Jones landed on his belly in a flower bed—petunias from the smell of it—never a good sign. But the Ions were gone, his brain sparkles mere ash which filled his mouth.
He made a few tentative moves to see if anything was broken, other than the flower stalks beneath him. It was dark, always good, and the flower bed edged a path to a small cottage where the candle light from inside seemed both warm and welcoming.
The girl who came out on the porch did not. “YOU there! What are you doing in my flowers? Get up!”
Jones found his knees and scrambled up, wiping the sticky, ruined flowers from his chest. “I’m very sorry. I…got lost….” He glanced at the cottage and the dark woods surrounding it. “I saw your light and….I must have tripped…” That was certainly true in one sense, and the flashbacks were getting closer together.
He took a closer look at the girl, who though short was not a girl at all, but a woman of substance, muscle, even menace. In her left hand was a lantern, but in the right was a dwarf sword half as long she was. Standing on the porch, four steps up, she was still below Jones’s eye level, though he was a few inches shy of six feet tall. He looked into her eyes, but her ample bosom was directly in his line of sight, nestled snugly in her quilted bodice covered with chain mail.
“Why were you in the woods at this time of night?” She moved the lantern to see him better, keeping the sword pointed at his most tender spot. “Are you out of your mind?”
Jones didn’t have an answer, and standing up so quickly took its toll on his already stressed body. He smiled, gestured towards her to begin a plausible lie, and then passed out face first on the path.