plague of frogs 3

‘Out there?’

The Captain nodded.

Glerk peeked around the heavy curtain again. ‘Are you sure?’

The Captain nodded, grasping the hilt of his sword meaningfully as he stared at Glerk.

‘On my own?’

The Captain nodded.

‘You don’t say much do you?’ Glerk attempted a smile that faltered and failed part-way across his lips. He swallowed.

The Captain eased his sword in its scabbard.

Glerk took a breath and stood up straighter, aiming for a confidence he did not feel.

The sword came out of the scabbard a thumb’s width.

‘Are you threatening me?’ Glerk touched his pointy hat, resting precariously on his head. It wobbled. ‘I am a wizard, you know.’ He took a step closer to the Captain. ‘I could turn you into a frog.’

‘I’ve had worse.’ The sword came out to a thumb’s length.

‘Worse?’ Glerk stared. ‘Worse than a wizard’s spell?’

The Captain nodded again. He looked down at his sword. ‘It is very sharp,’ he said reflectively. ‘And I’m very fast.’

‘Ah.’ Glerk had a few fast spells, but they were mainly to do with lighting fires, making cups of tea, fiddling tax returns and moving a woman’s clothes a stride to her left. Which, Glerk supposed, showed where a wizard’s priorities usually lay. He also remembered his Training Master’s wise words. Don’t get involved in battles, especially those you can’t win.

‘Go out there, now, wizard.’ The Captain now held his naked sword in his hand. ‘Before they get in here and kill us, go out there and kill them all.’

Glerk looked down at the sword, gulped and stepped through the curtain.

There was silence.

There was more silence.

The air crackled as the Captain saw the sky turn purple for an instant.

There was silence

There was more silence.

A frog croaked.

Then another.

And another.

Then, a hundred or more frogs croaked.

The Captain sheathed his sword and stepped through the curtain into the hallway where, only moments before, over a hundred of the enemy’s troops had cornered them.

Glerk turned to face the Captain, smiling apologetically as scores of very annoyed frogs hopped around him. ‘Er…,’ he said. ‘It was the best I could do.’ A frog jumped up angrily croaking and splatted into his face. He batted it away, spitting out the taste of frog.

The other, very angry, frogs gathered around the two men, pressing closer and closer.

‘Come on!’ The Captain yelled over the increasingly noisy croaking. ‘Let’s go. Or do you want to be known throughout the rest of time as the wizard who was smothered to death by his own plague of frogs?’

They jumped, as well as they could, over the press of frogs. Glerk felt something squelch under his boot as he landed. He shuddered.

Then the two men, glancing at the waves of frogs tumbling after them, turned and ran for the exit.

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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