Monday, May 21, 2007
The Strange Creature, Part I
Once upon a time, a strange creature with no place to live was forced to wander from place to place. Many of the townspeople who had seen the creature lurking at the edges of the forest declared that it was the most repulsive thing on G-d's green earth. Many of the townspeople took to locking their door twice at night to ensure the monster stays away. Many of the townspeople began to lobby for Sir Helmsley, the local landlord, to once and for all eradicate the creature from their midst. Soon, all Sir Helmsley heard about was the wretched creature. He knew he must do something; the situation was becoming desperate.
At first, Sir Helmsley sent his best hunters to track and trap the ever-moving thing, but that met with failure. The hunters returned to Helmsley's manor, tails between their legs, metaphorically speaking, with their dogs at their sides, with actual tails between their legs. They hunted, they sought, they waited, they set traps, but to no avail. The creature disturbing the sleep of the innocent townsfolk could not be found, and therefore could not be killed. Furious at their failure, Sir Helmsley sent the hunters back into the forest for a second try. This time, when the hunters returned, they came back sans the head hunter. He had disappeared in the night.
Now more afraid than furious, Sir Helmsley sent a troop of his fiercest, strongest, most capable soldiers into the forest to find this elusive terror of the night. Three days passed. Then another three days. Then another. The soldiers never returned. The town was in an uproar, the streets empty, trade on the decline, and Sir Helmsley stopped sleeping at night. Helmsley now knew he had but one recourse. He must go into the forest himself, destroy the monster, and save his people.
As Helmsley prepared for battle, as he donned his armor and sheathed his sword, he did not reflect on the glory that would be his if he would succeed. He did not feel the exhilaration of battle course through his noble veins. He did not tell a soul of his planned quest. He did not imagine the epic songs that would be sung of him -dirges of melancholy honor to his bravery should he be killed and triumphant melodies should he succeed where the strongest have failed. Helmsley was afraid, and he could not rouse himself to think anything but of his fear. It consumed him; it was destroying him. A face which once was admired by all the noble and certainly all the common ladies in the land was now drawn and stretched thin over his weary bones. He had never before fought for his people or his land. No wars called him to battle, no duels ever had to be fought to protect his honor. He barely knew how to hold a sword, let alone use one.
While he walked to the forest, Helmsley saw the sun begin its ascent over the horizon. He knew that day would likely be his last, and the beauty pierced a tear in his eye. He was not a fighter, he knew that, and nor did he love anyone dearly enough to want to live for them. He had no family, no close friends to speak of. He lived for his people, by listening to their worries and cares, and trying to do his duty by them the only way he knew how. And now that duty had come to this.
He faced the forest. It looked dark, surprisingly so in the daylight, and ominous. It seemed to warn him away and mock him at the same time, as though it knew he would flee from before its gloom. Helmsley squared his shoulders, took a shuddering breath, and took a step toward his fate.
To be Continued...
Posted by Lee at 5/21/2007 04:33:00 PM