[NorthWorld] Thorgaut Kabbisson: Chapter 24 – Free!
Thorgaut started sawing as quickly as he could without making a whole lot of noise. He could hear Arnulfr stomping around the house. He was muttering on about all the trouble Runa brought into his life.
Thorgaut had almost completed cutting through the bedpost when he heard Arnulfr coming back into the house. He shoved the saw under his pillow and laid back down.
Arulfr stuck his head back through the doorway. “Did that little brat come back in here?” he asked.
Thorgaut shook his head, but not fast enough to convince him. Arnulfr stomped into the room and straight the to bed. He reached under it and pulled Runa out kicking and screaming by the hair. As she came closer, he twisted her hair up around his fist until she was standing on the tip of her toes.
“Let’s go,” he hissed. “I’m gonna tie you to the tree and leave you there for the NightWalkers.”
As he turned to leave, the torch passed close to the bedpost they had been cutting. Arnulfr’s eyes landed on the cut and the sawdust left behind.
“What?” he yelled at Thorgaut. “This little witch cast a spell on you, and you were gonna betray me too.”
His free hand still twisted up in Runa’s hair, Arnulfr felt around on the mattress for the saw with the end of the torch. He pushed the pillow back and found the tool underneath. He grabbed awkwardly at the saw and shook it in Thorgaut’s face.
In his excitement, the torch slipped out of his hand and onto the mattress. He yanked his hand out of Runa’s hair causing her to scream out in pain. Arnulfr shoved her roughly against the wall so she couldn’t get away, and grabbed the torch back off the bed.
The damage was already done though. The sheets had caught fire and started to spread rapidly across the bed. Thorgaut leaped off to the side and tried to pull himself free from the chain.
Arnulfr kicked him from behind and sent Thorgaut flying back onto the mattress. Arnulfr burst out laughing as Thorgaut tried to roll away from the heat and flames.
“This went better than I imagined,” Arnulfr gloated. “You deserve it you undead animal.”
He grabbed Runa’s by the hair again and backed up slowly toward the door. He watched while Thorgaut struggled to pull himself away from the flames.
Thorgaut threw his whole body off to the side as far as he could, but his arm was still chained to the post. The hot flames blazed up singing the hair on his arm that he couldn’t pull away from the bed.
He turned to Arnulfr who was waiting at the door to watch the flames burn him up. Thorgaut screamed at him and threw part of a burning sheet in his direction.
Arnulfr laughed and dodged it. He yanked Runa into the burning path of the sheet causing it to land on her feet. She screamed and jumped away.
“Momma, help me,” she screamed. “Where are you? Aren’t you coming?”
“Of course she’s not coming, you delusional child,” Arnulfr yelled at her. “She can’t come back from the dead. But don’t worry because I’m going to send you on over to her as soon as I make sure Thorgaut can’t come back to bother us.”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, a huge dark figure appeared behind him in the doorway. Thorgaut stopped struggling to stare at the long, dark face and the flowing black hair. But what caught his attention the most were the unblinking, jet-black eyes.
Arnulfr noticed that Thorgaut wasn’t struggling to get away from the flame any longer. He stopped laughing and turned to see what Thorgaut was staring at behind him Arnulfr jumped back while shoving Runa in front of himself to use her as a shield. He held the torch out like a sword.
A woman came walking out from behind the tall, dark man and entered the room. She looked like a regular woman, except she had the same jet-black eyes that the man did.
“Momma,” Runa cried holding out her arms in the woman’s direction. “You made it. I’m so glad to see you.”
Thorgaut could see a slight resemblance between Runa and the woman.
“It’s okay, my love,” the woman said in a low, ominous tone. “Just hold still while momma takes care of your dear, old Uncle Arn. I’m gonna teach him a lesson and make sure he never, ever hurts either of you again.”
“I took good care of the children,” Arnulfr whined. “I treated them as if they were my own.”
“Most people take better care of their dogs than you did my children,” she shrieked. It came out as a loud, shrill scream that almost split Thorgaut’s eardrums. “You made them your own personal little slaves. Now, I’m gonna make you mine.”
Arnulfr swung the torch into her face, but she didn’t even blink with those eerie, black eyes. She stuck out her hand extremely fast and blocked the blow with her open palm. Immediately, the flame of the torch snuffed out. The fire on the bed went out at the same time, and the room was once again cloaked in pitch-black darkness.
Thorgaut couldn’t see what was going on, but he heard lots of banging and Arnulfr screaming for mercy. The creatures dragged him off still kicking and screaming. His loud screams faded off into the distance and then stopped suddenly.
Thorgaut crouched down as small as possible while tugging on the chain, but it was no use. It was still attached to the bedpost. He felt around on the floor and managed to find the saw once again. He placed it in the groove he had been cutting early and started sawing as fast as he could.
Thorgaut felt the bedpost moving around and giving away. He tried jerking the chain out, but it still wasn’t loose enough. He heard noises and banging around the house. It sounded like they were looking for Runa’s brother. He had to hurry.
He put the saw back in the groove and pushed on it, but it got stuck. His hand kept moving while the tool got caught in the wood. His hand slipped into the blade and cut his palm. The saw fell out and bounced off on the floor in the darkness.
Thorgaut crouched down again and felt around wildly. His fingers brushed against it, but in his rush he pushed it out farther away from him. He groaned in anguish. Thorgaut reached out into the darkness a little more carefully this time. The tips of his fingers brushed against it, but it was almost too far out of reach for him to grab.
He pulled harder on the chain and the bed gave way a little. It was just enough for Thorgaut to grab the saw once again. He quickly got to work and managed to cut the rest of the way through the bedpost.
Thorgaut tried pulling on the chain, but it was stuck. He needed to separate the two, but the weight of the bed was still pressing down on the lower part of the post. Thorgaut lifted the bed and pulled on the chain. It was heavy, and he couldn’t get it high enough to pull out the part of the post he had sawed through.
He gave it another heave and kicked at the post. This time it gave way and popped out from under the bed. That left all the weight on his arms, and he was still weak from the previous several days of not eating. The bed fell with a crash, and he landed on top of it.
Thorgaut lay in the dark for a minute but didn’t hear anything. He stood up slowly and tested the chain. It was loose, and he was a free man. He wanted to do a little jig right there but decided against it for the time being. For now, he needed to get out of here before those black-eyed creatures came back for him.
He turned and took a step toward the door in the darkness, and ran right into something. Or rather someone.
Thorgaut reached out to feel it and by the size realized it was the first man he had seen in the doorway.
“Oops! Sorry,” he said. He let go of the man’s arm and backed away.
The man reached out and grabbed him by the throat. Thorgaut felt like a puppet in this man’s hands. They were both about the same size, but this guy was much stronger than Thorgaut. The man lifted him straight up off the floor.
Thorgaut struggled against him, but it was no use. The man placed both hands around his neck and pulled him forward.
“Sheesh! Are you gonna try and kiss me?” he asked.
Thorgaut could feel the breath being squeezed out him. The last thing he remembered before passing out was the man biting into his neck like a wolf.
Was he dreaming? Was he still in a coma? Had he fallen and the wolves eaten him? Maybe he was dead already, and this was the afterlife.