They walked against the fierce wind. Every step was harder than the last. The child lost her grip. Her father grabbed her hand.
Hold on! A little further!
A steep cliff could be seen in front. The grains hit them in the face like rocks, the ice cold water went straight through their poor clothing.
A light! I can see light down there!
A cabin took shape under the cliff. There was a yellow glow from the window.
The door was closed, but unlocked. They fell in. The wind made the fire place flicker. Orm closed the door with all his weight.
There was no one there but a dead body on the bed. Dried up. A skeleton with a skin.
By the gods! Meia held her hands to her face. The body was dressed in old man’s clothes. It had been there for decades. The plague… It should be gone now, after so long time.
We have to stay, Orm said. At least until the storm’s over.
But who… Why…. The fire….
The fire will save our lives.
They sat down in front of the fire, got some of their wet clothes off. The heat felt good, gave life to their frozen limbs. There was dry wood in a bucket. Orm threw in some more.
Exhausted they fell asleep on the floor. Orm woke up by the door opening. A man came in. Big. Strong. Orm got up on his feet.
Hello! He said, trying to hide his fear as friendly as he could. The man ignored him. He went over to the bed where the skeleton lie. He lay down upon it, merging into it.
Meia was watching in terror.
We need to get out of here, she whispered. Now! They got their clothes and ran out, Orm with his daughter in his arms. The wind had slowed down a bit, the rain was less intense. They ran down the hillside.
They heard a scream. The man. He was coming this way. The little girl looked at her father. She held out a necklace. She had found it in the cabin. Orm took it.
Another scream. A scream of anger, a scream of desire for destruction and murder. They ran.
Orm fell. He lay on the ground, holding on to his leg. It was broken.
Go on! he said to his wife. Get Frid to safety!
Meia and the little girl walked some steps. They stopped, turned around.
They disappeared in the darkness. Soon Orm could hear footsteps behind him.
Here, take your necklace! He held it up in the air.
The man came closer. Stopped. Listened. His eyes moved to where Orm was lying. To the necklace. He picked it up. His hand seemed to go through Orm’s like it didn’t exist.
The giant looked down the hill for a moment. Looking for someone. Someone he could not see.
He turned and left.
Orm passed out from pain and exhaustion. He woke up by the sun coming up behind the mountains on the other side of the valley. He got up on his feet, found a stick. Started humping his way down the hill slowly.
He could see people in a distance. His wife, and three men from the village. They had found him.