The rough looking creature tried to lift its crude stone axe to block Lugh’s onslaught, but he was not nearly quick enough to prevent the thrust that tore through his throat and severed his spine. The axe slipped from nerveless fingers and Lugh and the dead body fell heavily together. Lugh shoved himself up, revolted by the stench of the thing. Planting his foot on the corpse’s chest, he pulled his sword free. The path was quiet now. There was no more sign of the creatures save their dead.
Lugh would have preferred more action. Now that the battle was done, there was nothing left, but the counting of his own dead. He turned to where Oatie lay beneath the monster she’d killed with her spear. Blood was livid in her hair and her face looked distorted on the side that must have taken the blow. Still, she looked almost peaceful. For revulsion that the evil thing was touching her or that rage that she was no more, Lugh kicked at the creature, rolling it part way off of her. The spear through the thing’s corpse stopped its turning and it rolled back. Lugh heard a gasp and for a moment, thinking it was from Oatie, he hoped. Likely it was just the evil thing rolling back on her expelled a little air from her. Lugh had seen a lot of things in his long life, and in it had seen more than a life-times worth of violence and death. Sometimes the dead talked, but the words they spoke only made sense in dreams.
He grabbed hold of the spear and pulling and rolling with the leverage of the spear through the thing he almost got it over, but the copper spearhead would not pull back out of the creature. All the while the dead thing made the same groaning noises and others, wheezes and hisses, as the spear was through its lungs and worrying the thing worked its rib cage like a bellows. Exasperated, Lugh dragged the thing off of Oatie and then pulled the spear completely through and out of the bloody mess.
Lugh’s hands were covered with blood and should have been slick on the haft of the spear, but remarkably, the spear was firm in his grip. Oatie designed this herself, amazing. I didn’t know the half of her, sad. There were other bodies about, bodies that needed checking. Besides, he didn’t feel ready to face the corpse of a friend, not yet.
So, without looking back, Lugh strode back up the road making sure of the kills. Here and there Lugh found one or two that needed the attention. Bloody as he was, he took the opportunity to retrieve arrows as well, again marveling at the utility of the hafted dagger that gave him good leverage and control when it was necessary to cut an arrow free of bone or gristle. Then too, it gave the advantage of letting him be a bit farther away from the smelly things, their smell not improved at all by the release of their bladder and bowels.
In the end he saved almost all of his arrows. All that remained was the one stuck in the big monster who had struck down Oatie. Lugh sighed, “Oh Oatie” He turned back to where the headless thing lay by the girl. Wasn’t she laying on her back? That was what he remembered, but though the big body of the creature still lay as he remembered, Oatie lay differently, at least I think so. Lugh crouched and rushed back toward the small lump amid the carnage. If any of those disgusting things have touched her I’ll drive this spear through their guts and make sure I don’t kill them quick.