“You do speak.” The golden man seemed pleased with this development. “You can therefore answer for your crimes.”
I did not want to answer for my crimes. I wanted my daughter back. I wanted the years back. I wanted all of this to go away. I would have no such luck today, clearly. “You can go eat dung.”
The dandelion man gasped. Evidently, I had broken a rule.
“What?” said the golden man.
“I said dung,” I repeated, delighted with myself and the new-found power of shocking words. “And you can go eat it.”
The golden man set me on fire.
Let me be clearer: this was not the controlled burst of flame one might see in a cinematic, enhanced by computer graphics or perhaps painted onto the scene. No, he simply lost his temper, and when he did, heat spread out from his body like a sharp exhalation. Flames ate the trees and turned the ground into ash, covering my body in a sharp, fast wave of pain. I could not scream; the air was gone, eaten by the fire, and for a moment, all I did was twist within.
It faded, more slowly than I liked, and I finally found the breathe to howl. It hurt, oh, it did; I writhed on the ground, wounded flesh crying out at the scrape of burned dirt, and when the pain faded enough for me to function, I was very, very angry.
The golden man did not expect me to stand again and try to bite his throat. No one expects that, generally.