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Friday, October 23, 2015

~Lord Goran Finds His Prey~

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Night came down upon the mountain. A cloud of stars floated around the peak.  He lifted his head and scented the air, and was able to taste it all—the people, their suppers, their horses, cattle, goats and chickens, dogs, and the pine forest beyond—so much life, going on everywhere. To learn so much with his nose was new and exhilarating, so he threw back his head. The wind, as if summoned, gusted, brisk and chill, ruffling his dark hair.
            Goran stood by the forest edge, by the tame little village, with its steep-roofed stone houses, the walls white with plaster and bright with decorative trim, all of which his night-time vision recognized. Something had urged him to come here, and hearing, he’d returned to seek it out. A dog began to bark, probably at his scent, first one and then others, in the persistent way of their kind. The noise annoyed him, but he knew that if any were loose and came to confront him, they would soon be cowering on the ground, displaying an attitude of profound, doggy submission. He sent a message into the air—SILENCE! After a few minutes, to his satisfaction, all the barking stopped.

            Houses backed onto the pasture land. Behind lay a wedge of forest. The Heldenberg lifted her stony head over it all. He understood that creatures near and far were alert, aware of his presence. From the houses, with their summer open windows, he heard snores, but there was already a faint suggestion of light to the east.

            What was it—what was it—that he needed to do?

            He went past a tidy garden, nicely cultivated, the whole plot angled toward the southern sun. There was a pile of straw at one end, and, from this pile, there came raucous snores. As he approached, he scented the rank sour smell of a drunk.

            And who should be lying there like a sleeping hog, but Thomas’ driver, wrapped up in the blanket that he’d seen the boy take for the exhausted horse earlier in the evening.

            Ah, yes! Exactly what he was looking for.

            With a leg on either side of the sleeper, he bent and seized the man by the throat with one clawed, muscular hand.
...The eyes opened, first blurred with confusion and sleep, and then, as he recognized what held him, filled with terror.


“Guess again!”

Goran hissed, then grinned widely, amused by his own joke. To speak clearly wasn’t easy, negotiating such a long tongue inside a mouthful of long, sharp teeth. He relaxed his grip just sufficiently to allow Herr Engle to get some air. He wanted to give him plenty of time to contemplate where he was, and to understand what, exactly, had seized him.

As soon as the man sucked in a breath, his large sweaty hands flew up and locked around Goran’s wrists. They were the hands of a teamster, powerful and leathery from years of driving, but defiance changed nothing.

Crouching, Goran simply squeezed the fat throat hard once again. Herr Engle’s bleary eyes bulged and his tongue began to protrude.

Inside his mind, he could hear the shrieked plea: STOP! 

But why?


Why? For you have none …

Goran sent the thought and then abruptly realized that he didn’t have to do this the way he’d killed the brigands. Such crude ripping and tearing would cause a fuss.


Besides, he still wasn’t particularly hungry. Certainly not for this beer-soaked flesh. 

Inside the man’s body, he spied the pulsing heart.
It was ever so busy, pounding, pounding, pounding in terror!

Gathering himself, Goran bowed his head against the hot, heaving chest, against the flailing arms, and pressed. He changed again, into a bull, a bull with a hated farmer trapped beneath his brow.

Down upon the ground, struggling, an enemy pinned between spreading horns…


Inside the chest, the red, fat-marbled muscle pumped like mad, keeping this worthless creature alive.

On his fore-knees, Goran pressed ever so hard. There was a harsh, pain-filled groan. Next, the sound of bones popping...

A little later, he, once more upon two legs, stood to admire his handiwork. The man no longer moved. No breath, no cries, no prayers, either aloud or within his mind. Satisfied, and feeling no further wish to remain so near to habitation, Goran turned and disappeared into the fragrant shadow of the dark mountain pines.



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