Thursday, May 24, 2007

Storybook Love, Chapter 4

Elseworld (inspired by The Princess Bride and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom books)
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.

I believe this is the moment when I am supposed to swoon, Chloe thought. But she had never been able to swoon. In this moment, all she could do was watch, wide-eyed, as the candle seemed to float through the air toward her.

"What are you?" she asked, or tried to. The words stuck in her throat somehow, emerging as a hoarse whisper.

The air seemed to shift in front of her, and a young, dark-haired man stood in front of her, holding the candle in his left hand. He was rather handsome, although there was an arrogant lift to his head that she didn't care for.

"Not what," he said. "Who."

Slightly relieved that he looked so ordinary, she glanced away from his face, looking around the hut once again. The stench of death, the human bones all over the floor, had somehow led her to believe she was dealing with a horrible monster of some sort, not a man. Even a man who could appear and disappear at will was still a man.

"My name is Graham," he said, smiling slightly. He placed the candle on another small table. "And I regret having to bring you here. But my friend must eat."

Cold terror gripped her heart, and she stared at him. "Are you telling me that you brought me here--"

"As my friend's next meal, yes. I'm quite sorry. You're very pretty, far too pretty to meet such a fate."

He took a knife from its scabbard at his waist and held it aloft. Its blade glinted dully in the light of the candle.

"Wait," she said hastily. "Let us discuss this."

He smiled a little. "This is why I gagged you, even though there is no one in these woods who would care for your fate," he said, sounding amused. "Because I have no patience for listening to women. They never fail to beg and plead and weep for their lives."

"I had no intention of weeping," she retorted proudly. "I simply wish to ask you to reconsider the matter."

His eyes went dark. "My friend would not be pleased with me were I to reconsider."

"But I am merely a traveler through these woods," she said earnestly. "I have done you and your friend no harm."

"Once you set foot inside these woods, you are fair game for any number of creatures. I simply managed to claim you first."

She glared at him, as arrogantly as she could manage. "I insist that you set me free!"

He uttered a soft laugh and lifted the knife, and Chloe realized that she was about to die. Suddenly she found her voice again, and screamed for the one person who might save her.



Clark stalked the mounted men silently. He'd established that there were twenty of them. A great number of men just to abduct one village girl, he thought, puzzled. Mercenaries were not cheap, and only a rich man would hire so many of them. And to hire so many for so simple a purpose seemed strange.

Even stranger was the stout cage at the end of the line, a gaol on wheels drawn by a powerful draft horse.

For Lana? he wondered. Or for someone else?

The cage seemed much too large and well-built to hold a single young woman. It made him wonder if these men had some other purpose in Smallcroft he had yet to discern.

He walked silently behind them, listening to their coarse words and trying to discover any other purpose they might have. But before he had heard much other than a ribald conversation about a tavern wench they'd tumbled in the last town, a scream rent the night.

At least, it rent the night to his ears. But it was quite some distance away. The men paused and looked around nervously, then rode on.

Clark didn't follow.

The clear panic in Chloe's voice spun him around and into superspeed before he was even conscious of his reaction. Almost instantly, he found himself at the thicket where they'd hidden, but she was no longer there. He had no difficulty following the trail of crushed undergrowth showing where she'd been dragged, struggling, through the forest. He raced toward her at top speed.

Bursting into a small hut, he saw a sharp knife descending toward her chest.

Rage exploded within him, rage aimed at both her assailant and himself. He had been a fool to leave her alone in the woods, even for a moment. He dashed across the small hut, caught the man's arm, and flung him aside. The knife fell to the floor, clanging dully as it struck what Clark realized was a human skull. He suddenly realized how close Chloe had come to becoming one of the skeletons on the floor, and a mixture of heart-pounding dread and immense relief filled him.

He spun back to Chloe, ripped away her ropes, and gathered her into his arms, holding her against his chest.

She clung to him, shaking, and it didn't even occur to him to wonder why he was holding her this way. He wrapped his arms around her and pressed his face into her hair, drawing in the fresh scent of flowers, a fresh, sweet odor that drowned out the stench of the hut.

And then she stiffened in his arms.

"Clark," she whispered, looking wide-eyed over his shoulder. "We have a problem."

He turned his head to see a rather large lizard staring at him. It was about as tall as he was, and its mouth gaped open to reveal two rows of razor-sharp teeth. He let go of Chloe and turned to confront it, pushing her behind him.

Suddenly a terrible feeling of nausea rolled over him, and he staggered and almost fell.

She grabbed his arms from behind, steadying him. "Clark! Are you all right?"

He shook his head, unable to speak. He was suddenly horribly ill. He'd encountered meteor rocks a few times as he wandered about Smallcroft, and he knew the green stones were the only substance that could make him feel this way.

There had to be a meteor rock in the room somewhere.

The monster took a step forward, its mouth opening wider, and the sensation of weakness and nausea grew worse. Clark fell to his knees.

Yes, he thought vaguely. They very definitely had a problem.

Read Chapter 5 here.


Anonymous said...

Yessssssss Ive been waiting for an update on this story.. love it... poor Clark! is he dealing with a krypto Lizard...oh no!

C_Cfan (Melissa)

Anonymous said...

Hey, great chapter! I've been waiting for an update of this story~~can't wait for the next installment

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you. I've been waiting for an update to this one. I loved that Clark actually took time out on his Lana quest for Chloe, like that would ever happen on real SV ;)

I am also on the edge of my seat for the krypto lizard fight.


pen37 said...

Great update. But one small thing. Wasn't chloe gagged in chapter 3?


Elly said...

"Wasn't chloe gagged in chapter 3?"

*Laughs* Well, not anymore:-). This comes of 1. going a month between installments, and 2. trying to write with an annoying toddler underfoot.

Fixed, thank you!

RichardAK said...

I'm a little late, but I'll just echo everyone who's already said how great it is to see an update. I have to admit, when I read the part about the floating candle, I was expecting Justin Gaines, so I was wrong about that. What I'm really looking forward to though is when Clark meets the ancient booer. Anyway, this is a great story.

shansgrl said...

W00T! You've made my day Elly! I've been dying for an update to this story. Great job as usual.

Anonymous said...

ok...i'm going to put my pride aside and say:

I nearly jumped out of my chair and squeeled like a 5 year old girl when I saw an update for this story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*now that i have confessed, embarrassment fades*...i've been looking out for this story to continue!...and I LOVE that Chloe makes it clear that she's not weeping for her life, like all the "other females"...that's my girl. :)

now, the question is: how is she going to help Clark escape from the greenK lizard???

thanks for the update!!! :)


SelfAppointedCritic said...

Great update Elly, I love this wonderful story so much! Its good to see him recognize the foolishness of his ways--leaving Chloe like that. *tsk tsk* And everytime I read the word "Smallcroft" I just smile. Thanks for sharing Elly!

blackheart_me said...

OOH NO!! CHloe to the rescue? haha now i take back what i had written, clearly Clark redeemed himself as he saves Chloe ^_^