Words from the Worms — Ch.1

The door slammed loud and the room fell silent. A stranger walked through the threshold, his right hand wrapped around the tusk of a large, dragged boar.

“Hey! Leave that outside!” Ordered the barkeep. The kill was fresh and it began to leak to the floor. But all eyes remained fixed on the stranger’s face. It was strong and rugged; patterned with a story of scars from cheek to cheek. His eyes were small and they stared firmly at the barkeep, not with anger but with a strange grace and respect.

The stranger lifted his right hand high. He gave a sort of half smile and tossed the carcass to the side of the door. “Outside, friend!” The barkeep repeated with great clarity. The stranger just stared with his half grin.

The air in the room suddenly felt thick and heavy. The stranger carefully walked over to the barkeep. The man behind the bar was a formidable fellow, fully capable of taking on any of the usual crowd should they have become a bit too comfortable, which happened more often than not. However, this stranger dwarfed the barkeep, and he walked with a poise that commanded authority. The frustrated barkeep was not fazed. The stranger leaned over the counter in front of him. “You are going to have to leave, sir,” exclamed the barkeep, “Now.”

The stranger just stared at the man and held out his hand. The barkeep had a look of confusion to this response but for some reason decided to take his hand. The stranger carefully pulled the barkeep closer to his face and whispered something incomprehensible. The other patrons were still silent, waiting for the impending fight. A woman in the corner clenched the end of her spear. Another man was beginning to stand out of his seat. The wood beneath the packed pub squeaked and creaked from the shuffle of anticipation.

Then the stranger stopped whispering. The barkeep shook his hand and let out a strong chuckle, “Have a seat anywhere you like!” And handed him a cold frothy ale. The stranger smiled and nodded, and took his drink to a nearby table.

Everyone sat comfortably back in their seats. The tension evaporated from the room. And the sound slowly returned to the ambience from before the stranger’s arrival. Within a few minutes everything was back to normal. Except the woman in the corner with the spear was still eyeing the stranger.

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