"What was that?!" I suddenly pulled myself to attention, straining to hear what had interrupted my drowsy reverie.
I'd not had much sleep the night before. The General had assigned me the night watch, assumedly as discipline for the prank I'd pulled on our rookie knight. It had been worth it though... the look on young Peter's face. Priceless! But, the long night had left me sleepy, and I'd taken advantage of the quiet clearing to catch a little nap. Even the long night, though, had done nothing to dull my keen senses.
Supersonic, they'd called me back at the Academy. All I needed was a cape and a secret identity to become my own comic book hero. I didn't know about that, but I did have excellent hearing. Certainly, what I'd just heard was not normal for the meadow.
I cautiously opened one eye, not wanting to draw any attention to myself, lest the sound in question be from something poised to pounce. I looked around the clearing with piercing eyes, taking in the swaying trees, the buttercups among the grasses, the...
Suddenly, I saw it and couldn't believe my eyes. We'd been hunting these creatures for days in what seemed to be a futile search, sent on a mad crusade through the wild uninhabited lands by the King. After weeks of hardship, I'd finally found one... the scourge on our very villages!
I began to creep my way to the edge of the clearing, intending to return to the camp for backup. But something stopped my retreat-- my own thoughts. Memories of long golden hair, soft skin, slender figure... and eyes of contempt. My own narrowed and I felt a steely resolve slide over my heart. I'd show her.
I slowly rose to my feet. Keeping my eyes on the creature, I drew my sword from its hilt and crouched. "Come to Daddy," I murmured. With a barbaric yell, I threw myself at him, sword at the ready. I probably should have shut my mouth. Alerted to my presence, he dived out of my path, narrowly missing the sting of my blade. Now it was his turn to eye me warily, as he hovered just out of my reach, searching for possible escape. He lunged for an exit, but was blocked by my killer reflexes. "Oh no you don't," I growled. "Your ass is mine."
I drew my arm back to strike what was sure to be the deathblow when a memory flashed through my head. "Sure, anyone can kill by the sword," she had taunted before turning to gaze adoringly at Sir Paul strutting through the Town Square. She had sighed, "I bet HE could do it with his bare hands." Not about to be bested by another, I glared at my sword and tossed it into the shrubbery. If Sir Paul could do it, so could I.
I circled the creature and dived for cover as it suddenly went on the offensive, aiming for my head. This thing was fast! I jumped back to my feet and advanced on the monster with determination. Its majestic wings beating at maximum speed as it hovered in the air just out reach, it took a nosedive toward my heart, its claws at the ready. I think I may have heard it grunt in surprise as it bounced off my awesomely chiseled chest.
"Oh that's right, sucker. I don't do 200 pushups a day for nothing!" Taking advantage of its momentary confusion, I leapt forward and grabbed him with my bare hands. Filled with a sense of victory and purpose and revenge, I began to squeeze when suddenly an intense pain seemed to fill my entire arm. "Shit! What the hell??" I yelled. I jumped back in surprise, accidentally letting the evil fiend go. I glanced at my throbbing hand and glared at the venomous spike sticking out of my palm.
I was so close, I thought, as I watched the creature fly out of sight. I could swear I heard it laughing at me as it went.