Sunday, September 8, 2013

Story D: Hunters in the Shadows, by Joyce Frohn

“Picking anything up yet?”

“Nothing human. Coupla cats.”

“How do you know they’re cats?”

“How do you know they’re cats? If it looks like a cat and meows like a cat, it’s a cat. These guys think like cats.”

“And different from dogs, yeah?”

“Just like the difference between red and blue. Besides, they’re both normally like, uh, I dunno, a soft glow ... until something lights ’em up. But it takes different things to do it. Cats light up when they see some kind of small critter they can chase, but dogs only do it for people. In f.... Oh, wait! What’s that now?”

“It’s white.”

“Yeah, I know. I watched Barney, too. It sure glows. Real bright, too. Gotta have magic. Let’s get it. “

“Ah, Clyde have you noticed how big it is? It’s bigger than we are. “ He pulled himself up to his full four foot height.

Clyde chuckled and flexed all four arms. “So’s most humans with magic
but we get’em any way.”

“Usually we wait until they’re drunk.”

“Look, if we get this whatever to the Boss we won’t be the ones having to go out in this weird dimension. We can stay home. Nice cobwebby dungeon. TV from six dimensions. Not just the stupid stuff from here.

Checking everbody else's stuff. Flirting with the pretty goblins.“ His grin showed his teeth, all five of them.

D.B. sighed. “OK, we can try. Which end you think got the head on it?”

Clyde motioned D.B. down into the bushes at the side of the road. They peered at the glowing white blur across the road from them. They darted across the road the moonlight making their shadows dance wildly and dived into a ditch. They poked their heads cautiously out of the ditch. “It’s just standing there.”

“Mebbe, it’s dead.”

Clyde punched him in the shoulder. “Dead things don’t glow and don’t stand up.”

“Mebbe it’s drunk.”

“Drunks don’t stand up to good neither.”

They peered at it. Four legs, each longer than either of them was tall. A breeze blew by and they ducked to cover their scent. Clyde punched D.B. “That ends just a tail. Flaps in the breeze. Heads up there.”

D.B. swallowed. “Yeah. Way up. How are we going to reach it?”

They froze as they heard crackling brush coming their way. Clyde pulled them both under a bush that hung over the ditch as he got the net out of it’s pouch. All of his fifteen fingers spread the net to its fullest. D.B. drew the transfer circle on a flat patch of mud, with his tail. A split hoof with a fringe of white fur parted the bushes directly above them. Clyde started to chew a fingernail. D.B. sucked on his tail.

A second hoof joined the first mere inches from their heads. There was more rustling as a shiny white horn followed by a horse-like head came through the bushes. Clyde jumped forward and threw the net over its head. D.B. grabbed for a long slender leg.

For a moment all Clyde knew was that he was flying through the air and then he slammed into the thing’s neck. Hard. The net was hanging in shreds around its neck and he could only hang on for dear life.

There was someone screaming over and over and he wished they would stop and then he realized he was. So he stopped. He could hear D.B. moaning but couldn’t see anything but shredded net and shiny white fur. This was bad. A new net, no one had needed a new net since that idiot DuBob at tried to grabb that lady and gotten the plane, too. And DuBob was still trying to pay it off.

Just then a shake of the neck told him he had bigger problems than a shredded net. He clung to the net but the hole got wider. As he slid down, he tried to hang on but a hoof came up as he reached the thing’s chest and knocked Clyde to the ground and pinned him there. Another hoof neatly scrapped D.B. onto the ground. With a split hoof apiece on their chests, they shuddred as they heard the sound of more hooves coming.

Cassy and Molly tapped horns in triumph after shoving their catch through the portal Molly had drawn in the dirt with her horn. “Two goblins and a dreither-made net. We won’t have to go out for years. I can’t believe they sat under that bush, like they were waiting for us. Now, we can stay home in a nice bright pasture and…” Molly said.

“And maybe make time with that nice Pegaus.” Cassy chuckled.

“Yeah. All we have to is put with all the congralations on ‘selflessly helping keep magic in the human realm’. Like any of us care about that.”

Molly nodded. “Wish we could have saved the cats, though. Cats I like.”