Monday, March 23, 2015

3-23-15 Monday Mischief
3:12 PM

3-23-15 Monday Mischief

Art © Andrei Pervukhin, All Rights Reserved -
Story © Corey Blankenship, All Rights Reserved
Characters © Unknown, All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

 Twin hinged doors swung on the evening breeze. The high roof the local saloon glinted gold in the last light of the sun. The gleam vanished like the residents from the muddy lanes, transforming the once bustling Danish village into a gloomy ghost town. The silver plaque by the paneled doors told every wandering stranger the name of the local drinking hole: Heorot, pride of the mayor. No upstanding man would pass this threshold during these watches of the night. At least, such stout men dared not come since the vile shadow crept forth from the devil's pasture. Only monsters and heroes seemed to cross the Mojave wastes.

Foreign clad heavies sat strewn about the card tables and along the bar. Fierce faces and bright eyes crowned powerful bodies, each with sure hands and fearless spirits. Greater still sat their leader in the far-end of the drink house. His hat brim stood wide and flat, a black mesa looming over the plain of the table, though dipped low to cover half-closed eyes. Fleeces from distant mountains clad his skin, while a fine-stitched poncho draped mighty sinew and muscle. Images of past battles and slain beasts danced along its hem and his arms. This grisled traveler from strange lands squared his shoulders toward the darkening entrance. He chewed a Cuban between clamped jaws, another trophy from another journey. Tonight his word lay on the gambling table. His foe had bested the quickest hands and the fiercest marshals Mayor Hrothgar had at his disposal. All had been shredded limb from limb by el hijo de Cain. Taking his cue from a circulated poster, he ventured above the great river with his posse and a mighty boast: He would kill this "Grendel" man-to-man. The hazel-eyed fighter glared at the gates of death and dared the fates to spit the child of el Diablo through their doors.

While the men slept with hands upon holsters, the foul beast stirred from the hills outside the township limits. This evil spirit slinked down the barren streets, straight into Heorot's swinging gates. Hell-fire smouldered in its wicked gaze as Grendel eyed the room. Twenty men slept easy, churning its vicious hunger. The monster pounced, shearing head and shoulders from the first gunslinger. Grendel slurped this one, then leaped to the next. Three fell before the creature came to the leader in his chair. Blood and drool dripped from its jaws as the fiend bore upon the slouched hat. Hands faster than lightning leaped from under the poncho! Grendel roared in surprise as steel-beam fingers plowed into its thick fur, twisting and pulling. Hazel eyes burned with righteous wrath as the man slammed the monster upon the table, splintering the table and hurling chips along the floorboards. Grendel bounded from the wrecked card table and punched into the fighter's chest. The two smashed into a dresser and its accompanying glass mirror.

Shards and curses flew through the air as the slumbering posse woke to their boss' tussle. The men watched the quarrel amazed at the ferocity of man and beast. Grendel clawed with machete-sized talons, gouging a pillar as the fighter ducked and kicked the monster in the chest. Cain's kid slid along the bar, and the leader jumped after him. The flat-hatted fighter picked up a flagon and guzzled a drought before pummeling Grendel's wide jaw. The creature twisted and pawed his shoulder, flipping the foe onto his back. Sickle fangs flashed for the bearded face, only as a knee punched into its ribs. Both tumbled off the counter, limbs flailing into the whiskey bottles. A crystal rainstorm erupted, sprinkling glass and liquor upon the bloody duelers.

Grendel howled and rammed through the counter's wall, dragging the fighter clamped around its haunches. The hell-spawn mule-kicked, launching the fighter onto balcony. It jumped from another table and after its hated enemy. The man already stood and clasped the sailing monster by its oncoming paws, driving it back over the railing. Beast blasted through a third table with its enemy on top. Grendel raged, gnashed its teeth, and sought to gouge the man with wicked talons. Blades threatened the fighter from all sides, hewing the floorboards and nearby posts. Yet, fist for fang the man fought.

Gunshots rang out as the surrounding men feared their leader would die. No lead forged from the campfires or forges of men would ever singe that wicked creature's hide. Then, at last, the fighter's hands gripped a mangy arm, holding fatal claws away from his neck and bearing down with his own brutal strength. Through gritted teeth and smoking cigar, he growled. The man jerked the monster's limb violently, ripping bone from socket and skin from flesh. Grendel wailed, as its hissing blood stained the floor. The beast shot from under the fighter, tearing through a final column and the formerly cursed doors. With a mortal shriek, the child of satan and Cain raced through the oily-black night. Amid shouts of joy, the fighter rose, holding the mangled limb for all to see.

The posse cried aloud their praise, a better gospel than the bell in the steepled church. The valiant man collected a still upright jug and swigged the honeyed juice inside, relishing in the victory of the night. He looked at the bloody stump on the counter and smiled in his grim manner.

His faithful second held a brimming mug and cheered, "Beowulf, you'll be the talk of the country after tonight!"

The bright-eyed fighter grinned and finished his drink. 

Today's Monday Mischief draws from an Anglo-Saxon oldie, Beowulf!

For more monsters and heroes check out, The Truth is Out There!


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