Brenton took a last draught from his now warm stein
and wiped the drops from his pointed chin with his skeletal
arm. The revelers were now a distant moan. He plunged
a hand into the pocket of his frock. He felt the cool
abundance of coins against his sticky palm. Still not
enough. He knew that without counting. This was the
first busy day he had had in what seemed like years.
The rear door burst open. Brenton jerked his
angular face to it. His breathing became more erractic
as he could hear the men enter. Three? Yes, that's was
agreement. That's how many he could hear. He put down
his stein and moved from behind the bar as three gruff,
scar-faced men entered the tavern's main room. They
dragged with them a large bound bundle of muslin that
writhed and twisted agianst their tight grips.
Brenton's gaze was fixed on the bundle. His mouth
agape and his breath now shallow, he brought both hands
to his chest.
"Can he breath under all that?" he said between
short gasps. His hands now shook at his chest.
The biggest of the three men looked up with a
grunt. He was far from human, Brenton knew. Some
unfortunate bastard of a Hobgoblin and a raped woman
was the most popular tale. The man's face was a stone
brown wasteland of nicks and deeps scars. His eyes,
black tarry pools over a vaugely cow-like snout, and from
his wide, lipless mouth curved two yellow tusks.
"Lock the door, idiot!" the thing growled at
The bar-keep surpressed a yelp and started to bolt
for the door, then halted, and took a deep breath. He
regained in that breath some small semblence of stature
and turned on the three, who were still fighting with
"Do you have my fare?" he said with as much
strength and attitude he could muster. He agian wiped
the sweat off his shiny forehead, secretly surprised
he spat out the inquiry without a break in his voice.
"We have your money." said the smallest of the
three as they all flung the package to the floor with
a thud and pinned it under their knees. A muffled yelp
came from the bundle.
"Just lock the back door before this takes any
longer!" bit the half-breed thing.
Brenton shot off to the rear door, his keys
jangling in his trembling hand.
"And in answer to your earlier question..."
chimed in the third ruffian as Brenton ran past,
"in a few minutes it won't matter if the little bugger
can breath or not!"
The three men laughed, adding weight to their
knees. The bundle tried to move, but could only manage
to yell a tired, muffled, frightened plea. It only made
the men laugh harder. Brenton closed his eyes, took
another deep breath and locked the back door. He
made his way back into the room and slid behind the
"Just make it fast and clean. This place is messy
enough." he said refilling his stein, this time to the