Chthonic Monsters — Theseus Becomes King

This is the final part of Chthonic Monsters. Part one, Theseus Goes to Crete, is here, and part two, Theseus Meets the Minotaur, is here. This is from a novel-in-progress, in which the characters tell one another many different stories.

sunset sea
Knossos sat on a low hill, with its high walls facing the sea. Theseus got out of bed, and firmly barricaded the doors. After, he went to the balcony, to listen to the crickets in the gardens below the palace, and watch the moon rise. The quiet of the perfect Cretan evening was interrupted by screams, and a long, sustained bellow of rage.

The Minotaur had escaped, and was making good on his promise of revenge. Ariadne woke with a start, and Theseus calmly collected his arms. He asked Ariadne to help in strap on his armor, and then he grabbed his long Athenian spear. Her hands were shaking, but she was silent. The screams were horrific. It sounded as though the Minotaur was ripping people apart, not merely killing them.

“He’s coming here too, you know,” Theseus said. He knew that the Minotaur desired his half-sister. He’d seen it in the beast’s eyes.

“I understand,” Ariadne said, though she didn’t. “You will protect us.”

“If I can,” Theseus said. “I’m not Hercules, you know.”

“You can protect us. I do not wish to die.”

They heard the King’s personal guard outside the door, begging them to open the door. “Let us in!” they cried. “The beast has killed King Minos, and chases us still.”

“Leave them be,” Theseus said. “Now get on the balcony, and if I fall, you must jump.”

“But I would be killed,” Ariadne said.

“Much worse will happen if your half-brother gets in here without me to protect you. Did you not see the way he looked at you?”

“You’re ridiculous! He had many opportunities to attack me, alone in the Labyrinth, and he never did. He was always gentle and good with me!”

“You were his only chance of escaping, my Ariadne. He needed you for his revenge more than his lusts.”
Ariadne was silent, and moved the balcony.

The guardsmen outside their door screamed, and Theseus and Ariadne listened in horror as they all died at the hands of the Minotaur. It kicked open their doors like they were kindling.

The Minotaur was covered with blood — most of it from its victims, but it had suffered many wounds and Theseus could see that its strength was waning. “Give me the woman Athenian, and you may live!”

Theseus smiled and said, “the girl is mine, but I will let you live if you promise never to return.”

The Minotaur laughed at Theseus’s bravado. It was a harsh sound, alien and strange, but infectious nonetheless. “I have dreamed of this day for my whole life,” the Minotaur said, “and I never imagined that I would die, unless I chose it. But I would have Ariadne first.”

“Never,” Theseus said. His spear stabbed forward with the swiftness of a stag, and the Minotaur just barely dodge do the side in time, taking the razor-honed bronze edge in the flank, instead of its heart. More blood gushed from its side. It bellowed in rage and pain, and leaped towards Theseus, who batted at its head with his bronze shield, and slid to the side, slipping around behind the Minotaur with a twirl. As he did, he whipped the spear around him, like he was dancing with it, and the head caught the Minotaur flat-footed, slicing through the top of its thighs. More blood.

The Minotaur now had nobody between it and Ariadne, but it was clear that it couldn’t turn its back on Theseus and survive. It reached over to its side and grabbed a chair with one hand, which it flung with casual ease at Theseus. The Athenian dodged the projectile, barely, and the beast was on him, its massive fist about to crush Theseus’s skull. Only the shield saved him, as he brought it up just in time. Even so, the power of the Minotaur’s blow shattered it, broke Theseus’s arm, and threw him back ten feet.

Theseus stayed upright, and lifted the spear in time to prevent the Minotaur from leaping in and finishing the job. In the melee, the creature did not hear Ariadne come in from the balcony, and slide her dagger between its ribs. She missed its heart, but it was a fatal blow, as the bull-headed half-brother turned to face its half-sister, Theseus leaped forward, putting all his weight behind the point of his spear. The bright bronze tip entered the Minotaur’s chest, and this strike did not miss, piercing the heart.

