“Childrun” by Marc Laidlaw
The first thing Gorlen heard, as he mounted toward the walled village at the top of the rise, was the sound of children, their voices tumbling down the rutted track to greet him long before he saw a single villager. This meant his first sight of the pinched grey roofpeaks and ochre chimneyspikes above the wall came accompanied by the peculiar mix of dread and longing that he always felt at the sound of children playing. Were they laughing in delight or screaming in terror? It was an old question, and in the first and most memorable instance — when the correct answer had actually mattered — he had guessed wrong. He had lived with that mistake ever since.
These days, Marc Laidlaw is mainly known as the writer of the Half-Life videogame series, but early in his career he wrote a handful of novels and many short stories of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. For several decades he has also been telling the occasional, episodic tale of Gorlen, the bard with the gargoyle hand. “Childrun” is the third of them.
He can be found online at marclaidlaw.com
Larry Oliver is a professional voice artist who enjoys reading, hiking, yoga, Zumba, and cooking. He has narrated several audio books available on audible, Amazon, and iTunes, as well as documentary films, commercials, corporate training videos, and much more.
You can find him at LarryOliverVoiceover.com