Scene Thirty Two
In which one of our heroes get lonely
The sunrise over a mountain peak is a beautiful sight. The light sparkles down the snow, and it’s like a thousand little rainbows trapped beneath the ground. Greg noted this, but he found no joy in it. He wasn’t a man who was known for his appreciation of nature, and anyway he had something else on his mind at the moment.
He spun on his heel and allowed himself to collapse against the wall.
“You are being, how you say, little Emo girl.” said Crazy Sven, in what Greg thought was an unnecessarily accusative voice.
Greg just smiled and nodded; even after two days staying with Crazy Sven he still wasn’t quite used to the other mans manners, or his grammar.
“You not want to talk about it?” asked Crazy Sven
Greg considered this, he had thus far avoided telling his host what he was travelling to do, and how he had ended up at the bottom of a mountain with a head wound and a broken leg. Nevertheless, it had been far too long, and he was worried about Tony Tony and Free Flower. “I lost the people I was travelling with” he said
Crazy Sven snorted like a tickled pig, “That is not being a problem” he said, “Just make yourself a call to them”
Greg shook his head “We were attacked” he said, “I don’t know if they are still alive, and I can’t call them in case they’re captured and the signal gets traced back to me.”
“Ah” said Crazy Sven, drawing himself to his full height and nodding sagaciously, “Crotchbitters”
Greg let the specist slur pass, it was far from the least defendable thing he had heard Crazy Sven say, “Right” he said, “So you see my problem”
“Still no problem” said Crazy Sven, with a sense of absolute certainty
“What?” asked Greg, who didn’t see how hundreds of armed dwarfs out for blood could possibly be called no problem.
“You you were on top of mountain right?”
“Yes” said Greg, a little uncertainly
“So we drive up top of mountain and go corpse hunting”
Greg thought about this, it occurred to him that he had no idea what dwarfs did with their dead, “Do we know how to do that?” he asked
“Oh ya” said Crazy Sven, “My brothers and I got through college doing it, back where I come from it is the basis of the economy”
Within five minutes Greg was regretting agreeing to corpse hunting.
It wasn’t that the idea of finding the corpses disturbed him; he thought that even finding a mutilated corpse would be better than not knowing what had happened.
Nor was it that he didn’t feel up to the expedition physically; Crazy Sven’s splint may have been made out of the leg piece of an piece of sixteenth century armour, and a lot of duct tape, but it was very sturdy.
What was disturbing Greg was the evident enthusiasm that Crazy Sven had for the job at hand. No one likes to be around someone who enjoys their job too much, and Crazy Sven definitely qualified in this case.
Crazy Sven was telling him with great relish about the time that he, his twelve brothers, and their manly sister, had all broken into a tomb to steal Lenin’s body, only to find that another group was half way through doing the same thing. From what Greg had picked up, there had been a punch up, and then they had all gone out to get a bear.
“Do you mean beer?” asked Greg.
“What are you, some sort of girly man? I mean a bear, we all went out and got lots of bears. Oh we were how you say? Cut, that night”
Greg nodded, he wasn’t really listening; he was trying to resist the urge to reach over and pull the handbrake. He wasn’t really sure what application of the laws of physics was allowing the yellow taxi cab to climb up an inverse cliff, but Greg didn’t want to risk interrupting it. For that matter Greg didn’t even want to draw attention to it; in case he scared the effect off and caused the cab to take its well deserved fall directly backwards.
Greg realised that the cab was levelling off. He opened his eyes, and noticed that they were on the same rocky hilltop where the Dryads had dropped them off. He almost didn’t recognise it; the whole area was absolutely covered with a thick layer of corpses.
Crazy Sven started whooping and jumped out of the cab. Greg followed him because Crazy Sven had parked the cab with its back end sticking over the edge of the cliff, and Greg had no desire to stay in the machine now that the universe might start paying attention again.
The instant Greg stepped out of the cab the smell of blood hit him, it was like a physically force, and it almost knocked him off his feet. Then he noticed the flies. They were everywhere, and Greg knew enough about insects to know exactly why they would be drawn to corpses. Disgusted, Greg resolved not to touch anything and wished that he had brought plastic bags to cover his shoes with. Then he reconsidered this and resolved not to leave the cab’s side at all.
He forced himself to take in the scene in front of him, letting the geography involved arrange itself in his mind. The corpses seemed to be scattered in two major ways. There was an enormous pile in the middle of the cliff top, and Greg noted that these corpses seemed mostly unmarked, apart from two days of decomposition of course. All the other corpses seemed to be spread evenly around to ground at the base of the pile, and these ones seemed to be a lot worse off, the one closest to Greg seemed to have had its lower jaw ripped clean off.
And they were all Dwarfs, which really wasn’t a minor detail. Greg tried to make sense of all this; the Dwarfs had lost a battle, badly lost by the look of it; given that the survivors hadn’t come back for the dead, and then what? All the undamaged corpses had been stacked in a pile? Greg would be the first to admit that he hadn’t read the Dek’Bul, in any kind of determined way, but stacking corpses in the open air didn’t make a lot of sense as a burial custom. Could they have ended up in a pile in some other way? Nothing came to mind.
Greg remembered the reason that they had came. “Are there any human corpses?” he called to Crazy Sven
“Nein” Crazy Sven called back, “They are all being crotchbitters”. Greg noticed that he seemed to be lifting jewellery off of the corpses. But he just shrugged, spoils of war, he supposed, even if it was someone else doing the actual fighting.
Guns, his mind chipped in. Greg turned back to the battle field, that’s right, he thought, the Dwarfs that attacked us were all armed with high tech weaponry, but he couldn’t see a single gun now. So what had happened to them?
Greg could feel the frustration starting to grow within him, he let it grow, and fill him up, and then he breathed out, and it was gone.
He ran through the facts in his mind. The Dwarfs had outnumbered them five hundred to three, more like two after he had exited stage left, and they had been better equipped as well, but something had happened, and they had lost, badly. Then something else had happened, and all their guns had been taken. And while all this had been going on Tony Tony and Free Flower had escaped unhurt. So where were they?