“It doesn’t have to be like this ….”
The stranger had started to sound conciliatory. As if he’d sounded too pushy and regretted it. But Conan wasn’t born yesterday, he stayed suspicious.
“Sure there is more than enough to go round.”
Oh? So this stranger thought sharing WAS on the cards? Thinking that probably there was enough treasure buried to go round, enough for all of them? But Conan was too long in the tooth. He’d dealt with enough arseholes like this in his days. He suspected they’d rather stake a claim on the lot.
Whatever, .. that wasn’t Conan’s plan anyway. And they didn’t know. The secret was locked away in Conan’s head. The secret was HIS. The treasure was his. He didn’t plan on sharing. Never did. The idea that they could just barge in and help themselves .. that got right up his nose. No offence, fellas .. but Conan is outta here …..
“Let’s eat. Let’s talk about it.”
The beanpole of a stranger at no point had sounded aggressive. Even threatening to set the giant brute on him .. that had been spoken with the utmost civility. Conan was always suspicious of fork-tongued motherfuckers like that. Best he got on his way.
Conan made to rise.
“Here. Try this.”
The stranger was holding up a leather flask.
“The best. Strong. You up for that?”
He giggled light-heartedly.
“Put hairs on your chest.”
Instinctively Conan glanced at the giant. A daunting sight .. acres of hairy hard-packed muscle on his chest. The thought made him frown at the offer of hard spirit. The formidable sight of the furry monster made him hesitate. It only sparked off his suspicions.
The stranger conceded.
“Of course. I understand. Trust.”
Showing understanding for Conan’s doubts, the stranger put the flask to his lips and took a big swig. He shook his head at the effect. Every gesture indicating the strength of the raw spirit. Then with gusto he again up-ended the flask and took a huge noisy gulp. Smacking his lips. Smiling. Inviting.
“Give it a try. Best money can buy.”
Conan picked up the flask when it was tossed over the fire to him. What had he got to lose? He was leaving anyway. He took an initial swig. FUCK! It was good. Better than any muck they served in the taverns he went to. He took another strong mouthful. Perhaps he’d take it with him when he scarpered? He nodded appreciatively. It wasn’t going to affect his decision .. with or without the booze .. goat or no goat .. Conan was off. He wasn’t into sharing. He couldn’t be bought off by some strong liquor. But it WAS good stuff. He took another long drag at the flask. Fucking good.
He’d thrown the flask back. And almost in that moment he knew. He felt the rush of heat to his head. FUCK! Drugged. HOW? The stranger had drunk from it himself. But it WAS spiked. Conan’s head was beginning to spin.
“You stinking motherfucker.”
Angry he made to stand. But his legs weren’t working. He slumped back down on the log.
“Fuck you …..”
Suddenly something blotted out the light. A total eclipse. Conan squinted up .. seeing a massive obstruction to his view .. the giant-shaped cloud covering the sun .. stood right in front. When had he moved? Fuck that enormous bulk could shift itself fast! Or was it the booze? And the drug?
A giant outspread hand was pressed right in Conan’s face. The palm pushed against Conan’s nose. The hand enveloped his whole face.
A slight shove. Pushed backwards. Conan fell backwards off the log. His back hit the sand. But Conan had already passed out.