You could say the Minotaur died for love. Once it had killed Minos, there was nothing to stop it from escaping the Palace of Knossos, and living the rest of its life as many other monsters did — it could find a nice cave to live in, and only come out for the occasional bit of marauding, like the Cyclops, or one of the other chthonic monsters that seemed to be plaguing Ancient Greece.

But no, the Minotaur had twisted the love and care, and dare I say, guilt, his sister had for him, and turned that into some kind of sick sexual fantasy.

Theseus even kind of understood the dead beast. Ariadne was undeniably attractive, kind, and even if she was incredibly intelligent (Theseus never would have thought of the string idea, and later even Daedelus said, “well bugger me,” when he heard about out it) she was quite gullible.

This is what made it so easy for him to help him with the next phase of his plan.

Oh yes, this was all part of his plan — did you not realize that he wasn’t just going along here? As soon as he saw that Minos was not going to kill him outright, he knew he would be able to turn this whole thing to his advantage. The fate of the Minos family was a classic Greek tragedy. It all stemmed from the pride of King Minos, and not wanting to sacrifice the bull that earned him the crown in the first place. Theseus was just going to tie up all the loose ends.

And so, there was a magnificent funeral, and the traditional games the Greeks so loved, to celebrate the life of King Minos. Theseus himself participated, and won all but the wrestling match, which he lost to a cousin of Ariadne’s, whom Theseus suspected of being part bull himself. After a decent period of mourning, Theseus and Ariadne were crowned king and queen, and a lavish ceremony (and more games) were held in their honor.

They ruled for a year and a day, and then Theseus announced that he and Ariadne would be leaving, so the rest of the world could appreciate Ariadne’s beauty. She was thrilled, because she had always felt Crete was too small a kingdom for her quality to be properly worshiped. And so, their ship left, crewed by men completely loyal to Theseus, and they crossed Homer’s wine-dark sea, presumably headed for Athens. They stopped at a remote island on the way, refilled their water barrels, and while they did, Theseus and Ariadne had a picnic on a beach, facing the open expanse of the western sea. It was a fine day, the wind and Ariadne’s spirits were high, and she drank too much wine; she fell asleep, and Theseus returned to the ship without her.

They left the island with the tide, and the setting sun.

When the crew asked where the Queen was, Theseus said, “I promised that I would take her away from Crete. I am a man of my word.” Theseus would have to wed an Athenian noblewoman, if he was going to secure the throne of Athens as well as the throne of Knossos.

When the crew asked if he wanted to put up the white sail, so his father knew that he still lived, Theseus told them to continue with the black. He was not sure the news would kill his father. He suspected it would.

And that is how Theseus became the King of Athens and Crete.

The End

Read part one: Theseus Goes To Crete. Read part two: Theseus Meets the Minotaur.

Chthonic Monsters — Theseus Meets the Minotaur

This is from a novel-in-progress, in which the characters tell one another many different stories, but I thought I would share here it here the blog. Alas, it it too long to put up in one post, so I’ll put up the last part tomorrow. The first part, Theseus Goes to Crete, is here.

The Labyrinth

Once they were married, Ariadne wanted Theseus to come with her and visit her brother, the Minotaur.

“You visit him?” Theseus said. “How is that possible?”

“It is simple. When I enter the Labyrinth tie one end of a ball of yarn to the door handle, and then I search through the maze until I find my brother. When it is time for me to leave, I use the string to find the way out.”

“But why hasn’t the Minotaur attacked you?”

“Because he is my brother, and a kindly person. He only hates Minos, and those who come down to the Labyrinth to kill him. You didn’t know that did you? The Oracle said that Minos could not have my brother killed, but he makes no secret of the fact that he would like him dead. Every once in a while some fool who considers himself a great hero tries to kill him. Most of them die when they face him, because my brother is stronger than any man alive. And those who do not find him die, forever lost in the maze.

