For the A to Z Challenge this year, I'm writing a story spanning the entire 26 days.
If you're just joining in now, it would help if you started with A is for Abby.
As for the name of this post, I couldn't resist!
C IS FOR COOKIE
Abby made sure each of the monsters no longer had heads before she retrieved her grumbling hippo. Her swords had retreated into her palms. As they didn't glow any longer, she knew the danger had passed.
That beast could have torn me to pieces. Tawa huffed as she was hooked onto Abby's belt. Now I'm covered in blood. Again. How many times in the past week has that happened?
"I'll run you through the washer. Now be quiet a moment." Abby cocked her head, listening.
The washer? You're a cruel woman, Abigail Grace. You know the washer makes me sick.
"Shush. I need to find the children." Once the hippo quieted, Abby's acute senses picked up the ragged sounds of breathing. Poor things were so scared, and rightly so. There were three steamer trunks against the far wall. She opened the lid of the first to find the two boys. The littlest one cried out and curled up against his brother.
"It's all right now. The monsters are dead." Abby liked to think she was good at being comforting, but only time would help erase this nightmare from their memories. And eventually for most kids, it was forgotten or at least passed off as an imagined event from their childhood.
The boys didn't move at first. The eldest peeked over the edge of the trunk and saw the black heaps. He silently urged his brother to stand up with him. The littlest boy clutched a book to his chest.
"Don't worry. They can't hurt you now. Go back to your room." Abby didn't bother with a smile, but stood back to give them space. The eldest boy glanced at Tawa on her hip and stood a bit straighter. With his arms protectively around his little brother, they went to the attic stairs and started down. He then paused.
"Hey, are you Mark's math tutor?"
"Yes, but let's not mention tonight to anyone." Abby put a finger to her lips. "Yet if you hear of any other kids having problems like yours, give Mark a note to pass on to me."
"Okay." The boy urged his brother to go down the stairs and then pointed to the other two trunks. "They caught the man that tried to help us. I don't think they ate him yet." Nodding, he disappeared downstairs.
A man? Tawa piped up. That's not possible.
"Could be someone like me." Abby argued and opened the second trunk. She dropped the lid seeing the bottom covered with dead rats. The third trunk was the largest and heaviest. "Damn iron monstrosity. How did people ever travel with these things?"
The only people like you are woman. Men aren't fit for such gifts. Tawa sniffed. Is anyone really in there? I can't see.
With the lid open, the moonlight streamed through the single window and onto the unmoving occupant of the trunk. He was curled up awkwardly, being a very tall man. His dark hair covered his face, but it moved with his breaths. He was well muscled and shirtless.
"Oh yeah, there's a man in there." Abby couldn't stop staring. He was bruised and scratched up, but otherwise intact. There was a bit of blood, but it was his exotic whorled tattoos that drew her eyes over his bare skin.
You're gaping. I can tell you're gaping. Let me see.
Abby turned Tawa to face the trunk and directed her stuffed head down.
Close the trunk and leave now. Leave now. Tawa's voice rose as if trying to push Abby with it.
"I'm not leaving the poor man after he tried to help the boys." Abby shook her head and reached in to hook her arms under his shoulders. He was warm and heavy as the trunk's lid. She slid him inelegantly onto the floor and pursed her lips as she debated what to do next.
Okay, you helped him. Let's go.
"We shouldn't really leave him. He'll wake up and likely startle the boys, maybe wake their parents. It'll be messy. Maybe I should try to rouse him-"
Abby! Tawa cut her off with a growl. No. Listen to me for once. Leave now.
"I can't just leave him." Abby hissed back.
"And I thank you for that, cookie." The man stretched and propped himself up on his elbows. He grinned a wickedly gorgeous grin at her. "It saves me having to track you down to settle my blood debt."