Jeff’s story is one of many a trial and many a tribulation as well. Oh, I’m sorry, this is your faithful narrator here. I kind of jumped in to this story head first and just now realised that we may not have met yet. I will not take up too much of your time, I just wanted to let you know that if you’re keen on finding out what big mistake Jeff was making in the first paragraph you might need to skip ahead a bit. However, if you would like to find out what would make an ogre turn in to a tea drinking vegetarian, do read on because this is quite the tale.
“As I was saying”, Jeff said screwing up his face to show an annoyance he didn’t feel. He had found out that he quite liked telling stories and the fact that he had someone to talk to in the first place. He did decide that he would take this opportunity to change the start of his story a little though. When he had started talking before he had started like:”Many years ago, when this forest was much younger and so was I, was the first time that I started to notice that life had it out for me”. He now decided that this was both pompous and inaccurate so he started again saying:”I’ve felt like life had it out for me my entire life and about 10 years ago life confirmed this for me.
“I was leading a pretty run of the mill sort of life back then, Jeff continued. You know, wake up, quick bath, pillage, breakfast, get chased by people with pitchforks, dinner, story time, sleep. I was an ogre and a pretty good one too. I did everything that was expected of me. I did the swamp baths, I did the eating kids thing”. “Oh yes”, Jeff said, as Arnold scampered back up the mantle having just fallen off in a startled jump,” I used to do it all”. I even made it a point to kick at least 3 puppies at every pillaging because I knew that would land me some extra credit with our leaders. Also, puppies make a pretty funny sound when they find themselves airborne all of a sudden. “Will you try to stay up there, please?” “I’m sorry, Arnold said, you just don’t seem the puppy kicking sort of fellow”. “Well, I’m not anymore, but back then, I didn’t know any better”. “I understand, I’m sure you’re father kicked puppies before you and his father before him right?” “Right, we’re not sure why, but legend has it that a puppy once peed on the boot of my grandgrandgrandfather and he was the first to kick a puppy. It quickly became a trend, as these things do”. “But really, they obviously started it”.
“So what happened then?” Arnold asked eager to move on to the non-puppy kicking part of the story. In all honesty, he didn’t like puppies either but he wasn’t going to let Jeff know that a young puppy of any breed would still have about 10 pounds on him and playful enthusiasm tended to get young squirrels roughed up badly.
“Well then he showed up”, Jeff continued. One day, me and the lads were on our way to a village on the outskirts of the forest. We had not been there in years and figured there would be a nice range of bite sized kids there by now. We were not wrong. What we hadn’t counted on was that they would be ninja’s. “Ninja’s?” Arnold asked, raising a furry eyebrow. “Yes, ninja’s! I later found out that right after our last tour through the village a monk had passed through the town, finding a lot of families in a bit of a state and quite ready to unite and finally fight back for once. Now, this wasn’t how it used to be with these villages. We kept a pretty comprehensive rota for the villages which gave them plenty of the time to make sure that the best and brightest would be safely tucked away by the time we would come around. Let’s just say that when parents warned their kids that if they didn’t behave we would come get them, they weren’t just issuing empty threats.”
“So on this particular day, me and the boys come rushing in all Ogrely and genuinely scaring the bejeezus out of absolutely nobody. The town was absolutely deserted. At least, that’s what we thought at first. Then Sam, who I always considered my best friend by the way, spotted some movement on the roof of the town church. Next thing we know, we hear a battle cry rising out of a multitude of little throats, genuinely scaring the bejeezus out of us and the entrance to the town all of a sudden lights up like a Christmas tree. Only, it was lit up by a huge fire, effectively making sure that we could not leave the town without passing all the way through it to the other side. This, obviously, didn’t make sense. Why would these people want to keep us in town? At this point, Sam opted to get the hell out of there and we all agreed. So we barge in to a few houses to find some kids to take home for lunch, because we weren’t going to be push overs but found every house empty. When we stepped out of the third house Sam looked at me and said “Sod I…”, getting cut short by a pretty sizable rock to the face. I looked up to see three equally sizable rocks coming my way and ducked away just as they were slamming in to the house we had just left. When I had struggled back to my feet I caught Sam rushing to the other side of the street, only to be stopped dead in his tracks by a tree trunk that had, just moments before, been suspended in the air between two walls in the dark alley he was chasing our attackers in.
