Flash Friday 17/06/2016: Move Ogre
Daniel plucked at the taut rope, checking its tension. Once satisfied, he gave a nod to himself, stood up, and darted to a bush nearby, peering over the top alongside his friend Patrick.
“Right then,” Daniel said. “That should do it.”
Patrick peered over the bush, observing the setup. Then, turning to Daniel with a confused look; “will it?”
“Of course it will. My dad always said us twenty-year-olds are at our mental peak, so this is basically a foolproof plan. See, the ogre will come along, and he’ll spot the cake we placed down in the clearing in front of this bush, see? He’ll walk towards it, but as he does, his foot will catch on the rope I put between the two trees, and he’ll fall in our direction. Then we leap out and slice his throat with our swords.”
“Ah,” Patrick said. “Right.”
The pair waited in silence. Birds tweeted and animals rustled around them in the forest. Then, Patrick said; “do ogres like cake?”
Daniel frowned. “What kind of stupid question is that?”
“I’m just saying. If our entire plan revolves around ogres eating cake, we should at least make sure they like it. All I know ogres to eat are sheep, and cows, and bad children.”
“I’m pretty sure anything that looks humanoid, ugly or not, have a soft spot for cake. This is going to work, I promise you. Then we can go back to town and prove ourselves the hero we claimed to be.”
“You claimed to be. Very loudly. After five pints. Got us into this ogre business in the first place.”
“And who was the one that joined me by climbing onto a table and singing a loud and improvised ballad of how ‘strong, mighty, and ogre-killy’ we are?”
Patrick opened his mouth to object. He closed it again, then said, “that was me, wasn’t it?”
Patrick gave a shrug. “Fair cop, I suppose.” Perking up, he added: “One of the farmers said that if we kill this ogre and save the village from its reign of terror, I get to spend some time with his girl.”
“Oh really? Pretty thing, is she?”
“Yeah. Lovely pig he keeps out in his fields. Didn’t see anything quite like it in my farming days. Farmer said I could feed it some lettuce if we win. I’m very honoured.”
“Sure,” Daniel said, unsure. “Very heroic. Now, see, when I get back, I’m going to claim half of the town’s–”
The ground shook.
Both ogre hunters fell into silence. The rhythmic sound of very, very heavy footfall and trees being knocked over got closer and louder as time passed. Before long, a fifteen-foot tall being strolled into view, behind the tripwire trees. It was a large, bald ogre, the majority of its forehead taken up by a single eye. It sported a loincloth and a large weathered club, and had a gut that revealed its strong interest in the livestock of the nearby village.
It came to an abrupt stop, sniffing the air with giant heaves. Peering around the forest and using its nose like a metal detector, it finally discovered the cake on the other side of the tripwire. With a beaming face of glee, it began its charge towards it. It hadn’t even reached its full momentum before its foot snagged the rope, tearing up the trees attached to it. The ogre fell with a confused grunt, its head slamming into the floor not too far away from the two hunters.
“Alright!” Daniel said, punctuated with a laugh. Both he and Patrick leaped out of the bush, wasting no time in drawing their swords. “Told you it would work! Now we can go back as the heroes we always knew we–”
The ground shook again as two heavy hands slammed into the ground.
In what was probably the most terrifying push-up the pair had ever seen, the ogre lifted itself off of the floor, its one eye glaring at the two. As much as Daniel hoped the fall would knock it out for the count, it was as conscious as it had ever been; this time, however, it was also very angry with cake plastered across its face.
Patrick swallowed. “Daniel?”
Daniel kept his eyes on the ogre, his sword visibly shaking in his hand as he stood his ground. “Yeah?”
“Ogres get back up again.”
Daniel nodded. “Duly noted.”
“So now what do we do? Run?”
Daniel mulled the idea over in his mind for a moment. As the ogre climbed to its feet, Daniel made his choice: “heroes don’t run.”
“Heroes don’t die, either!”
“Then we won’t.” Daniel held his sword straight and charged. “Go for the legs! It can’t swing if it can’t stand!”
Patrick stood where he was, sword feebly held in hand, debating between joining his friend or running for the hills. Finally, he clutched the hilt with both hands, yelled his favourite battlecry of “oh, bloody hell!” and charged in himself.
Eventually, they would become the fabled ogre-slayers and saviours of New Cowsbury, spoken of by bards and heralded in tales and legends. For now, however, they were two confused and scared young adults trying desperately to avoid a club the size of a small tree. Because the ballads always sing of how brave and courageous you were, but not how loudly you screamed.