The breeze shifted as Rugel ran, and he caught a scent upon it, sweet and strong, a scent that reached into the depths of his memories and twanged them. He lost his footing at the power of it, and
he threw himself into a bush beside the path, gasping. He preferred running to hiding, but he couldn’t run with that scent thickening the air.
His pursuer shouted again. “Wait! Show me how you did that!” Her voice distracted him from the smell of the past; it focused his mind on the pressing problem of survival. He should have never
come back to this place.
She came closer, and Rugel peeked out at the little girl in the path. At his eye level, her knees, bared by her too-short shift, were scabbed and grass stained as she spun a slow searching
circle. The little man–no, _dwarf_, although “dwarf” was a generous measure of someone his size–crouched further down inside the currant bush. He had a gift for going unseen. Perhaps the girl would lose sight of him.
“Please!” She stopped in front of the bush, picking out his gnarled face from the tangle of undergrowth. “I saw you call the rabbit.”
Rugel cursed to himself. He should never have summoned the hare, or at least if he called it, he ought to have killed it. Now he’d go hungry, and this Big creature had seen him.
But it was a child Big, he thought with a measure of hope, and children were easily scared.
“Go away!” he growled.
She stood solid, brown eyes fierce.
He tried again. “I’ll kill ya!”
Her lip trembled, but not much.
Rated R for violence.