Thursday, July 27, 2017
Flash Friday # 261 -- Dusty & Friends/6
She had one trick that might help them escape. Dusty took a piece of cloth and twisted it into a shape that resembled the baby dragon. She opened the cage and pushed the rag into the corner where she'd seen Blue sleep.
"Oh, it's me!"
Dusty didn't have time to consider anything more. They'd traveled a great distance without a stop and wouldn't have another such chance to escape anytime soon. They were already too far from her home.
"Now," she whispered.
Blue scurried out of the cage and hung to the side long enough to shove the door closed and pull the lock into place. Then he leapt and caught her ragged dress, rushing upward to sit on her shoulder. She thought about putting him in the bag, but that might not be wise if he needed to run away quickly.
"If the orcs capture me, you must run and hide," Dusty whispered as she tried to peek out from under the covering. "Find a guard when it's safe. They won't give you back to the orcs."
"I won't leave you!" he squeaked, and almost loud enough to be heard.
"Blue --" she began, but now was not the time. She had to hope that he did what was wise.
Dusty pulled at the rope and undid the last of the knot. She heard orcs, but they all seemed to be on the opposite side of the cart. She dared a quick lift and look -- and found she was mostly right. One orc stood at the edge of the cart, but with his back to them and from the way he waved his blocky arms and shouted, Dusty thought he must be caught up in the trade as well.
So she took the chance and climbed out, taking the time to hook the rope back, so it wasn't obviously untied, and then dropping to the ground. She scrambled under the cart, her heart beating so hard that she could hardly hear even the orcs, though the area trembled with their shouts.
Being under the wagon was not much better than being in it. Orc legs were everywhere, and one of the orcs even circled the cart. She feared she might be ill when he passed the place where she and Blue had escaped.
The orc did not notice. Dusty took a ragged breath, and she felt Blue nuzzle in closer to her neck and shiver. She had to get him to safety!
Right now that safety appeared to be in the buildings on the side opposite from the orcs. Dusty probably should have run there from the start, but she hadn't been certain. Crawling to the edge of one of the huge wheels, she had a chance to get on her knees and check the area out.
Sand blew across the stone track and gathered in pockets up against the mud brick buildings everywhere she could see. Glancing the other way she could see that the cart had stopped at one side of the village square with the fountain not far away, which made this a small and poor village. No beautiful statue graced this fountain, either. Looking at it reminded Dusty that she was very thirsty, having had no more than a little bit of fruit for both food and liquids.
She turned away. They could get to the fountain later if she could get them away.
Dusty judged it to be about three yards to the nearest cubby hole between the buildings, but it looked like a mile to her and not much cover when they got there. She hoped that as long as the orcs didn't see Blue, it wouldn't matter if they spotted her.
Dusty didn't put him in the bag yet, though. She wouldn't do that until they were well away from the cart because she wanted to make certain he had a chance to run. No matter what, the little dragon had to be safe.
He would be safest with her, so she had to do her best not to get caught, either. She readied to move and stopped barely in time when an orc circled the cart once more and this time stopped. She almost gave a cry of despair -- he must have seen the untied knot --
No. The orc gave a warning growl to a man who had been walking along the edge of the buildings and coming too close the cart. The man backed away in haste, though he did glare at the orcs.
"Have to go soon," Blue warned with a warm whisper at her ear. "They never take long to trade."
That was a helpful warning. Dusty gave a quick nod and inched forward. Blue caught tighter hold of her shoulder. Then, holding her breath, she scooted out from under the cart, stood -- though hunched over -- and darted toward the buildings.
The stones were uneven and the dress too long -- she tripped and fell, sliding along the rocks and scraping her hands and arms. No time to see what damage might have been done! She scrambled along on hands and knees until she had pressed as far back into the corner of two buildings as she could manage.
Dusty didn't know what to do now. She looked frantically left and right, but both directions would put her out in the open too soon. And now Dusty feared the orcs were already preparing to leave. They were not shouting as much as they had been and though she didn't dare crawl forward to look, she thought they were tossing rags into the cart. If one of them noticed --
Tears formed at the corner of her eyes. She'd never felt so helpless in her life. Dusty pressed farther back into the corner --
The buildings did not quite meet. The open space between looked tiny, but Dusty saw no other way to escape.
"Climb up on my head and hold on tight," she whispered and threw herself into the small opening.