 8
name Aileen Doll (ip:)
  • date 2017-02-10
  • Recommend Recommend
  • hit 165
point 0points

Hill of Sidh


Novelist : Judit Elias



CHAPTER 8




The dense mist cleared as quickly as it had formed. The dragons stood, stunned, looking around them. It was Seed who saw it first. He gasped and took his sister’s hand. Now they were in deep trouble.


A creature stood before them with a lit torch. It had soft pink fleshy skin and pale blonde hair on top of its head, falling in long curls to its shoulders. It had no horns, and its snout was ridiculously flat, with tiny teeth. It had long arms and legs but no wings. Seed had always wondered how it must feel to not be able to fly.


The dragons recognised the creature: it was a human. Their brother Ashes had been wise enough to tell them about humans, the most widespread species in the universe. This human was a hatchling… no, a… children? Child? Yes, child was the correct word, Seed thought. That was easy to see by its size and proportions. He decided it must be a female, as he had been told female humans had longer manes than males.


The thing was… there were no humans in that part of Sidh. They mostly gathered far away, in the big city on the hill. The child was startled when she saw them but didn’t seem too scared. She looked at them curiously.


“We have to go,” Seed whispered to his sister.


Ashes had been very clear that they had to avoid any interaction with other intelligent species. Ideally, they shouldn’t have been spotted in the first place.


The human was now looking for something inside the small bag she was carrying. She produced some kind of fruit that Seed had never seen. Knowing she had captured the attention of the strange creatures, she took a bite of it, making exaggerated chewing sounds to show how delicious it was. Then she kneeled and stretched out her arm to offer it to the dragons.


“I wonder what it tastes like,” muttered Rot, who started slowly reaching for the fruit.


Good grief!” thought Seed, “We have just eaten so many nuts, how can you be hungry?


He wanted to leave but he was also feeling curious about the little creature. He had only seen one human in all his life, and never a child. Maybe if they didn’t speak in front of her they would pass as some kind of woodland creature. Ashes had told them no one must know about the small dragon family living in Sidh.


Rot was already devouring the food and the child was laughing at the dragon’s greediness.


“This is good,” said Rot. “It looks like an apple but tastes more like a melon. You should try it, Seed!”


Seed sighed. So much for his plan to pass as non-intelligent beings. The girl clapped her hands, pleased, and produced another piece of fruit from her bag. She ran behind one of the trees, poking her head out and making faces at them. Her eyes were glittering with joy and it was difficult to resist such a playful invitation. Seed and Rot ran towards her, smiles on their faces. The child gave them the fruit and hurried to another hiding place. She was not difficult to find. She was not very fast and, even when she managed to hide, she couldn’t help but giggle, so the dragons could easily locate her. Every now and then, when the twins got to her, she would give them one of the apples as a reward. Soon the bag was empty and the little one signalled that they should follow her.


“Can we go?” asked Rot. “Maybe she has more of those apple-melons.”


Apparently, Seed’s sister’s appetite never ended. They really should be getting back, but Seed’s curiosity was niggling at him. What was a small human child doing in these parts of the woods?


“Only for a while,” he whispered to Rot as they followed the girl.


The woods were getting thicker and thicker as they walked along. Tall pine trees now covered most of the blue sky with their wide branches. Soon they stumbled into a meadow full of grass and yellow daffodils. In the middle stood a cabin. It was small, made of wood and with a thatched roof. In front of the hut there was a stone well. The dragons peeked inside and could see their reflections and something else. It looked like tiny shiny bugs, maybe some sort of firefly, skidding on the surface of the water. The bugs followed the lines of their reflections, as if trying to draw their silhouettes.


The little girl entered the cabin without a thought and the dragons followed her. It was dark and musty, and the door closed as soon as they were inside. The child was standing in front of them, now with a grin on her face.


Something was odd. Seed noticed the smell, a rotten scent, even putrid, that made his nostrils flare. Rot coughed in disgust, she must have sensed it too. The girl just stared at them, staying completely still. And then her skin started to wrinkle, slowly.


Rot looked at her with alarm. Seed, on the other hand, stayed silent. This was just wrong, he could feel it in every part of himself. The child was now beginning to grow. Her golden curls fell to the floor in clumps and her tiny white teeth yellowed and grew, becoming quite crooked. The little hands were now huge and hairy.


The dragons took a step back in horror, unable to believe the transformation that was taking place. A huge thickset man was now in front of them, staring at them intently. His eyes looked small in his big flat face and his square jaw was covered with a greyish stubble. The human, dressed in a dark robe, stood straight, his chubby hands with their plump short fingers resting on his waist.


“My, my, what a perfect pair of specimens,” he said.


Nothing in the tone of his voice seemed friendly. Now that their eyes were adjusting to the dark, Seed could inspect the interior of the cabin. It was terrifying. On a large table there were books, all kinds of sharp instruments and, Seed noticed, swallowing nervously, organs. Pieces of other animals. He could recognise some of them. There were stuffed heads mounted on the walls. He could hear his sister growling softly, panic in her eyes.


