“Here’s the problem. Ale is not served in the skulls of our enemies.” Cadel finished his third stein and placed it on the counter with a resounding thunk that shook the other mugs.
“You want to drink from skulls?” Kweli raised a disgusted eyebrow at her brother. “Sounds unsanitary?”
“Among other things.” Halza placed her own stein on the counter. “Why would you want to drink from the skulls of those you defeated in battle?”
“To prove we’re the best.”Cadel clasped his hands together high over his head, in a classic victory shake.
“Killing them wasn’t enough?” Halza asked.
Cadel’s incredulous stare was his answer.
“He may have a point.” Lewys drained his own stein. “Our grandfathers did. Why shouldn’t we?”
Always the voice of reason, Halza said, “Our grandfathers left the fallen enemy for the carrion feeders. The bones were tossed together in an open grave after they were picked clean. Now you would have to dig up one of the enemy clan fighters we just buried. You really want to do that?”
Cadel and Lewys shouted, “Yeah” and clapped each other on the back.
Halza stood and tossed a coin on the counter for the barkeep. “Enjoy. I’m going back to the barracks and sleep.”
“Me too.” Kweli tossed her own coin on the counter and left with Halza.
“Those two don’t know how to celebrate.” Cadel said.
Lewys nodded. “So, what’s the plan?”
“We dig up a body.” Both men tossed coins to the barkeep and left. Lewys grabbed two bottles to keep them focused. Having consumed more than one stein of ale before setting out on their quest, they were not as stealthy as they had planned.
“Quiet,” Cadel yelled.
“I’m quiet. You’re yelling.” Lewys’s voice carried as he banged the shovels into the gate.
“Shh.” Cadel walked passed the older graves heading toward the newly dug graves from the battle. “You know, Halza might be right.”
Lewys swung the shovels around as he turned to face Cadel. “Huh?”
“Watch it!” Cadel yelled as he dove out of the way. “I said, Halza might be right. If we dig up a couple of those bodies they’re gonna smell and we’ll have to clean them.”
“So,” Cadel drew out the word and stopped walking. “These mounds are of enemies our father’s fought. They’re still enemies, right? And they would already be decomposed. Easier to grab a skull.”
“I like it.” Lewys stopped and looked at the mounds with small markers. “Which one?”
“Don’t know.” Cadel looked around to get his bearings. “The new graves are over there so these must be the old ones.”
“Great, let’s dig.”
They hadn’t dug long before a break was required to quench their thirst. Eventually, they drank the last of the ale in the skulls of their enemies, falling asleep in the pit they dug. Each brave warrior held a skull.
The sun was high in the sky when Cadel heard Kweli scream. He opened his eyes and promptly shut them against the bright sun.
“What have you done?” Kweli shook him.
“Stop.” Cadel batted her hands away. His head was fuzzy this morning. “What’s wrong with you?”
“With me?” Kweli grabbed her brother and turned his head to face the grave he had robbed. “You fool, you dug up our grandparents.”
More Flash Fiction by N. R. Tucker.