Part 2 of Dylan J. Morgan’s story The Cabin You can read Part 1 Here if you missed it.
Branches snapped in the dark to their right, undergrowth rustling under something’s approach. Guy crouched lower and Barnard sank to one knee, struggling to pull the great sword from its scabbard. A shape pierced the darkness at the clearing’s edge, the thin figure of Ralf turning in circles as he tried to orientate himself to his surroundings.
“Hey, Guy, where are you?”
Barnard raised his body, his mouth opening, but Guy reached up and clamped his hand tight over the larger man’s jaw.
“Quiet, Barnard; look.”
Motioning with his head towards the old cabin, he waited until Barnard had seen the two shapes dissolving from the shadows before he released the man’s mouth. It had been luck he’d noticed them, but he regarded the stories as truth and had therefore been looking for things untoward near the structure. He’d noticed the eyes first; tiny pinholes of red, glowing in the darkest reaches near the building’s lower walls. Once free from the shadows, the two creatures’ shapes became more defined: squat and muscular, stalking on all fours, with long snouts open just enough that Guy could make out the cabin’s feeble torchlight glinting off their extended teeth.
Hounds, they looked like, but they didn’t resemble any kind of dog he’d ever seen. Black as he expected the pits of hell to be, Guy wouldn’t have been surprised if that was the place from which they’d been born. Ralf stumbled clumsily from the undergrowth into the clearing around the cabin and called for them one more time. It became the perfect signal for the two monstrous beasts near the house to make their attack.
For such squat, large creatures they moved with a swift pace. Barnard sucked in a lungful of air but Guy clamped the man’s jaw shut again before he could shout a warning in Ralf’s direction.
“We don’t want to give away our position, Barnard,” he whispered.
Ralf noticed the animals charging and, issuing a yelp of shock, he grabbed his one-handed sword and drew it from his belt. Even from this distance it didn’t look big enough to thwart the onslaught those two hellish creatures were about to deliver. The dog’s panted with urgent hunger, and Ralf whimpered in pitiful fear.
The creatures slammed into the kid with incredible force, knocking him off his feet. They dragged Ralf into thick underbrush close to the clearing and Guy found himself relieved they’d done so, not wishing to see the carnage. The screams from the kid were excruciating, wails of agony hanging in the breathless air. Tearing flesh split the night, and the snap of bone crunched between strong jaws sounded like old timber being fractured. Eventually Ralf’s tortured cries drifted into gargled moans before all fell silent.
Guy was up and moving before total silence returned to the clearing.
“Hey!” Barnard hissed. “Where are you going?”
“To get the princess; now’s our chance.”
Maybe the cabin concealed more of those demonic creatures lurking in its shadows, but Guy had to assume that both of those animals were the only ones guarding the building. He ran in a half crouch, gaze searching thick shadows grouping around the tiny slivers of light filtering through the cabin walls. Barnard followed; the overweight man’s labored breathing sounded uncomfortably loud in the stillness surrounding the ancient building. Reaching back, Guy pulled the bow from his shoulders and drew an arrow from the quiver on his side. He’d learned to use the weapon as a young boy, and preferred it to the swords a lot of men used. Barnard had withdrawn his great sword, and Guy knew the cumbersome weapon slowed him down. Lightweight and silent, the bow was ideal for this type of undertaking.
Nothing moved in the darkness around the building, and as he neared it the smell of a wood fire pervaded the air.
“Shit, Guy; they’re coming!”
Barnard’s panicked voice hid none of his exertion, the man barely able to squeeze words from his exhausted body. Turning in a crouch, Guy studied the darkened clearing, heard the panted breath of those charging creatures before he identified their shadows in the night. Barnard faced them, holding his sword in two hands, and immediately Guy could tell the blade was too heavy for the fat man to wield. The demon hounds separated, one sprinting full pace at Barnard, the other peeling away to race towards him. Barnard whimpered in fear. The creature’s eyes blazed a bright crimson in the darkness. Guy drew back an arrow in the bow, and steadied his breathing, sighting down the shaft at the charging monstrosity. He tried to ignore Barnard’s screams for help as the creature bore down on him at great speed.
Guy held his breath and unleashed the arrow.
The animal made no sound as the projectile smashed through its eye and sliced deep into its brain. Its legs collapsed beneath it and it skidded on the damp grass, its hideously disfigured mouth coming to rest a few feet from Guy’s boots. He didn’t bother loading another arrow, but stood motionless and watched as the second demon hound easily dodged Barnard’s clumsy swing of the sword and barreled hard into the large man. With a tortured scream Barnard landed heavily on his back, his sword lost into the night, hands struggling to push the beast’s jaws away. The creature proved too powerful: black in the gloom of the forest night, a fountain of arterial blood jetted from Barnard’s severed throat.
With the demon occupied, Guy headed for the cabin doorway.
Come back tomorrow for the last part of the story.
Official website: http://www.dylanjmorgan.com