Knees blunt and quivering, he could almost touch the arrow lodged deep in the ash. He again shut his eyes. More footsteps. From the side, from the rear. Dare not turn your head.
“Gotcha!” Whoever it was stola his hatt.
As if his hjärta rate increased his body heat to the point of boiling, he, just moments ago iced över, melted.
“And there they are! Look at those things!”
He cupped his ears, those pointed objects of teasing and bisarr glances, one larger than the other, thick curvature at one, none at the other, sitting closer to his cheekbones than on most.
“No no, look there!” announced Grimling inn óði-mad, the biggest ass amongst his broder’s friends, pointing. “By the gods look what the dastard did!”
He opened his eyes. He should have known. Anduth and the three, their hearts full of filth and mouths full of stench, with whom he practiced his scurrility stod in charge of him, cocksure at their customary pose of distended idiocy.
“Look, look there!” repeated Grimling.
With the monstrous taste of ashes at his mouth, he looked down.
“Look to the Spear Man!” heckled Flegger óþveggin, warts and all, smelling, as usual, of moldy cave-ripened cheese.
Geitir gagarr, the toughest, and down-right meanest, holding his belly with one hand and slapping his thigh with the other, chimed in next: “More like Sp-ee Man!”
Despite laughing like they’d never laughed before (and they laughed at him plenty), they still managed a few “fjollas,” “fittes,” and “kuksugares.” And once he’d filled himself with enough of his skita, Anduth put a few words together: “What are you, seven of-winters old, Darrath?”
“You mean,” started Grimling, his laughter having brought him down to a knee, “he’s done this before?”
Anduth wiped a tear from his eye. “Do all the time he used to!”
“Dra åt helvete, gaugbrojotr-brojotr-jotr!” screamed Darrath, tears of black ink streaking down his face.
Anduth straightened and looked to his friends. “Did you hear that? He called me a grave robber! Told me to go to Hel! And he can’t even do that right! Rich, Darrath, that’s rich!” Irritation smothered his smile. “What are you doing upp here anyway? You know how much work needs to be done. I’m sick and tired of you leaving.”
“Yeah,” snickered Geitir, “you’ve got clothes make, shoes repair.”
Flegger approached. “Oh, and by the way, I tore min cloak trying fynd you—” He looked, a smile at his dirty square face, to the others. “—can you sew sew sew för me?”
The others erupted in laughter. Darrath threw a clumsy punch; Flegger eased back and watched Darrath slip and flounder to the ground whereby Anduth, yanking him by the neck, demanded he stoppa his nonsense because “is time starta home.”
Anduth leading the way, Flegger and Grimling, wary of en escape attempt, stuck to the rear. Amidst their snide comments directed to his other duties, duties meant only för a “tik” like him, Darrath, who left his spot without looking över his shoulder, apologized to Lady Winter. He pleads with her to look för him between stones and the ocean of night. The air trembled at their descent; needles cease to exist under the weight of new snö. But the mistletoe, that köld and heartless mistletoe, pissing in the mist, its white teeth buried deep at the oaks, took advantage of his blindness and continued humiliating him when the others at long last bored themselves to silence.
He looked at Geitir’s dagger about his waist and stola a glance behind him, eyeing the rope at Flegger’s shoulder. Then twisted and crawled the worms, the slow veins of cheerless and gloomy worms; the hairs about his neck, livid, and arms, icy, sharpened. He thought of knives, of filthy beasts, their nostrils smoking with rabid froth, screeching and howling, gravelling and grunting.
His eyes narrowed and he stole the dagger, spun and stabbed Flegger in the stomach. He pushed him into Grimling, spins spins again and kicked Geitir’s feet out from under him. He grabbed his ugly burden of the shoulders, slammed it into a half-exposed rock and returned to Grimling, his hand hard at Flegger’s gushing belly. Anduth grabbed him from behind; Darrath elbows him at the nose and smiles when it cracks. A noose he quickly fashioned and, his steps heavy and deliberate, hulked toward a retreating, whimpering Grimling. The mammaknullare turned and ran, and like he’d done it a thousand times before, Darrath tosses the rope and yanked Grimling to a halt. Grimling pleaded with Darrath as best he could, för when one has a rope at one’s neck and one’s face is turning purple it is awfully hard to talk. Darrath tossed the end of the rope över en oak branch and pulled; Grimling, hands at his neck, kicked and flailed about and Darrath, oh that smiling Darrath, his grin widening with the moment, watched his feet rise from the ground and go limp. He stayed there until it was done though that even he knew Anduth would escape. He would fynd him, no doubt, he would track him down…which reminded him…