“It is dark down there, and the darkness has a way of playing with your mind. You forget things. You forget yourself. And that is when my brother finds you, usually. Nobody stands a chance down there.”

“But you survive.”

“Because I bring him food, usually enough to get him through to my next visit. And he knows, in his fashion, that I am his sister. He loves me, I am sure of it.”

“I would like to come with you to meet him,” Theseus said, for as Ariadne told this story, he had an idea for how he could achieve Athenian vengeance on Minos.

“I don’t know,” Ariadne said.

“Please. Let us do this together. I want to know everything about your life here, if I am to rule after your father is gone.”

“Okay, but you must promise not to hurt him.”

“I will take no weapons,” Theseus promised, “if you can assure me he will not attack me when I appear.”

“No, he will listen to me.”

They went down to the Labyrinth the next day. There was only one entrance, and it was deep below the palace grounds. Daedelus had dug deep on the acropolis of Knossos, which was the capital of Crete. And then when he knew it was deep enough, he constructed the maze; a tangle of hallways and chambers so convoluted and cunning, that even he would be unable to find his way through it. To make it thoroughly impenetrable, he then reconstructed the magnificent palace of Knossos overtop the Labyrinth itself.

When the door opened, it creaked, and a puff of stale, rank air met them. Theseus thought how horrible it would be to spend your life in such a place, forever in darkness, lost. It would make anyone murderous.

Perhaps sensing his thoughts, Ariadne made sure that Theseus had no weapons, and asked him to hold the torch while she tied the end of her yarn to the handle of the portal. She unwound it as they walked, their steps echoing in the deepness of the Labyrinth. The sound was hollow, and bereft of hope. It seemed as though they were walking for hours, winding through short hallways, long passages, weaving passages, blind alleys, and the occasional open room. It was completely disorienting, and Theseus began to worry. The narrow bit of yarn could easily break anywhere along way, and they would be trapped there forever. But then they heard the beast approach.

Theseus had noted that Minos and Ariadne never named it “Minotaur”, the former calling it a “beast” or “creature”, while the latter always called it her “brother”, even though it was her half-brother at best. They were both wrong to do so. The Minotaur was not something to be denied, minimized, or rendered powerless by giving it lesser names. Despite its years of captivity in the dark hopelessness of its prison, it did not seem cowed or broken.

The Minotaur stepped into the pool of light given off by the torch. The beast was at least seven feet tall, more muscular and powerful than any man Theseus had ever seen, and that included Hercules. Its head was overly large for a human being, with thick, sharp, forward-pointing horns and a flat face that almost looked bovine. Instead of a nose, it had large nostrils in the middle of its face, and its eyes glistened blackly in the firelight.

“Sister,” it rumbled.

“Brother,” Ariadne said. “I have brought my new husband to meet you.”

“I have no wedding gift to give you, sister, except my forbearance. If it is your wish this puny man should live, I will not kill him.”

“Thank you, that is a wonderful gift,” Ariadne breathed, obviously relieved. Theseus realized that she had promised his safety, even though she could not guarantee it. “I do bring gifts. Some new clothes, and food. More food and drink than I usually can bring, because Theseus is with me.”

“That is good. Let us eat and toast your wedding.”

So they had an impromptu picnic in the inky depths of the Labyrinth, and Theseus was surprised by the intelligence of the Minotaur.

“You know I can sometimes hear people singing and playing music up above,” the Minotaur said as they drank wine and ate olives. “I imagine that was your wedding I heard not long ago.”

“It was,” Ariadne said. “I wish you could have been there.”

The Minotaur did not say anything, but arched an eyebrow. “Then why did you not come and fetch me?”

“You know that I cannot do that, silly.”

The Minotaur’s nostrils flared, and he snorted. Theseus knew this was dangerous territory, but this was precisely why he came.

