To Be The One
Amin squeezed his eyes shut. Crack! The sound of wood smashing against a skull was as distinct as it was nauseating. He turned to see a towering figure swaying like a tree in a mighty breeze clutching his wrist.
Obed, sprawled on the ground, lay stunned.
Eoban, rearing back for a swing, soon became pinioned by three of the largest men Amin had ever seen.
“Stop!” Amin tried to wrench free.
A new figure lumbered forward. “Enough!” The stranger stood a head taller than Eoban, but he made no attempt to physically interject. Slewing his gaze from Obed’s still form to Barak standing behind Amin and then to Eoban, he merely shook his fist like an angry parent. “You’re trespassers here! By all rights, I should put you to death!” He dropped his hand to his side. “But that is not my way.”
Grumbling erupted from the other warriors.
“I am Luge. I decide!”
Obed roused and shook his head. Eoban marched to his side and pulled him to his feet.
The stranger propped his hands on his hips. “Leave these mountains. If you disobey, my men will have their way.”
Obed staggered, rubbing his head with one hand and lifting the other in apparent surrender. “We’ve no wish to offend. We’ll leave.”
Enraged, Amin’s body trembled, his voice dropping to a growl. “I won’t go.”
Luge grabbed Amin’s tunic and shook him. “No?”
A wall holding back fear and fury burst, flooding Amin’s system. “I can’t leave! I’ve come so far to find my father— I won’t turn back now.”
The giant warrior’s eyes narrowed as he studied the boy in his grip. “You’re looking for your father?” Another shake, gentler this time, followed the question.
Amin nodded and sniffed, wiping his face with the back of his hand.
Freeing Amin, Luge glanced at Eoban. “Who is this man you seek?”
Eoban rubbed his jaw. “Neither friend nor enemy. He’s this boy’s father—the leader of a neighboring clan.”
Luge scowled at Amin. “Why did he leave? Why do you seek him here—in the mountains?”
Amin shrugged. “He was lost—out of his mind…”
Barak stepped forward. “Why waylay us? We’ve done you no harm.”
His gaze still fixed on Amin, Luge tilted his head as if appraising the boy. “I had a son about your age.” His voice grew thick. “We were attacked by raiders from over the mountain. Now my boy is gone—forever.”
Eoban leapt forward. “Have you seen a man with long black hair, slender body, and dark haughty eyes?”
Luge shrugged. “That describes many men.” His gaze slipped from Amin to Eoban. “If I found such a man, I’d send him home. This is no place for strangers. Treachery is afoot.”
With a snort, Obed glanced from Barak to the giant. “Is that what you fear? Why you attacked us?”
Luge stepped over to the smoldering fire, grunted, and gestured to one of his men.
The warrior squatted before the fire and blew the feeble flames to life. Another warrior…
For more of this novel, check out OldEarth Ishtar Encounter https://amzn.to/2OAkDQF
Books by A. K. Frailey
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Encounter Science Fiction Short Stories & Novella https://amzn.to/3dq6q5l
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Hope’s Embrace & Other Poems https://amzn.to/3cn22X8