Uncommon Cold – Rip White
Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. Rain or shine, dusk or dawn, in sickness and in health, strange things always found him.
Zane grabbed the pillow from under his head, flipped it over, and pressed the cooler side against his burning face. After a few moments the pillow went flying across the room and bounced harmlessly off the barred door. Zane flung himself upright, immediately regretting the sudden change of position. His head was pounding!
“Sausages...” He muttered to himself, rubbing his eyes hard with the heels of his hands, willing the dull, persistent ache away.
Zane took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to regain his composure. He was Zane Legends, adventurer extraordinaire! He had traveled to places most people could barely begin to imagine, stood toe-to-toe with the fiercest of foes, devoured the most exotic of cuisine without a passing thought. A simple, mundane headcold could never hope to defeat him!
That's all it was, of course, Zane thought, pinching the bridge of his nose in the hopes that it'd somehow quench the burning behind his eyes. A simple headcold. Certainly not whatever demon curse the townsfolk insisted he must be blighted with. Really, what sort of demon blight came with a stuffy nose and sore throat?
Regardless, when he showed up at the inn the day before, sporting nothing but his rucksack and a runny nose, the townsfolk went mad with fear. Before he could even get the sauce out of his ages, here he was, whisked away to some desolate dungeon like some sort of...some sort of damsel in distress!
Disgusted, Zane decided to pace a bit. Him! Zane Legends! Reduced to-
A violent sneeze derails his train of thought. Zane shakes it off, and resumes pacing again.
He was the one supposed to be saving maidens in the...in the...ACHOO! Another epic sneeze nearly knocks Zane off his feet. There was no nudging his train of thought back on the tracks now, it had tipped and was slowly sinking into the realisation that he could really go for a tissue.
Zane looked around frantically, forgetting his various ills in favour of not wishing to ruin his last clean shirt. The room was unfortunately barren, as these pauper prisons tend to be. Bare stone walls and floor, heavy oak door blocked off with heavier oak boards. Even the 'bed' was but a pile of hay and some moth-eaten sack cloth.
Zane quickly calculated the risk/reward of trying to blow his nose with old, musty sack cloth when his eyes fell upon the most beautiful sight he'd ever seen this side of his great-aunt's honey smoked sausages: A perfect square of white, laid out on an unassuming, half-rotted wooden table in the corner of his cell.
Zane lunged for the table and snatched up the handkerchief, burying his face in the impossibly soft, slightly lilac-scented scrap of linen and blew, blew like his life depended on it.
It was heavenly. Never in all of his many, harrowing years of adventuring had he ever experienced such divine relief. It was as if a cadre of tiny tissue angels were parading past, tickling his nose with their tiny wings.
After some amount of time, he couldn't be sure how long, Zane sat back against the cool stone wall and smiled. All of his aches and pains were gone now, whisked away on the whimsical wings of white linen cherubs. He looked down at the spent 'kerchief, still clutched in his hands. Overcome with typical morbid curiosity, common sense clouded by cottony comfort, he pulled his hands apart and looked upon his creation.
The townsfolk, all huddled in the inn, breathed a collective sigh of relief when they heard the traveler's screams. The demon had been purged. They were safe once more.