The Hidden Relic
Dena combed her gray hair and gave one final glance at her aging face before walking to the kitchen. She always tried to live life to its fullest, traveling extensively, and taking advantage of every new venture she stumbled upon. Her house was full of souvenirs gathered from faraway lands and items that reminded her of pleasant memories. Pouring a warm glass of tea she sat at a small table and watched the rain splatter against the window.
Startled by a crash at the front door she went to investigate the noise. A large man wearing dark clothing and tattoos of daggers on his neck stood in the foyer dripping water on the floor. He held a mocking smile while he looked her up and down.
“What is the meaning of this? Get out of my house!”
Without a word the large man closed the door and stepped closer to her. He stood head and shoulders taller than her and forced her to backup while he looked down in to her eyes.
“Hello Dena. The word around town is that you are rather wealthy, have many valuable items in the house and live all alone.”
“I suggest you leave. The only items of value here are of a personal nature.”
Dena was knocked backward with a heavily gloved backhand. She landed sprawled on the hardwood floor. Walking to a random shelf the intruder inspected the items that sat upon it. Then he selected a cut stone and held it up to the light.
“Well look at this. I believe this is a Dalian Chrysoberyl. It is very rare to find a piece this large and very few people around here would know the value of such a gem.”
A heavy foot landed in the center of Dena’s stomach causing here to roll up in to a ball in the floor.
“Don’t lie to me again woman! If you give me what I want maybe I will leave you alive when I go.”
Dena crawled on to the couch while the intruder worked his way around the room tossing items he found worthless to the floor and bagging the rest. Tears ran down her face and she held her stomach wondering if any bones had broken in her fall. Suddenly she was grabbed by her hair and forced to march upstairs.
Tossing Dena on to the bed, “Is there anything of value here you wish to tell me about before I tear the room apart?”
“Somehow I believe you will ransack the room apart any way. So, if there is something here you can find it yourself.”
He growled in response and pulled a small wooden cudgel from his cloak. She took a blow from the cudgel, aimed at her head, on her forearm. Dena held her throbbing arm tight against her chest praying that it was not broken; she really hated broken bones.
“I thought little old ladies were supposed to be helpful.”
“I thought the men of Staunch were known for honor.”
“So, you recognize the tattoos. You’re pretty smart for an old woman. Come to think of it maybe you aren’t too smart. A smart person would have kept their mouth shut about knowing where I’m from.”
By the time the upstairs was completely ransacked, Dena began to pull her composure together and managed to sit up on the bed. The intruder returned to the door way and motioned to Dena.
“You can either walk back down stairs or I can drag you down them. See, I am a man of honor after all.”
It was painful but Dena managed to walk down stairs and take a seat at the table. Her tea had long since grown cold but she took a sip any way to sooth her dry throat. He tossed two large roasts across the room and emptied her ice box spilling its entire contents on the floor.
“That is a lot of meat for an old lady.”
“I have guests over from time to time and try to stay prepared.”
He walked over and attempted to open a door on the opposite wall, finding it locked. “Oh, a locked door that is always a good sign.” He turned and smiled at Dena,“Where is the key?”
Dena took off a necklace holding the key and laid it on the table. The man snatched the key from the table and unlocked the door.
“Now that is more like it. I told you old ladies are supposed to be helpful. You are learning. Now, do not move from that spot or I will kill you. Do you understand?”
Taking a lamp from the wall, he walked down stairs holding the light high to see the contents of the room. Disappointment creased his face while he looked around the basement. Empty boxes, shelves stacked with dusty jars and a several dirty blankets in the corner was all there was to see. Several scratches on the wall above the blankets drew his attention and he went to the corner to inspect them. The scratches looked fresh and resembled claw marks. A sound caused him to spin thinking that the old woman may have decided to try and lock him in the basement.
He breathed a sigh of relief seeing the door was still open, but he froze when he noticed two eyes reflecting the lamp light under the stairs. Slowly, the creature moved toward him and came in to the light. Chills ran down his spine as he realized that it was a seven foot tall dragon staring him in the eyes.
Suddenly the dragon pounced on the intruder biting and scratching while he cried for help and screamed in pain. His breath was driven from his lungs as the dragon pinned him to the floor. The dragon looked in to the man’s fright filled eyes, then with one quick bite, snapped his prey’s neck.
A week later, Dena entered the basement carrying a large roast and sat down at the bottom of the stairs. She placed the roast in front of her and waited. Slowly the dragon came to the stairs and ate the roast. Once the roast was gone the dragon nosed Dena’s knee prompting her to rub his neck.
“That is a good boy. Were you hungry today? I’m sorry about your rude visitor last week. Anyone with any sense knows not to enter a dragon’s lair without a meat offering.”
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Eddie D. Moore
Eddie D. Moore travels extensively for work, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. The rest of the time is spent dreaming of stories to write and he spends the weekends writing them. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, The Flash Fiction Press, Every Day Fiction, Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Fantasia Divinity Magazine. Find more on his blog: https://eddiedmoore.wordpress.com.