This is obviously enough to get even the most docile ogre in quite a state and me and the lads got in to battle mode. Now, you must know that the Ogre war tactics are as disorganised as they are ferocious. In other words, we are very good at the charge, just not very good at charging in the same direction. So I sprint of in to town, immediately prompting the lads to sprint in opposite directions, going through houses, smashing in windows, basically making a right mess of things. When I looked over my shoulder I saw Jimmy, one of the biggest and dumbest Ogres I have ever met come out of a bakery with two large loves in his hand as if he had forgotten all about the attack and simply went in to get a snack. You know? In hindsight I think that might be absolutely plausible.
Anyway, next thing I know Jimmy is stuck to the front porch of the bakery by a very large pointy thing.
The origin of the very large pointy thing I later came to find out was the bell tower of the town church where it had nestled in the warm embrace of a crossbow just moments before being flung in to the air on a crash course with Jimmy’s right leg. At the very least this brought home the reality of things to Jimmy who immediately went on to yank the big pointy thing (far too large to be called an arrow) and go charging down towards the church. As this was my general direction too I decided to follow him. As we passed the town square I saw Dave getting ferociously attacked by several large bags of wheat in front of the butcher’s shop and my cousin Dennis found himself engulfed by the better part of the butcher’s slaughterhouse stock. As this happened on opposite ends of the square I couldn’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to drop the cows from the butcher’s roof and the wheat from the bakers’ roof instead of the other way around. Though the element of surprise is key in any type of warfare, this seemed a bit much.
As me and Jimmy barged in to the church and up the stairs to the bell tower we spotted the first shadowy figures of our assailants ducking away through the benches to the back exit of the church. Knowing that we had to take out the crossbow first I figured we had to go up there first and let them be for the time being. This turned out to be the first of many mistakes. In fact showing up to the village in the first place might take this price too but who’s counting right?
We arrived up top angry but also slightly winded. The Ogre lifestyle does not leave a lot of room for cardio and our raids were usually quick rush and grab jobs that didn’t take more than 2 minutes and were usually followed by long swamp baths after returning home.
Of course we found the bell tower empty. However, we did get a pretty good view of what had been happening to us on the ground. From our elevated position we could see the last of the children clambering down the butchers’ and the bakers’ drainpipes and rushing of towards the fields. Rushing around between cover were my fellow ogres who seemed to be having an increasingly bad time. We could also see that whatever had fuelled the fire was now slowly loosing its momentum and that the fire was dwindling down. Our friends below saw this too and some made it out of town. These were obviously the smarter ones but from our stand point at the time they were just pansies. After rushing back down to the square we met up with Dave and Dennis both covered in what would have made a really nice sandwich had the stuff been properly processed. As it wasn’t it was rather a ghastly sight. Especially Dennis who rocked up with a lot of bits of cow on him that should not be outside of a cow at any point. There was no need for words and for the first time in history a band of ogres rushed in to attack in an organised charge. That is, we all ran the same way.
“Would it surprise you if the afore mentioned fields were corn fields?” Jeff asked Arnold. Not waiting for an answer he replied himself:” they always have to be corn fields don’t they?”.
So the four of rushed after the now only barely distinguishable footsteps. The corn welcomed us in by closing the rather sizeable gap that we made in its outskirts immediately and the day just seemed to become a couple of shades darker. Now blinded by rage we pushed on until we could hear the soft murmur of children just a few yards up ahead. In a final push we crashed through the last bit of corn field. This is the exact moment that my hamstring started cramping up. I made it out of the cornfield just in time to see Jimmy, Dave and Dennis sprint of the side of the cliff. Their legs were still pounding away at an earth that was no longer there and the sudden shock of being air born made them even forget to scream. As I had slowed down enough because of the cramp I was able to skid to a halt just inches before the cliff face. However, that’s when gravity decided to catch up with my afternoons of lazing away and the force of every little pint of ale i have ever had and each and every one of my chins stopping suddenly snuck up on me to push me in the back. I went over but managed to grab hold of the ledge with an epic move of gymnastics if I do say so myself. I could hear the relieved laughter of a dozen children slowly fading away.
That’s when he looked over the edge and said the thing that would ultimately turn me off kids for good.