Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Rescue (7): Jaws in the dark

Miravet ferry, 26th August 1713

When the rescue party arrived in he Ebro river banks, they could watch the Templar castle of Miravet silhouette sharply cut against the last rays of twilight in a cloud-free summer sky. They would come to the cable ferry location shortly after the last remnants of sunlight would have vanished.

Barceló, Copons and Mireia silently shrank by the path leading to the ferry, while Canals and Albesa watched the Ginestar road. For a short while, Albesa ruminated his discomfort with Mireia; he wouldn't have allowed her to come with the party, because he had started believing the girl would bring misfortune to them, besides that she would be more a hindrance than a help in case of fight. He absently watched as the advancing party slipped in a little hut by the river bank -probably a refuge for the ferryman. For their movements, he guessed they had seen something on the opposite bank, and forced his sight looking in that direction: true, a similar hut on the other bank was being used as a shelter by a small group of Two Crowns' soldiers.

A sudden movement behind Canals and Albesa put them in tension and made them look around in alarm. Violently stirring the bushes, a movement wave was advancing at full speed through the reeds towards them, surrounded by a confused murmur of anxious breathings and scratching of claws on the rock. They distinguished some blurred shapes approaching runaway, or helter-skelter jumping through bushes. The determination these things were progressing towards them freezed blood in their veins, and Albesa couldn't avoid thinking of the Tivissa boy's words about dips. "Hell with the boy!" -he thought, while hurriedly drawing out his hatchet. Canals also discarded using any firearm but his sword instead, not to alert the Two Crowns' soldiers, and both men stood close together firmly handling their weapons, with their hearts rapidly beating.

Albesa had barely time just to bend down when some roaring thing leaped like a shadow over his shoulders, while he thrusted laterally his axe against a second beast throwing itself against his throat. The old Miquelet could hear a few sharp cries of pain amidst the din of cracking rods to his rear, but didn't pay any attention to it, because the animal he had just hurt was still seeking his throat with unleashed fury, in a fool mad mélée of claws, jaws and axes. It was Canals' blade what finished off the beast. Both men stared to each other, anxiously breathing, before the sound of broken bush came to their ears again... they seemingly wouldn't get out of it -but it wouldn't be without a fight. They drew out their pistols and pointed them towards the shadows, while retreating step by step.

At the sound of fighting, lieutenant Barceló threw himself out of the bank river hut and went up the slope as fast as his legs allowed him to, while the Aragonese trooper Copons stood by young Mireia, who had started suffering violent convulsions and uttering incoherent words. Barceló saw, as an instantly lightning amidst the dark, how Canals and Albesa shot their firearms; still running, the Miquelet officer handled his blunderbuss and shot it point blank against one of the monsters, and afterwards drew up one of his pistols. The silence of night became abruptly filled with an odd pandemonium of barking and roaring, shooting and cursing.

A dip suddenly emerged through the shooting smoke, projecting itself towards Albesa with the mouth wide open, looking for his throat. He instinctively tried to stop the beast bringing his forearm. The old Miquelet experienced an excruciating pain when the animal violently closed jaws on its left forearm -but he stubbornly overcame the beastly charge, firmly wedging both feet -for if he fell down to ground, he could be taken for dead. He could smell the dip's stinky breath, and become certain that behind those pale red eyes Devil himself was staring at him.

A sudden explosion, and a lightning. Fragments of skull and brain flying all around, the monster collapsing and releasing its prey... Barceló was staying close to him, his pistol still in smoke -he'd shot it right against the dip's head.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Okay, this might be a language problem (translating into English), but I have no idea what a "dip" might be.

On the other hand, perhaps we are not supposed to know what it is.

So, please, if we are supposed to know what a "dip" is, please advise us poor English-speakers.

-- Jeff

Andreu said...

Jeroen72 said...

Thanks Andreu!

Soldadets said...

Jeff, my apologies.

As this mythological animal had been several times before alluded to (and its nature discussed by some readers), you've probably observed I usually simply inserted a link together with the "dip" word (this way, dip, redirecting to the first post where the beast had been extensively dealt with -in he confidence this would remind the original discussion to readers, and bring back to their memories their own feelings about it.

I had thought it quite more informative than redirecting to the related Wikipedia article, and for sure far more dynamic than explaining once and once again what a "dip" is.

Didn't realize that not all readers had actually chance to get acknowledged about the beast since that first post, so that now they may feel a little lost.

Nevertheless, I've always cared to conveniently tag, label and/or link every concept or character I believed necessary. Maybe this particular one should have been lavelled otherwise?

abdul666 said...


were you an inattentive schoolboy?