Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used the following prompt: “That’s the most terrible smell ever.”
Shane didn't answer. He clamped a hand around my biceps and ran toward the remains of a wall, yanking me with him. I skidded on the scales-littered ground, cringing at the sound of splintering under my feet.
Shane slid around the corner of the desolate wall, darted his gaze around in what at one point surely had been a room, and pushed me ahead. I stumbled and protested, “Shane, I—”
There was a sharp sting on my rear end and Shane hollered, “Move!”
I fled, ignoring the way my heart thumped. Did he just smack me? What good would it do for us to cower in the farthest corner? The dragon could sit it out or drag us out from our hiding place.
Only when we reached the end, did I see what Shane must've seen right away. There was an old wooden door with heavy metal fittings lowered at an awkward angle into the ground. Gusts of hot wind followed us, whirling up scales and debris which whipped my face. I lifted my arm to shield my eyes.
“Open the door!” Shane yelled as he pushed me under a small overhang. At the same time, he ripped the large knife from where I'd stowed it and whirled around, facing the dragon.
I cast a glance over my shoulder and whimpered. From my point I only saw large, black claws as they landed on the ground, right in front of Shane. The dragon's roar shook the earth and forced me to clap my hands around my ears.
When I withdrew my hands, Shane stood there, his arms fanned out as if he hoped to protect me with this gesture. The dragon only needed to lower his head or reach out with his claw and Shane would be gone. With a gasp, I hurled myself onto the door and pulled with all my might.
The door creaked and the dragon rumbled. One claw tapped on the ground as it folded up its wings. After two more tries, the door opened, bringing with it a stench that caused my eyes to water.
“Oh, my God! That’s the most terrible smell ever,” I said.
“Better than acting as a meal for a dragon,” Shane ground out. “Get in there.”
I swallowed. The daylight illuminated a flight of stairs winding deep into the earth. I walked on the first stone step, slapping a hand over my nose and mouth to prevent myself from vomiting.
I steadied myself with one hand on the wall as I hurried down the steps. Where did the damn stench come from? At least the stairs weren't slippery, and the wall felt cool but dry to the touch. A bang resounded, and I squeaked when sudden darkness enveloped me.
Behind me, Shane said, “It's all right, Gil. It's just me. The dragon can't get to us.”
“Great,” I replied. “Walking in an underground structure that might collapse any second feels so much safer than facing a dragon.”
Shane laughed as he reached me. He laid a hand on my shoulder, then slid his arm around my torso and sought out my mouth. I opened to his questing tongue, moaning when his tongue slipped in. When we came up for air, I said, “I don't like it here.”
“I don't either. But if I recall correctly, this has been one of the smaller towers, and they all led to various passages. Maybe we're lucky and this one leads to the forest,” Shane said.
“And if it doesn't?”
“We'll find a way out of here, Gil. I promise, I'll get you to safety.”
I believed him.