Katzia stared at the big ass eyeball since there was little else she could do. It floated mid-air, looking down on her, but without eyelids or eyebrows it proved difficult to tell its mood. She tried clearing her throat a few times to see if it would drift away back into the recesses of the Necrogardenia Woods, but no such luck. Her hunt of a local Sap Troll had ended with a knife in its skull. After it twitched and attempted regeneration a number of times, Katzia hacked it to death with her warm-bladed sword Buttermaker. Then this eyeball appeared. That usually wasn’t a good sign. Shit was about to get real.
“So are you just going to float there or do something, asshole?” Calling an eyeball an asshole felt a bit strange, but Katzia felt justified in her remark.
The eyeball vibrated, a dull whirring sound emanating from its iris.
“Ugh.” Katzia clutched her stomach, the root soup she had for dinner threatening to come up. “Fine, just float there. But I have an early morning back to the Rolling City. This Sap Troll is worth quite a few jackcoins. Even hacked to pieces. You wouldn’t think so, but there’s a big market these days for Sap Troll parts. I think they make pancake syrup from them. Weird, I haven’t had any pancakes yet. I guess I should try some one of these days, huh?”
The eyeball whirred again, this time lower. An unamused whir. Good, her plan was working. But she had to swallow back a bit of vomit. This couldn’t go on for long or she’d be spraying chunks all over the forest.
“Are you not happy with my kill? That’s strange. I wouldn’t think a giant fucking eyeball would give a shit. I mean, you’re an eyeball. What do you care about one Sap Troll? Sure, there aren’t many left around these parts due to the pancake craze, but they are still incredibly violent. Did you know I saw a Sap Troll puke steaming sap all over one of my partners once? Jurric the Oakballs they called him. Curious nickname. Surprisingly enough I never asked why they called them that. Even after he was dead, I never asked his family either. Of course I had to go back and tell his family what happened. Shame that is, looking at his wife’s pinched face. Truly a remarkable sight his wife. I haven’t seen such–”
The eyeball didn’t whir this time, but slowly glided to the left.
“Wait, I’m telling you about Jurric’s wife,” Katzia said, waving Buttermaker at the eyeball. The yell0w-bladed sword glinted with light, shining it directly into the eyeball’s…eye. Or eyeball’s face. Whatever the fuck an eyeball has.
The eyeball kept moving.
Katzia followed, her voice getting louder. “Jurric’s wife, come to find out, was a shapeshifter. Can you believe it? All these years he’d been with a shapeshifter. No telling what kind of weird shit she was into. I had to kill her after that. Huge bounty on shapeshifters around that time. They’d been infiltrating a few of the smaller villages and fleecing people for all their money before splitting town. Bounty hunters from all around were wearing shapeshifter ears around their necks. It became quite a fashion item. So much so, that people in the Dragon Sputum Empire were begging for them. That meant I had to kill even more shapeshifters. You know how hard it is to kill a shapeshifter?”
The eyeball stopped. A small voice came from a pulsing vein. “Please stop following me.”
“But don’t you want to talk? That’s why you’re looking over me, right?”
“No,” the eyeball said. “I wanted you to leave my forest. I am a minor god here, Corgreezium, Watcher of the Living, Dead, and Nearly Dead. You killed one of the creatures in my jurisdiction.”
“Apologies, but I’m a hunter. I kill shit.”
“Yes, I realize this, but most hunters leave when they see me,” Corgreezium said. “I am a huge eyeball after all.”
“I’m not most hunters,” Katzia said. “I’ve seen things loads scarier than you. Scab golems, blister-eaters, hairless albino mole men, neon-colored pus giants. You’re not so scary. Off-putting, yes. Scary? Hardly.”
“Please do not come here again,” Corgreezium said. “If you hunt just seven meters to the west, you will be in Gorchaxi’s part of the woods. He is a giant ear, so he is much better at listening than me.”
“But I like talking to you,” Katzia said, plunging her sword into the earth and leaning on the pommel. “It’s rare I get to talk to anyone on these solo hunts. The Sap Troll didn’t talk much. Just screamed and gurgled.”
“I should be going.”
“To do what?”
“Um, to watch over the forest more.”
“Come on, you don’t need to do that,” Katzia said, waving the eyeball over. “You can sit with me a little longer.”
“I cannot sit,” Corgreezium said.
“You know what I mean. I have a lot of things I want to talk about. My father mostly. He’s such an asshole. You know he tries to undercut me every chance he gets? I find a new sword, he finds two. He actually has people he pays just to collect swords for him. Calls them his Blade Maids. They’re actually real maids as well. Clean his house and shit. He’s such a huge douche. He’s got Butlers, too. Shield Butlers. They go with the Blade Maids on adventures. It’s this whole bizarre housekeeping gimmick. It’s unbelievable how much he cheats. Granted, he’s old as shit, but make an effort, you know? If you’re going to be in the sword-collecting game, do like me. I have six swords right here. I can tell you how I found each of them. Let’s start with Buttermaker. Now this one was quite a hoot. Birgom the Bleeding Hat found it first, but I had to–”
Corgreezium disappeared into a cloud of sparkly dust.
Katzia’s ears popped, she shook her head and sniffed a few times. It smelled like apples for some reason. She sighed and walked back over to her camp site. She patted the bloody sack with the Sap Troll inside.
“Just me and you again, buddy.” Katzia whistled a few seconds and then remembered where her story left off before the eyeball had interrupted. “Oh, so like I was telling you before, this goat demon had a huge booger hanging out of its nose…”
For more Splatter Elf Flash check out the first episode of the short serial Cruds and Scumzy and you can buy the other shorts/novella at Amazon.com! (Click the picture below)