“Been a quiet day, eh?” The old man spoke after swallowing his first bite. “Yes uncle it has been,” He young man tore off another piece and gave it to the other man. The older man held the piece out to the younger, “You’ll need your strength.”
“I’ve got plenty to spare,” the young man made a muscle bulge in his arm, “you see?” The uncle swatted the young man on the arm playfully. “Oh I see. You have your father’s strength but sadly you also got his thick head.” The old man laughed alone.
The young man shook his head and hefted his axe. “Do we get back to work, jester, or do we trade jokes until the sun sleeps?” The old man laughed again but stood up less quickly than his nephew. “If we trade in jokes you’d be a poor merchant.” He laughed harder.
“Very funny, uncle, are you going to help your poor nephew cut these trees or are you going to entertain yourself?” “Can’t I do both?” The old uncle laughed once more then hefted his axe and he and his nephew began to work once again.
By midday they had cut down three trees and had removed the branches discarding the thin useless ones and keeping the thick sturdy ones. They attached places the logs on a cart they had repaired so many times the uncle doubted if any of the original wood was still there at all.
Their Ox pulled the cart and they walked along beside holding the harness and trading stories. “When your father and I were boys our father had a friend named.... I can’t remember his name but he was a large man.” “How large was he, uncle?”
The young man’s uncle spread his arms wide and smacked his nephew across his face playfully. “Save your strength for the trees,” the young man said laughing. He wondered how long his uncle would be useful to him out in the forest.
The young man stepped on something hard. Hard enough to feel it through his calloused feet. He stopped to kneel down and probe the forest floor. His uncle kept walking. The young man pushed the leaves and saw something unusual.
“Uncle, come here.” The young man continued to clear the forest debris away. “Why?” The old man turned and began to walk back the way he had come. The young man pulled up on what he had found and held it up to the light. It was a ring.
The ring had a creature’s face carved into it and the face was pointed which is why he felt it. “Look at....,” the young man stopped speaking and just stared. Behind his uncle there was another man where it had been just the two of them before.
“What have you got there?” His uncle took another step and he stopped abruptly. His hands went to his belly letting his axe drop. The young man was speechless at the sight. The unknown man had come right behind his uncle. The strange man gave a grunt and the tip of some kind of blade exited his uncle’s belly.
The young man stood. His heart was racing and his hand tightened around the shaft of his axe as his uncle fell to his knees. “Why have you done this?” In his shock the young man had forgotten that he still carried the ring in his left fist hard enough to bruise. The strange man looked to him with his right arm in the shape of a long blade.
He made a strange noise then coughed. “Forgive me.” The blade shrunk back into a hand. “I am only hungry.” He then dropped to the ground and began to bite hunks out of the young man’s uncle. The lifeless corpse moving in an unnatural way. Thankfully his eyes had the look of death in them.
The strange man looked up with his face smeared with blood and gore. “Forgive me, Lord.” The young man ran. He ran until he thought his heart would leave his chest and keep running on it’s own. He had come to his village and raced through the main path through. Once he had crossed the bone fence he slowed his pace and then stopped to catch his breath.
His chest burned with the effort. A warm rush if urine fell down his leg at the thought of his uncle being killed and eaten. As he looked up from the ground he saw the face of the strange man his face now clear of blood. “What would you have of me?” The man screamed.