The Beast

I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with my writing, but haven’t done a great job of posting what I write to this blog. The following is a short story I wrote earlier this year, just before I had decided to put my writings online. I’ve got a pretty good backlog of writings, I just need to make sure I stay on top of getting them edited and making blog posts out of them. I hope you enjoy this one as it is one of my favorites so far.

The beast’s eyes reflected back the firelight as a vivid and raging glow only furthering it’s demonic aspect. It’s body was that of a wolf, but certainly this was no wolf for it spoke to me in the night, taunting, yet it would not approach the fire that kept it at bay.

“A man has little tinder left for his fire, I think it will not last the night.” rumbled the low voice of the beast as it paced before the fire. “Come out of that cave for it is cold and dank where my belly is warm and your suffering will be no more.”

I shivered for the beast was right, the fire was low and the beast drew nearer to the lip of the cave where I huddled against the cold, a dwindling pile of firewood lay at my side and I doubted if any would be left come daybreak. I doubted that I would remain come daybreak. Yet I kept my voice level as I taunted back at the beast.

“A beast has no blade and no shield and will meet it’s end at the tip of my sword which served my father and his father before him against both beast and man. Flee from here, for the only reason I have not slain you is that I wish not for your tainted meat, demon.”

A sound like rolling thunder emanated from the beast that was his laughter at my words. “A man hides his fear well and has my respect, but I fear no blade and have no need to hide behind a shield. My jaws have torn the throats of both beast and man, my claws are as many of your sword. Furthermore, I do hunger for your meat.”

Despite my desire to show no fear to this monster I shivered at his words for I had no doubt that this beast had tasted the flesh of man before. I threw another branch onto the fire and looked past for a sign of the coming day that was truly my only hope, for the demon could not bide the sun. He had stalked me for three nights now and only in the darkness of night could his paws be heard breaking the twigs in the dark woods and his voice rumbling forth from the shadows.

“A man now shows his fear.” Though the beast had the aspect of a wolf he seemed to grin at me through the failing flames of the fire. “Come out of this cave for daylight draws near, but not near enough that you should see the morrow, I wish to eat slow and savor your flesh. Come daylight I will have to leave what scraps of you remain and they will be stolen from me by the other creatures of this wood that feed upon meat. No creature dares steal from me in the darkness.” The beast laughed again in a deep rumble that shook the stones upon the cavern floor were I sat.

I looked at my waning pile of firewood and back at the purpling horizon. It did not give me hope. I threw the remaining sticks onto the fire, pulled my sword and my shield closer to my side and shut my eyes to sleep for I had, had little slumber since I had entered the beast’s wood and knew that no matter what, I would know either daylight or death next I opened them.

As you well know, for I am here to tell you what I have told, I woke to the warmth of daylight on my face. I saw not, the beast again in his woods for I now sleep in my own home. Yet, Hemthir’s son has gone missing and the wife of Uthmir claims she has seen the shadow of a great wolf stalking among the huts. I fear I have led the beast here and that it would have been better had I been taken in the dark while I journeyed. Perhaps, the beast in his demonic cunning thought for me to lead him to our home all along.