“You… you can’t hurt us,” he stuttered, trying to control the tremor in his voice


The man threw his head back and laughed.


“We will burn you if you try to harm us,” added Rot.


Seed scoured the dwelling hoping for a way to escape. He noticed that the last of the sun’s rays were piercing a number of small holes in the thatched roof. If they could fly up they might be able to squeeze through one of the holes. The huge human was tall, but they only needed a moment of distraction. He turned to Rot and signalled the roof with his eyes while slowly batting his wings. His sister nodded, she had understood.


The man had picked up a small bowl from the table. It contained some dark purple ooze. He then produced a small thin crooked dagger from the pocket of his robe and dipped the tip in the potion.


“Do not fear little ones, this won’t harm you… much.”


And he lurched towards them.


“Now!” shouted Seed.


The two dragons leaped up, extending their wings, attempting the short flight to the roof. Seed reached the straw, but it was too tight and he couldn’t make the hole any bigger.


“Let me,” said Rot frantically, pushing him away.


Seed could feel Rot’s body temperature rising, preparing to burn anything standing between them and their freedom.


The man grabbed his sister’s foot and pulled her down.


“Seed! Help me!”


Seed flew towards them. Rot was a ball of teeth and snarls, trying to bite anything she could. He aimed at the man’s arm and sunk his fangs into the hairy flesh. With a strong push the man sent the small dragon flying. Seed clashed against the cabin wall, hitting his head and left wing. For a few seconds he felt too disorientated to move.


He could hear the man groaning in pain. Rot was on fire, literally. Flames surrounded her and bolts of fire shot from her open mouth. The man was distracted, holding his hand, its skin now completely burnt.


Rot was by Seed’s side, ready to help lift him up.


“We have to go,” she said.


Seed grabbed her hand. He knew her fire would not harm him.


The cabin was burning, the flames had spread through the wooden walls. The roof was now collapsing. Now was their chance. Their foe seemed to have recovered and was holding the dagger, ready to attack again.


“Damn you wretched creatures,” he cursed, grinding his teeth.


The dragons were already flying, Seed was almost through the hole when he felt a sharp pain in his wing. He looked back and saw it was strangely crooked. He hadn’t noticed how badly he had injured it when he had hit the cabin wall.


“Seed!”


Rot was ahead of him but he could not keep up. His body felt too heavy and, with every flap, his wing seemed to get worse. He started to fall, unable to keep himself aloft.


“No! Grab onto me!”


Rot tried to hold them both up, but her wings were not strong enough to lift the two of them. For several seconds, they were able to stop the fall, Rot furiously flapping in an effort to sustain their height.


“Go,” said Seed, knowing Rot could not hold him forever. “Go and get Ashes.”


Below them they could see that the flames had started to recede. Eventually Rot gave up, and they landed on the ground with a thud, not far away from the cabin.


“I am not abandoning you!”


Rot dragged her brother to the cover of some nearby bushes.


“Go. Get help.”


“But…”


Rot was in tears.


Footsteps approached and the bushes shook. With as much strength as he could muster, Seed pushed his sister deeper into the vegetation. A bearded face with a sickening grin appeared in his field of vision and a big hand grabbed him. Seed squirmed and grunted when the man picked him up. He tried to bite and scratch, but the chubby fingers grabbed him tightly, making it impossible for him to move. The man brought him inside the cabin again and placed him on the table, face upwards. His broken wing now sent pulses of hot pain across his body but Seed did not stop trying to fight back, screeching in pain.


 


From her hiding place, Rot could hear the man chanting loudly.


“The well will swallow you, feel the chilled water soothing your warm flesh and sleep with the night”.


Without thinking, she emerged from the bushes just in time to see, through the window, a shadow holding the crooked dagger and plunging it into a smaller shape lying on the table. Rot heard a shriek and a column of dense purple smoke billowed out of the cabin and disappeared down the well.


Rot rushed towards the open window and perched on the windowsill. The cabin was pitch dark except for the rays of light coming from the holes in the thatched roof. She hopped inside the hut. It was empty, no sign of the man or her brother.


“Seed?”


The stuffed animals looking at her with lifeless eyes gave her goosebumps. She flew on top of the table where her brother had been lying and tried not to think about the sharp metal instruments and the spots of dried red blood.


Where was her brother? She had seen… she tried to push the memory of the shadow blade entering the soft belly. No, Seed had to be ok. She felt too stunned to react, as if it was all a dream. Her heart pounded and her ears were ringing. She felt as if the whole cabin throbbed around her, as if the walls were alive, threatening to swallow her.


The dagger was not there any more but the bowl with purplish thick potion was. She sniffed it. It smelled like rotten vegetables. She noticed some small empty vials next to it and cautiously filled one of them, being very careful not to allow the liquid to touch her.


She had a last look around the cabin and flew through one of the burnt holes in the roof. It was not until the fresh evening air caressed her cheeks that she began to cry.


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