The goat was dead, but Oatey dragged it along after her. Lugh nearly laughed at the comic look of the small woman straining to pull the dead weight of it along. Nearly, but then he remembered how she had caused the wound that caused its death, how quickly and how offhandedly.
She turned, sweat and dust stained, to look at Lugh, “Here, make yourself useful.” she said and tossed him the rope. Lugh made an awkward grab for the line but missed it. He noticed her brief contemptuous smirk as he picked it up off the dirt, but also how the sweat glistened on her body.
Perhaps Oatey noticed his regard as well because she turned and separated her doe skin shift from the bundle she carried. Items attached to her loincloth were tossed on the remains of the bundle and she quickly shrugged her way into the dress. She bent again, catching up a belt, and anchoring all at her waist. She quickly turned to what remained of her bundle and wrapped it together with a thong that let her throw it over her head to rest across her shoulder. She turned back, hands on hips and the same amused curl of her lips, “Its a rope Lugh. Pull it.” Her eyes laughed at him.
“Its not my rope.” Lugh began. But for reasons he couldn’t pin down he threw it over his shoulder and walked toward her. She turned and began to stroll along a trail that he’d been finding the blood that led him to her.
“I bled the goat too quick,” Oatey sighed, as if it was a mark on her professional pride. She let him draw even with her and then glanced over at him to say, “That or I picked the wrong goat. I would have had a real hard time of it without your help. Thanks.”
Lugh was almost as surprised by her expression of thanks as he was by her casual bleeding of the goat in the first place. He dragged the goat, mulling that revelation before asking, “Oatey, why are we dragging the goat?”
“We. . .” Oatey chuckled, “. . . are dragging the goat to the next goat unless you don’t have the strength.”
Lugh trudged along, dragging the dead goat behind, and mulling her answer. She had ignored his question and stabbed his pride to make him continue to do something that made no sense. Now he was sweating as much as she had been and climbing a little rise was making him breath hard. “So Oatey,” he puffed, “How far to the next goat?”
Oatey ignored his question, “Are you ready for a run?” She stood at the top of the rise and gazed back the way they had come.
“A run, what?” but as Lugh turned to look back the way she was looking his question died on his lips. A huge figure, roughly man shaped, stood above the little trees that had surrounded the meadow where he’d been sitting. The thing was walking slowly, but following the path they had marked in blood. Even at a distance Lugh could see that he pushed aside the trees as if they were tall grass.
“When a giant wakes he’s hungry, real hungry. There’s no room for anything but feeding. No thought but the smell of blood and of woman. He thinks I’m a giant wife, if he thinks at all. Mostly he just wants the goat.” She turned and pointed down the other side of the rise, “And then he’ll want that next goat. Here’s good for that one.”
Lugh dropped the rope and looked again at the giant. “Its nearly twenty feet tall.”
“I don’t think over fourteen.” corrected Oatey
“Fine, more than twice the height of a man.” Lugh blanched. “What are you doing with it.”
“Me?” Oatey laughed. “What happen to WE, Lugh of the Long Reach, god of the Gael. I think you better stick with me now. That giant is going to have the scent of you soon enough. More than a goat, more than even a giant wife, that thing wants man-flesh and you look like a tasty bit to me.” Oatey grinned wickedly, and then started off down the slope toward her next goat victim.
“Fine, what are WE going to do with it? Lugh called after her, looking back at the looming giant’s slow progress along their path.
“WE are going to kill it.” Oatey called over her shoulder.