[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 14 – Gray! – Dave Bailey

[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 14 – Gray!

Thorgaut shortened the distance between his hands on the ax handle. He pulled it in close to his body while waiting for the strike. The wolf started to charge, and Thorgaut prepared to swing. The wolf pulled up short and the swing shot over the wolf’s head.

The velocity of the ax’s swing pulled his body around on the rope again, and the wolf watched as he went on past. It came after him, but by that time Thorgaut was swinging back at it. The wolf backed up and turned. It was too late.

Thorgaut managed to connect the blade of the ax with the wolf’s body. As the rope came swinging back, he had the weapon stretched out behind him. The head of the battle ax was almost trailing the ground. His swing was perfectly aligned with the wolf’s fleeing body. It was almost too easy. He swung the ax up between its hind legs and into the wolf’s belly.

The wolf yelped and snarled as it turned back on him. His movement kept pulling him forward and upwards even after the wolf stopped. The ax remained, still stuck in its belly between its legs. Thorgaut wasn’t able to keep his grip on the ax, and it slipped out of his hands. He tried to reach back for it, but he was too far past it. His fingers brushed off the handle, and it fell back to the ground.

The wolf writhed and twisted on the ground as it tried to get the blade of the ax out of its body. Blood poured out of the wound. Thorgaut admired his deadly handiwork as he swung back over the wolf’s body. It looked up at him with a fiery vengeance in its eyes.

Thorgaut realized that now he had no weapon left to fight the wolf. It snarled and leaped at him, but the weight of the ax pulled it back down. By then, Thorgaut had swung on past out of reach.

How long could he keep on swinging away from the wolf’s fangs? He didn’t have any other weapons except for the arrows in his quiver. “The quiver,” he remembered. But he didn’t have time to reach back to pull any out. He was swinging back in towards the wolf and its waiting jaws.

Thorgaut jerked himself forward and upward so he could grab on to the rope between his feet. He pulled himself up as high as he could hoping the wolf wouldn’t be able to reach him in its wounded condition.

The wolf intent on attacking Thorgaut leaped up into the air after him. The blade of the ax came loose in the air and fell to the ground. The weight of the weapon left its body which allowed the wolf to reach up high enough to snap its jaws around the back of Thorgaut’s coat. The coat added some protection, but the tips of the wolf’s fangs still dug into and pierced his side.

Thorgaut roared in pain and anger. The force of the wolf’s leap pushed them both out farther in the swinging arc. The pain caused Thorgaut let go of the rope. His body dropped back down from the weight of the wolf hanging on to him. By that time, they had reached the top of the swing’s arc and headed back again.

He reached around trying to hit the wolf or gouge his fingers in one of its eyes. But the jerk of his body coming back down and the rope coming back down loosened the grip of its jaws. Part of the coat tore, and some of the wolve’s teeth broke forcing it to let go of him as its feet hit the ground.

Thorgaut swung on out and tried to turn his body as he came back around. The wolf was waiting for him, but the wolf’s pull as it fell, threw the swing off to the side. The wolf had to readjust before it jumped which gave Thorgaut an extra moment to prepare.

The wolf leaped high into the air as it had done before when Thorgaut had pulled himself up on the rope. But Thorgaut didn’t pull himself back up. He continued to hang down as far as possible.

The wolf overshot Thorgaut’s head which was still hanging down. Its powerful jaws snapped around his thigh. But by then, Thorgaut had already shoved his hand deep inside the open wound from the ax in the wolf’s belly. He grabbed a fistful of intestines and squeezed as hard as he could.

Thorgaut yanked his hand back out again. As it came out, he grabbed onto the exposed innards with his other hand and pulling even more out. The wolf let go of his leg and dropped to the ground. Thorgaut was still holding onto its innards with both fists. Gravity took over and did the rest. As the wolf fell even more of its intestines and organs came ripping up and out of its body.

The wolf hit the ground shrieking with fury. It tried to pull its legs up under it and turn towards Thorgaut for another attack.

Thorgaut gave another strong pull on the organs in his hand pulling even more out as they came free. The wolf went down, and couldn’t get back up again. It rolled around on the ground whimpering and moaning. The wolf dragged itself off slowly by pulling itself forward with its front paws. It didn’t look up at Thorgaut after that or even look back.

He let go of the bloody mess he was holding in his hands. He relaxed his entire body and let his arms hang down. He twisted a bit to make sure the wolf was still down. It wasn’t hard to tell where it had gone, even though he couldn’t see it anymore.

A trail of blood led behind some bushes where it would lie and lick itself until it died. If it was even still alive, that is. There was so much blood and guts on the ground that Thorgaut didn’t imagine much was left in the wolf’s body.

Thorgaut looked up at the bite on his leg. Between the shredded pants mixed with the blood from his wound, he couldn’t tell how bad it was. He also ran his fingers over the bite on his back and shoulder, but couldn’t determine how severe they were either. The adrenaline rushing through his body blocked the pain so he couldn’t even feel the wounds.

He hung there for a minute before to catch his breath. After a moment, he opened his eyes and looked for his axes. They were still there on the ground. One just below him and the other off to the side where it had fallen out of the wolf’s body. There was no way he could reach it.

Thorgaut remembered the arrows in his quiver if they hadn’t all fallen out. He could try using the edges of the points to cut through the rest of the rope. There wasn’t much there.

He started to reach behind his neck, but the pain from the bite began to kick in. He switched to his other hand and reached back. He could feel the arrows and sighed with relief. His arm was sore, and his hands were numb, so he took care to work them out with caution.

Two of them came right out without much trouble. Thorgaut pulled the arrows around front grinning with satisfaction. Pleased with himself. After everything else that had gone wrong the past few days, he hadn’t expected them out come out at all. Or he half-expected the points to break or fall off as soon as he got them out.

“Whoooo!” he yelled at the top of his lungs as he stretched his arms off to the side.

Thorgaut heard something rustling in the bush where the wolf had dragged itself off to die.

“Great!” he groaned. The last thing he needed was for the wolf to transform into a shuffler. “Imagine that. After all that I went through to kill it, I get killed by an undead wolf that comes back to life after I kill it.”

Thorgaut kept looking in the direction of the bushes until he saw what it was. He froze, and his heart stopped beating for a moment.

Another giant wolf, only this one was pure black. It looked back at it’s fallen comrade and then at Thorgaut with a menacing growl.

The black wolf lifted its head and howled all its rage and fury into the sky. The most bloodcurdling warcry he had ever heard in his life. Chills ran through Thorgaut’s body.

Then the wolf lowered its head and fixed its eyes on his bloody and battered body still hanging from the rope.

Dave Bailey

Dave Bailey started writing short stories when he lived in Brazil to help his students learn English. Now, he lives in Florida again where he continues to write fun and inspiring sci-fi and fantasy fiction stories. You can read his weekly short stories here on his blog. Make sure to join his advanced reading crew so you know when new stories become available >>> https://davebailey.me/go/crew