“Why couldn’t we help him escape, my love?”

“Because he would surely kill my father.”

“I would,” the Minotaur said. “I would destroy all who had a hand in keeping me here these long years.”

“How have you stayed sane?” Theseus asked.

“I dream of my revenge,” the Minotaur said, stretching its enormous arms out, as if to show how wide its imagination ranged when it came to revenge. “I search the tunnels, hoping to find the way out of this nightmare. I think of Ariadne and my mother. I hunt rats and other vermin, so that I can eat and stay strong enough to have my revenge when I get my chance.”

“How do you know you’ll get a chance?” Theseus said.

The Minotaur looked at Theseus, as if to say, “who are we kidding?” It snorted, it’s hot breath washing over the newlyweds like a gust of wind in the Underworld. “I can’t think that way. That way lays madness. I’ve thought like that. I tried to imagine a world without this thing, this revenge. I tried to imagine a world in which I was a normal person, not trapped in this darkness, but it did not help me. I’m not normal. I’m trapped in this darkness. To state the facts does not weaken me. It does not make it true. The truth exists, even if I think otherwise. I know, I’ve tried. And that is madness. My choice is simple. I can live with the hope of revenge, or end the misery myself, somehow.”

Ariadne was quiet during this conversation, chewing on a curl of her hair. Theseus had noticed her doing it before, and he realized now that it was not because she was thinking, but because she was thinking that she did not like what she was hearing.

“Well, we have to get going, my dear brother. I’ll return again soon, and bring you more food. I thought I was coming often enough that you didn’t need anything else. I am sorry you’ve had to eat, uh . . .”

“Vermin.”

“Yes.” Ariadne leaned up and kissed the Minotaur on the cheek of its massive bull’s head. It was a tender gesture, and Theseus couldn’t be sure, but it looked like tears were forming in the black eyes of the beast. Underlying the sadness, though, was a baser emotion that Theseus knew well.

Ariadne turned to go, her hand cupped around yarn, as Theseus still held what was left of the ball of it.
Theseus held it up in front of the Minotaur’s face, and said, “you understand?”

“So that’s how she’s been doing it.”

“Yes,” Theseus whispered. “And when she left, she probably took the ball with her, wrapping the yarn as she went. But you’ve upset her, and she’s forgotten. And I will too, of course, because I’ve never done this before.”
Theseus held out the ball of yarn, and the Minotaur took it from him, his massive hands overlapping Theseus’s own. This close, Theseus realized that even if he had a spear and a shield, and the Minotaur was unarmed, he would have a hard time killing the beast. “I’ll make sure it remains tied to the door.”

And so Theseus caught up to Ariadne, who was quietly sobbing as she wound her way back to the surface of the maze, her right hand cupped around the lifegiving string. Theseus was content to follow behind her, holding the torch aloft. At the doorway to the Labyrinth, he made sure the sting was securely tied, and left it ajar.

He took Ariadne back to their chambers, where he comforted her, and made love to her, and then listened to the sounds of the night.

Continue reading…> Chthonic Monsters — Theseus Becomes King

Chthonic Monsters — Theseus Goes to Crete

This is from a novel-in-progress, in which the characters tell one another many different stories, but I thought I would share one of those stories here the blog. Alas, it it too long to put up in one post, so I’ll put up the other two parts over the next couple days.

The Mother of the Minotaur

Now, Theseus was already a great hero in Athens when this story begins, but still, a very young man. He was beloved by his father, King Aegeus, who founded the city. At this time Athens was not the powerful city you might imagine it to be — they had yet to invent democracy, or build the Acropolis. Before Theseus had even been born, Athens had been defeated by the Kingdom of Crete, and was forced to pay tribute to it every seventh year, in penance for starting the war.

