He heard Olivia’s call “Papa!” from deep within the cave. Relief flooded through him when he heard her voice. He had to climb over the massive horde of Kliban’s treasure to reach her. He called to her as he slipped on golden coins and stumbled over rubies and emeralds big enough to hold in two hands.
When he finally made it to the peak, he slid down the other side and found Olivia huddled in a dark recess in the back of the cave. Ham realized with repulsion that Olivia had not been the first child the dragon had stolen. For there were piles of small bones littering the floor around them.
He hugged her to him and stroked her hair. “Papa’s here,” he murmured to her. The poor child must not have eaten in all that time; he could feel her bones through her dress. “We’re getting out of here and going home to Mama.”
Just as they started back up the mountainous heap of treasure, Ham heard the unmistakable sound of Kliban’s leathery wings beating against the wind. He gently sat Olivia back into the corner and with his finger to his lips told her to be quiet. He dug himself a hole in the treasure and climbed in feet first so he could still see his daughter.
He grunted softly as the dragon’s weight settled on the mound. He listened as the dragon ate whatever it was that he had captured. He heard the bones crack and the smack of Kliban’s mouth as the dragon gnawed on some poor unfortunate beast. More to come on my next posting...