Boy, this blog looks like long-distance communication in the present millennium – no post.
Ba dum tiss.
Don’t try to invent your own jokes, Shepherd. Shizz weak, man. Just stick to getting them off the internet like everyone else.
Okay so I’ve been scarce lately. As it turns out, I’ve not posted in almost a month. The reason for this is that I have been writing exams. And in my free time, which is minimal since I work full-time too, I have been working on a short story for my Master’s application. And once I’ve bid farewell to Milton, Chaucer, James, and Eliot (the real boy one), I will be on my merriest of ways to join my beloved in England for three weeks, over Christmas and New Year.
So! In the high likelihood of a return to blog activity (blogtivity? No.) as late as next year, I have decided to reproduce here the beginning of my short story. Please feel free to tell me it is history’s single worst arrangement of the English alphabet, or feel free to tell me you kinda like it (if you do). Or just don’t comment at all. In fact, who am I even addressing here? I have like three regular readers.
Hennyway! Here goes…
Come gather round, you who would hear legends. Come rich and poor, and young and old, for my tale is both the oldest and the newest ever told. It is about a beast, and a people, and a curse, and a king. Come join me at my pace as I speak now slow. My tale thus beginning, so it goes.
A very long time ago, in a kingdom far from here, a beast lay locked in a cell. This was a special cell, for it only opened from the outside. Now, the king had warned the people never to open the cell, lest the beast escape, and encouraged no one to come very close to the beast, caged as it was. But one day, the curious people wanted to see the beast up close; to touch its fur and hear its mighty puffing. The beast appeared friendly, and it convinced the people to open the cell. But no sooner was the mechanism sprung, than the beast slipped out and ran away, disappearing among the trees. The people were afraid. They ran to the king’s chamber, but he was no longer there. They searched all throughout the kingdom: he was not in the hills, and he was not in the bogs; he was not in the trees, and he was not in the troughs. He was gone.
The people felt a change in the air, and after some time, a man was found lying on his back in the centre of the field. He was sleeping, but his eyes remained open, white, and the flies gathered around his lips. The people tried to wake him up, but he did not move. They called him by his name, but he did not hear. After some time, the sleeping man’s skin began to fall away, but still he did not wake up. By this time, another man and two women had also fallen asleep with their eyes open, and they too refused to wake up. Their skin fell away like that of the first man, and the people felt weak at the smell of them. So the people decided to take the sleeping ones away.
For every person awaking of a woman, another person went to sleep with eyes open. Some of the people started to say that every man and every woman must eventually go to sleep like this. This suspicion was confirmed regularly until, eventually, the people knew it to be true. Their certainty made them afraid again, like they were when the beast had run away those years ago. They were afraid of what would happen to those who fell asleep with eyes open, afraid that they would never see them again. Before very long, the people spoke matter-of-factly about the ‘curse;’ the curse that made people go to sleep with their eyes open, and caused the flies to gather around their lips, and their skin to fall away until they breathed a new and unpleasant smell. No one would be spared the ravages of the curse upon their body. The people longed for the king.
Around the time the curse had been defined by the people, they heard one night a great thrashing in the waters. The people ran to see, for they knew that no animal dwelling beneath the surface could make a sound of such violence. The thrashing of the waters stopped before the people came within sight, but when they arrived they saw a great and lupine silhouette towering above the trees, as the trees in turn towered above them. The animal heaved with pain and the bloodied waters licked its shins with care. When the people asked what had happened, the beast pointed to another figure, winged and equally enormous, lying as motionless as one who had gone to sleep with eyes open. A sword lay buried in its mighty chest.
The people asked whether the animal standing before them, with its bleeding and torn fur, was the beast that their parents, and the parents of their parents, had spoken of. The beast nodded, but explained that he (for it was a male) had escaped in order to protect the people from the king. He told the people of how the king had most unjustly incapacitated him, using trickery, and how his escape from the cell had caused the king to flee in fear. When the people asked the beast what manner of colossus lay sleeping before them, he explained that it was a soldier sent by the king to harm the people. The hearts of the people warmed at this, and they felt indebted to the beast for having saved them from the winged assassin. From then, the word spread quickly among the people: the vanished king was a usurper and a trickster. And so the rightful king resumed his throne, and the people tended his wounds, all the while praising him his benevolence.
The people came to the beast complaining of the curse that had been with them since the king had fled those years ago; they sought to know the bough from which its remedy would fall. The beast lamented that no such fruit existed, and explained that the king, in his flight, had removed with him a certain statuette, the absence of which had produced within the people this most unfortunate weakness. The statuette, he continued, is the only salve to this affliction, for it nullifies the effects of the curse’s unkind assaults. The beast explained to the people that without such an idol, every man, woman, and child; every husband and wife, and every brother and sister, must surely go to sleep with eyes open. In response to their panic at this information, he offered, dangling, an alternative, which was seized with wild eyes and a hungry alacrity: the people would build a new idol, larger now and in the likeness of their new king – high enough to pierce the blue underbelly of Heaven.
The people were galvanised anew by the hopeful reprieve offered them by the beast, and so it was that, bristling with a premature jubilance, they began arranging for the materials with which they would build their idol. The kingdom would be explored and mapped, and the finest resources extracted from the earth. For the beast had said that only the most radiant of stones would suffice. And so the people began their long toil, placing their hope for salvation in the gold and diamonds of the ground.