I wrote The Ogre Hunt between Awakenings and The Lost Prince. Although it features a character from my novels, which are adult urban fantasy, this one beckoned to be a young adult (YA) story. The illustration is an oldie from 1995, when I still made a living as an artist for Marvel. I only had an inkling of my fantasy series at the time and was still fleshing out the back story. (Lelani in The Ogre Hunt is much younger than she appears in this illustration and has a full head of hair instead of a Mohawk.) I had fun writing this short and present it here for old fans and new. A PDF version is also available by clicking on this Link.
Everything was black.
The ogre had taken them all in seconds. It was implausibly swift for such a large, brutish creature—twenty-five feet tall, with the rancid odor of a garbage pit. So this is death, thought Lelani. Her cheek stung fiercely but she couldn't move, as though she were made of lead. She had always imagined death to be more comfortable then this. A tiny hand slapped her face—again.
"Wake up!" came a tense whisper.
That high, squeaky voice did not belong to any centaur. Lelani opened her eyes just as her diminutive friend Mytah was about to administer another smack of impromptu medicine. For an unabashed pacifist, Mytah packed a good wallop. She wore her hair in a pixie cut with matching big brown eyes. Her short-sleeved forest-green smock denoted the Fhlee preference for forest colors and materials, as did her hemp-rope belt and sandals woven from leaves of the water lotus. Her eyes were red and puffy, the tracks of her tears clearly marked upon her cheek.
"Thank the gods...I thought you..."
"What happened?" asked Lelani.
"It carried them off!" Mytah whispered.
"But not me?" Lelani asked.
"Don't you remember?"
Lelani could not remember—recent events were hazy. She recalled the previous two days quite clearly, however—the moment everything started to go wrong—the moment Kreeg ruined her first hunt.