Chapter 9 - The Trap

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The Northern Barrier Range

Mikkin wandered around the pile of Gobelin bodies while he pondered his next move. His plan had worked, he and Jamie were free. They now had a heap of dead bodies to show for it, with the exception of the Gobelin leader.

"Where do you think it went?" Jamie asked, traipsing around the camp as if he might find the Gobelin hiding in the bushes. "Maybe it ran away."

If the Gobelin was smart, then perhaps it was long gone, but he doubted it. He cupped his hands around his mouth and called out. "You there," he shouted into the darkness, hoping the little monster would answer. "Gobelin? If you are hiding, come out. We will not harm you, you have my word." His booming voice echoed through the wilderness. Likely it would startle the other creatures of the forest.

If the Gobelin came forth, he would be true to his word. He would not harm the creature. He wanted to bargain with it and see if he could use the creature to his advantage. Not only that, he was not interested in the idea of it creeping behind them as they trekked further into the range. Better to know where it was. The idea of being taken unawares did not sit well with him.

There was no answer...only silence.

"Well, on the bright side, we have three untouched rabbits to feast on." Jamie held one of them up.

He laughed as some of the tension fled his nerves. "There's something. But let us first move those reeking bodies, reclaim our arrows, and arm ourselves. I do not like the idea of a lurking Gobelin." Something else dawned upon him. "We must now take watches. I will take the first tonight. You may take the second." Their sleep would be hindered, but they would be safer.

They got right to work, and stinking work it was. Unpleasant did not encompass the entirety of the disgusting task. The bodies reeked of garbage, rot, and dead fish. It was a disgusting chore to remove the arrows and clean the guts from them. When they finished, even they themselves smelled of the little wretches.

"Gods!" he cursed. "If it was not so dark, I would go to the creek for a swim."

Jamie heartily agreed. They set about skinning and skewering the rabbits. After the work was done, he tried once more to tempt the Gobelin out of hiding. If it lingered in the area, then it would hear his call. Part of him had a tingling feeling that the creature was watching them from the darkness. "We will share our food with you," he cried into the night. "If you come out, I promise we will not harm you. Surely you are hungry." Still there was no answer, so he shrugged his shoulders. Perhaps it was better this way-more food for the two of them.

They feasted well that night. He took a whole rabbit to himself and gave Jamie one too. They saved the third for breakfast. The excitement of the day had generated an insatiable appetite within them. When they finished, they both stretched out and lay back to gaze upon the little bits of stars visible from the forest floor.

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