May the Hyperborean


Chapter Three

It was midday when May wearied of travelling. She sprawled across the trunk of a fallen tree and looked at the faded moons in the sky. She closed her eyes and pondered the wonders of the universe. Soon, she was half asleep, thinking about astronomy...starmoony...

Suddenly, a twig snapped!

She started, dagger raised, and saw a werewolf standing before her. It wasn't the crack of a twig she’d heard, but the splintering of a large bone the beast was chewing on.

"Werewolf!" cried May. The werewolf grinned with the bone still clutched in his teeth. Then he let the bone drop into his hand. May noticed that one of his fangs was made of silver. When her initial surprise wore off she grunted indignantly. "We don't get too many lycanthropes in Hyperborea."

The werewolf spat out splinters of bone. "Is that where you're from? Of course! You're light-footed and heavily armed. There aren't too many humans in this neck of the woods. I can't remember the last time that I was a human. It's so rare to not have at least one full moon in the sky, day or night. But I like it. I'd hate to be marooned on a mono-mooned planet. They call me Gore. And you?"

"I Yam who I Yam," May replied.

"How cryptic," Gore remarked. Then suddenly he became dour. His eyes began to blaze with menace and he leered at May.

"What do you want, flea bag?" growled May.

"Whaddaya think?" said Gore, grinning. "I'm an ogre; ergo, I eat humans!"

Instinctively, May crouched, muscles rippling, poised for action. But werewolves can only be killed with a weapon made of silver, a commodity she did not possess, and so May turned and bolted, racing down the trail like a cheetah. Gore balked at May’s speed, then pursued, skulking through the forest, tracking her like a hound, bloodshot eyes darting left and right. Soon, he found her hiding high up in the branches of a towering tree.

The werewolf began climbing through the branches and taunted May: "You think you can escape by King Konging your way up a tree?"

May made her tortuous way upward, keeping far above him. She blew her whistle numerous times and Digger came at once, barking up the tree, leaping and snapping at the air, but all in vain. May was harrowed. The further up she went the more the tree narrowed, and it swayed from the waves of wind. Soon, she was a hundred and fifty feet above the ground.

"If you don’t come down from there I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll chop this tree down!" Gore shouted.

May, above and obscured by leaves, discovered, almost to her regret, a buzzing nest of hornets. This she cut from the tree and tore open with her knife, upsetting the tiny critters. Immediately, she dropped it down on Gore and in a moment he was yelling and she could sort of see him scrambling around frantically, yelling. There was no doubt about it: Gore was being gored by a horde of hornets! And then May heard the snapping and cracking of wood: the werewolf was falling! All the way down he tumbled violently, crashing through branches and bouncing off limbs.

May anxiously made her way down the tree, and when she got both feet back on the ground she was relieved. She spotted something gleaming in the grass: it was Gore's silver fang, no doubt knocked out during his fall. Silver was valuable, so May picked it up and placed it in her top for safekeeping. But where was the werewolf? Something caught the corner of her eye and she looked up, whipping out her dagger. It was Gore, unmoving, caught in some branches above, torn and tattered and limp as a rag doll. May wondered if the fiend was dead, but she wasn't about to go up and prod him with a stick. Anyway, the lycanthrope was out!


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