The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

by David Harker

Gawain was hunting deer in the valley high above the settlement and had just aimed an arrow at the chest of a magnificent stag. Suddenly the stag raised its head, listened intently for a moment then bounded off into the forest. Gawain cursed the wasted time and effort and was about to break cover when the sky above him darkened. A huge blue dragon soared overhead and headed off down the valley towards his father’s castle. With fear and dread in his heart he leapt from cover and began running down the valley toward the village he called home.

Slipping and stumbling along the way, the journey seemed to take forever but finally he burst through the undergrowth and skidded to a halt. What had once been a peaceful community now lay in ruins; the cloying, sulphurous stench of dragon flame filled the air. Crows picked at the charred remains of friends and family lying all around, fire-ravaged buildings crackled and sputtered in the gentle breeze. He sank to his knees, his anguished sobs competing with his body’s desperate need for air after the long run. As his tears abated Gawain became aware of a groan that was coming from a smouldering oxcart at the gates of the village. Walking towards the cart, he saw movement from within and struggled to maintain his composure when he realised that what he thought were charred and bloody rags was in fact Gudrun, his family’s faithful servant.

“I’m sorry my lord”, Gudrun struggled to get the words out. His hideously burnt torso and arms had stuck to the floor of the cart and he screamed with agony when Gawain tried to lift the man to offer him some water.

“Taken by surprise… Master Grimwald was… eaten alive when he tried to fight the beast. Your sister… the Lady Erithea told me to find you and to warn y….”.

Gudrun's eyes glazed and his pain-wracked body gave a final shudder as his soul departed to join his ancestors. As Gawain muttered the words of committal over Gudrun’s body, a rage grew inside him like nothing he’d ever experienced before. He had always been a shy, scholarly and sensitive soul, his lack of nerve and spirit made him the last to be picked in warrior challenges. Now however the fire that had destroyed his family, burned savagely within him, and he vowed vengeance on the blue dragon, Minathyr.

The journey up the mountain to Minathyr’s lair was arduous, but his need for revenge kept him going. At last the trees gave way to blackened granite cliffs into which a huge ornate doorway had been cut. Still shrugging on the ancient armour that had been gifted to his family after the Middle Earth war, Gawain strode manfully toward the door, his father’s elven sword glowing brightly in the presence of pure evil. Carved into the lintel, ancient runes shone with foul malevolence.

Gawain glanced up at the runes and couldn't resist his scholarly desire to understand. He reached into his pack and drew out his compact English-Runic-English dictionary and flipped through its thumb-worn pages.

Sudden comprehension combined with a deep rumbling roar from within the cave; he screamed like a maiden and ran, for the translation read;

“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”