Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used: .“Here we go again.”
Shane nodded. He tugged me backward, deeper into the derelict castle, whereas I pulled in the other direction, far away from the darkness. A roar filled the air and I clapped my hands over my ears, then everything around me moved at once.
Large stones clattered to the ground, missing me only by sheer luck. Smaller, sharp-edged stones hit me on my arms, neck, back, wherever. Coughing, I strained against Shane's arm around my biceps. I needed to get out of here. We needed to get out of here.
A whole wall to our right side blasted away, and the giant head of the black dragon appeared. It threw its head back to scream in triumph. I whimpered and froze. A moment later, Shane yanked and I fell against his chest. He clamped his arm around my upper body and dragged me with him. My feet barely touched the ground, and Shane's hold around me made breathing difficult.
A ball of flames erupted to our left side, charring the wall, and I yelled in shock. The dragon clomped behind us, and more of the structure of the derelict castle fell victim to its claws and roars.
Shane shoved me into a small alcove, then spread his legs and arms, blocking the entrance. Was he crazy?
“Shane!” I shouted. The dragon lowered its head, almost to the ground, and peered at Shane from his reptilian eyes. The urge to vomit rose inside me and I blindly groped for Shane's shirt. In a whisper, I asked, “Shane, please, what are you doing?”
Shane didn't answer, but words that sounded like a chant flew over his lips. A pale red light glowed at Shane's front, increasing in intensity the longer Shane spoke. The dragon reared back and roared before its head darted back, aimed right at Shane. I scrunched my eyes shut and screamed.
Someone else screamed as well. When I opened my eyes again, the dragon was stamping back and forth, rubbing its snout on the scale-littered ground, wailing.
Shane expelled several long breaths, then let go of the entrance to our little hiding place, which seemed to be covered with some sort of reddish film. I asked, “What the hell is that?”
Shane whirled around, grabbed my arms, and shook me. It was just one shake, but it was enough to rattle me thoroughly. My heart was still thundering from the dragon's attack, and having Shane's furious gaze directed at me didn't help me to calm down. I expected him to yell, but his voice was disturbingly low, when he said, “When I tell you to run or go somewhere, you do as I say, is that understood?”
Absolutely. So why did I snipe at him? “And if I don't, what are you going to do?”
Shane's body tensed, and for a moment he resembled a wild animal. One that was ticked off and would start biting any second. One of his hands wrapped around my neck, and he tugged me close for a brief but very firm kiss. “Let's not find out, okay?”
I nodded. Some things didn't need to be explored firsthand. I asked, “What now?”
“Now, we’ll go back the way we came and try for a different route, but this time you'll do exactly as I say.” Shane's eyes gleamed, and even if I'd still had a spark of resistance running through me, his look erased any thought of opposition.
Shane interlinked our hands, then used his free hand to rub over the reddish cover, and it disappeared. The dragon was banging its head against a crumbled wall somewhere in the south, still screeching occasionally. I followed Shane and we dove back into the dark aisles.
“Here we go again,” I muttered.
Shane squeezed my hand and I fell quiet. Soon my eyes watered from the intense stench, but I didn't voice my objection. After what seemed a long time, a sliver of light illuminated the end of the tunnel.
“There!” I said, pointing at the opening.
“I see it,” Shane replied.
We hurried along, but Shane skidded to a stop when a dark shadow blotted the exit. I bit down on my lip to prevent myself from crying. Would this ever end?