Conan had joined the stranger by the fire. For want of any other choice. Drawn in by the succulent odours off the meat. And the fact that a muscle-head of a giant was trailing his every step as he stepped over the hot beach.
By the look of him you’d have thought the earth would shake as he stepped. But creepily that bulk seemed to glide over the hot sand. Massive build, silent as the night .. and fleet-of-foot. Fast as well? Deceptive for one so huge? Conan shook off that thought .. as delusion. Unnecessarily worrying himself. Na, the brute couldn’t be all those things. But he didn’t fully convince himself.
Even as he asked the question, Conan knew it was the wrong one.
“How did you find me?”
Just as significant .. how the hell did they know who he was? He’d never seen this sucker in his life. And as for that giant .. who couldn’t have missed a monstrosity like that?. He’d never fade into a crowd. But he needn’t have worried. Without turning around to look at Conan still lurking in the undergrowth, the man on the beach continued poking the embers under the meat on the spit. He explained.
“Easy. The man you left half-beaten-to-death .. he told us.”
So that was it? Confirmed. They WERE here for the same thing.
“Told us … “Some fucking brute called Conan” had beaten the site out of him.”
Beaten the shit out of him too. How else was Conan supposed to find out where the prick had buried the loot? He was hardly going to volunteer to draw a map.
“When he heard we were on your tail .. of course the gullible idiot was willing to help. He believed us, the fool .. about us wanted you for raping my sister.”
For a moment Conan scowled .. lost in the mixed messages. Then he got it. They’d played that prick for a fool as well. Lied to the prick .. some sob-story about a raped sister .. won the dumb arsehole over. Uncannily Conan was still talking to the back of this stranger’s head. He was still seemingly disinterestedly .. idly poking his stick in the embers. And backed-up with a rockface of solid muscle-brawn blocking any way out.
“And well, ….. after all .. you had just beaten the hell out of his hide. He was falling over himself to get even.”
And ….. with the sheer size of the giant’s bulk ….. what was it this stranger had called that monstrous motherfucker? .. Conan couldn’t remember the name. Seeing the sheer bulk of avenging threat chasing Conan down .. for some supposed rape .. the prick wouldn’t have hesitated for one moment. It’d take a less that a heartbeat to decide whose side he was on. The size of the giant .. the mean-minded hostility seeping out of him .. that prick would have seen this brute was more than suited to the task. That prick would have jumped at the idea of the ogre given it out .. dishing it out to Conan. Vengeance is sweet .. that-sort-of-thing.
“He was only too happy to tell us where we’d find you …..”
Had Conan actually left another girl with a bastard to fend-for? Or was that just some bullshit? Some scam to beguile that stupid prick into betraying where Conan was headed. Probably. But it hardly mattered anyway. Truth was, Conan was no longer alone on this island. And he was damned-sure they were after the same thing. Buried treasure tended to have that kind of appeal.
“Of course ….”
Now the man had turned around. Skinny bastard, nothing to him. And eerily he seemed to know exactly where Conan was placed. Pinned between him and a monstrous ogre. He turned, his eyes shot to Conan’s location in an instant. Their looks met.
“ … we couldn’t risk him blabbing around our little secret .. jabbering to anyone else. Kobo completed the job you failed to finish off …..”
Kobo! That was the monster’s name! Though suddenly the knowledge became unimportant. Conan froze at the way the stranger grinned at him. In the back of his mind Conan could hear his informer’s neck snapping in a giant pair of hands.
“No one else will be joining us ….”
Good! Three after the same buried treasure .. more than enough company!
Conan was squatted down on the hot sand against a lump of driftwood by the flames. And the succulent scents of roasting kid were playing fuck with his senses. FOCUS! He told himself to get a grip. Reminded himself it had been his plan to filch that goat. He’d been on the offensive, he’d been the one robbing this skinny motherfucker of his kid. Then why-the-fuck did he feel like he was the one roasting over coals?