When I woke up I was lying on the ground outside with pieces of the house spread out around me, and the sun was starting to set. It was a new experience for me, getting hit by a bus in the middle of a house. I could tell it did quite a bit of damage inside but I was the only thing that passed through the wall. I was a little sore but I would get over it.
The girl was gone and it started to sink in that the sun was setting, which meant that the elves were going to be eating very soon. Time was very short and I had no plan. Well, I had a plan. I just don’t think it was a good one, at all.
I had to go to the store again and grab some baked beans. Knowing how many elves I was dealing with I cleared the store out. Unfortunately there weren’t as many cans as I was hoping for but it is what it is.
Before I could start heating the beans up I needed to find out where they had taken the girl and that was a bit tricky. I was told it was almost always right near where the victim lives but when they know we—paladins—know where that is then they will seek out a different spot. They could be anywhere in the town and it was a pretty large town.
The town seemed a lot quieter now and that was because right before they ate the person they had chosen they put everyone else in a trance just so they wouldn’t interrupt them. Not that anyone could stop them anyway. There were no cars and no one walking around.
“Where the heck are they?” I asked out loud.
“Who?” someone asked.
I turned around and there was girl was standing behind me. She was probably about 11 years old, with black hair.
“Oh,” I stammered. “I’m looking for some friends of mine.”
“Oh,” she said.
“You feel OK?”
“Yeah. Everyone else is acting really weird around here, though.”
“It would appear that way.” Why didn’t she seem affected? She didn’t seem scared either. Not that she was clueless but just not scared.
“I’m Alexandra,” the girl said, sticking out her hand. Even though I was kind of panicking I was impressed by her courtesy. “Alex.”
“Wes,” I replied while shaking her hand.
“Do you know why everyone is acting like this?”
“Sort of. Have you seen a bunch of people dressed like elves running around?”
She looked at me like I was kind of crazy. I knew it would be a long shot but Alex seemed a little more aware than everyone else.
“Yes,” she answered reluctantly.
“Really?” I asked.
She nodded her head.
“Do you remember where you saw them?”
“Yeah. I can show you.”
“My friends aren’t really the friendly type and I’d rather you didn’t come with me. Do you think you can point me in the right direction?”
“I’m not afraid.”
“I know but I’d rather you didn’t come with me.”
“I’m not good with directions.”
I let out a long sigh.
“Fine,” I said, “but when I say go, you go.”
“OK. We can walk there.”
“Lead the way.”
She started walking and I followed her. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but she looked very familiar. I couldn’t figure it out, though.
“You grow up here?” I asked her.
“Yeah,” she said.
“I don’t know. I was adopted.”
“No need to be.”
We walked for about five more minutes until she finally stopped.
“It’s right up ahead,” she told me.
“There?” I asked, pointing into the woods.
“Yeah just walk down that path.”
“OK. I need you to go now.”
“OK.” She left.
I walked down the path for a little while until I eventually came to a clearing. My heart hit the ground. In the clearing the girl was hanging from the tree upside down. The thing was, there were nine other people as well…