The ogre was close. It’s footsteps thundered rhythmically in Quinn’s ears. Maybe it was a giant. Inarticulate roars of rage filled the air. And another voice, closer, insistent.
Quinn’s eyes snapped open as he woke, and he leapt to his feet, noting immediately that his breeches were missing. Again.
He was in his room. No, not his room, but similar. At least the plaster of the walls and the furnishings looked similar. And his room didn’t always have a beautiful woman hissing angrily at him.
“Terribly sorry, my dear, I’ll be off like a bolt!” Quinn declared, bowing slightly. This move reminded him that his breeches were missing, and his hat as well. He reached back and pulled his massive leather hat off of the bed post, jammed it on his head, and leapt for the door, dodging around the goat on his way. He skidded to a halt and turned to the woman, who looked both frightened and enraged.
“Are you buying this goat?” He furrowed his brow. “Did we settle on a price?”
The woman nodded curtly and stabbed a finger towards the door.
“Right, on my way,” Quinn replied, but skidded to a halt again as he realized that the pounding footsteps were still thundering in his ears. He cocked his head and looked at the door. It was shaking with each heavy thud, and bellowing with rage. Or at least something behind it was. He slowly turned towards the woman and gestured at the door, raising an eyebrow.
“My husband!” she snapped.
Quinn nodded. “Don’t worry, sweet lass, I’ve lived through greater dangers than you might ever imagine. I’m good in a crisis!” He grinned at her hopefully. Her eyes rolled.
“Yes, I’ve heard. At length. From you,” she sighed.
With another quick nod, Quinn grabbed at the sheet from the bed, wrapping it around his middle.
“My dear, it has been the greatest pleasure, but I must depart.” He made to leap over the goat, but got fouled in the sheet wrapped around his legs, fell to the floor and rolled towards the window. Checking that his hat was still in place, he stood, pushed open the shutters, and stepped up and over the sill. Below were waves crashing against the rocks at the base of the cliff. Above, the wall of the inn stretched towards the roof, several stories above. As Quinn exited the window and began his ascent, he muttered to himself.
“Retire in peace, he said, live by the sea, he told me, put the danger behind you…”
“The young lady poked her head out the window. “Who gave you that terrible idea?” she asked.
Her head disappeared inside, quickly replaced by the goat, who had the trailing end of Quinn’s sheet in it’s mouth. As the beast pulled on the sheet and it slowly began to flutter down towards the churning sea below, Quinn sighed.
“An amusing name for the inn, yes, that will bring people. And cows. And goats.” He spared one final glance down at the goat. “So glad you’re leaving.”
"Really must remember to get ladders put on the outside of the walls," he grunted to himself as he climbed.
Quinn imagined the complaints he would later hear from customers, both amused and irate no doubt, about a half-naked man scaling the walls of the inn. Well what was the good of owning your own inn if you couldn't climb about the place half-naked once in awhile?