• T. Mark Mangum

The Raz Bug

Unexpectedly large would describe the Black Dog, a three-storied, inn and tavern. 

Unexpectedly large would describe the Black Dog, a three-storied, inn and tavern. Unheard of outside the great cities. In the tavern, I looked for an empty spot near the bar and the large fireplace on the North wall. I was told if I sat there with a red piece of fabric draped over my left knee, I would be contacted. It is odd to me that they do it like this. They ought to just have an Adventurer Guild compound that you go to when you’re looking for work. The drink I ordered came as a man sat across from me, his own drink in hand.

“I am Stinler, keeper of the ledger, who are you, and what do you want?”

“I’m shex, I’m looking for work of course.”

“You have the metal?”

I retrieved the copper coin given me as a new member of the Adventurers Guild. He examined it, grunted, sighed, and said “Ahh” as if it were a detailed map of a treasure vault.


“Pirocus Too!” The wizard spoke and fire burst forth from his hands, igniting one of our foes and keeping the others at bay. I rushed into the fray, as I did, the Wizard refocused the flames that instantly burst further out from his hands and ignited another enemy. The Elf, in a delicate frenzied dance, dispatched two, one alight the other not, as I took down another.

Soon the enemy lay dead and we were sorting through the contents of the camp. It seemed so easy, then it happened. Pole, the elf, screamed, then Tret the wizard, I moved toward them to see if I could help, they both had fallen, writhing on the ground in pain. Then I saw the bugs.

I ran, Raz bugs I had heard would sit at the base of a man’s neck attached by small stringy tendrils, hard as a blade and control the mind and the man to its own purpose. You never got them off, so the stories go. You had to kill both men and bugs.

The pain was intense, I stumbled and fell as both hands instinctively shot to the back of my neck where the pain was, oh god it was a bug, I screamed.


Walking back to camp, I could see what I was doing, there were Tret and Pole. They sat by the fire roasting the leg of one of the foes we had just defeated, all things were hazy I felt numb, soon it was like a constant fog. We sat eating, we didn’t talk, but the bugs did strange clicks and squeaks. Pole laughed, I laughed too, well the bugs did.

“Now wait just a minute here, how be it you are sitting here telling the tale?” Jauko asked looking all concerned.

“Ahh, now that my friend is a lesson. One worth at least a Gold piece, each. How to survive a Raz Bug and tell the tale.”


The Raz Bug is published in the on line publication Illumination, on Medium Please consider joining Medium as a paid subscriber. When you read my stories on Medium I get paid.

Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.

T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.

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