Each seventh year, Athens had to send a seventh of the wealth the city had accrued. Even worse, it had to send its seven bravest young men and seven most beautiful young women to Crete. Twice this had happened, and none of the young men or women had ever been heard from again. There was a rumour amongst the people of Athens that these beautiful and brave youngsters were sacrifices to a beast kept by King Minos of Crete, a horrible creature that was half-man, half-bull.

Now, on the streets of Athens there was talk of the people finding another King to rule them, for if Aegeus could not protect them from King Minos and his terrible beast, then perhaps another could. Theseus knew of these rumours, and he told his father that he would go to Crete as one of the seven brave young men, and slay this beast. He promised that if he was successful, he would use a white sail on his ship. If the ship used a black sail, then Aegeus would know that Theseus was dead.

Aegeus did not want Theseus to go, but he let him, knowing that a man must make his own fate. And so, Theseus sailed with the others to Crete. When they arrived, Theseus was surprised that they were met with kindness and cordiality by the King of Crete himself. Minos was, at this time, an old man. There was no sign that he was cruel enough to sacrifice the young men and women of Athens to a monster. He was especially courteous when he learned that Theseus was the son of Aegeus himself.

“I’m surprised. I wouldn’t think your father would let you come here,” the King said. “He will miss you, but you shall have a place of honour in my house. I have heard the story of how you captured the Marathonian Bull, and how your father saved you from Medea. It is wonderful to have a hero in my house. Have you met my eldest daughter, Ariadne?”

She was the most beautiful woman Theseus had ever seen, and he was uncharacteristically speechless. Ariadne was older than Theseus, but still a maiden, and Minos watched them speculatively.

In Theseus’s mind, Ariadne was a prize greater than a kingdom, and he decided right then and there that he must have her. Ariadne was no meek thing though, and she had her own plans.

“Do you find me beautiful?” she asked Theseus.

“More beautiful than the sky at dawn,” Theseus replied. “You are as lovely as Aphrodite herself.”

“You must not say such things,” Ariadne said. “The gods are jealous and vengeful. That is why my brother is imprisoned in the Labyrinth.”

“Your brother?” Theseus had never heard of Minos having any sons.

“Yes. My half-brother, rather. They call him a horrible beast, and say that he eats human flesh, but it is not true. He is just misunderstood. My father angered the God of the Sea. Posideon sent my father the White Cretan Bull, a glorious gift, so that it would be known Minos he was favoured by the gods, and so, he won the throne. But Posideon expected Minos to sacrifice the bull to him in return. My father didn’t want to — it was so beautiful, and the people loved it, and surely another bull would do? I know, some are so foolish when it comes to the gods. So Posideon made my mother fall in love with the Cretan Bull, and she mated with it, and thus the Minotaur was born.

“My father wanted to kill the beast, but the Oracle said my father’s reign would end if he killed the child. Instead he had it imprisoned in the Labyrinth, built by Daedelus, never to escape or see the blue of sea or sky. He lives like an animal in the dark, forever trapped in the depths of the impenetrable maze below the palace.”

“That’s terrible,” Theseus said. “How could your father be so cruel? He does not seem like such a hard man.”

“Oh, he is a clever one,” Ariadne said. “He never seems to be what he is — a tyrant. He is the real monster.”

Theseus did not know what to think. He was taken with Ariadne, and he wanted to believe her, but he could see no evidence that Minos was the fiend she said. At that moment, Minos introduced the other Athenians who had been sent seven and fourteen years before — all 28 of them!

It certainly wasn’t what he expected. He spent most of the evening with Ariadne, but at one point, Minos asked Theseus to attend him on the palace balcony. No others came with them, but there were guards in attendance, and Minos waved them off, as they looked out at the dark skies of Crete. The palace faced north, towards the sea that spread between the two kingdoms like a deep, black mystery. The moon reflected over the water, which was calm and flat on the warm summer evening.

“I am not getting any younger,” the King of Crete said to Theseus, “and it is time for me to think of my successor. Would you be willing to marry my daughter, Ariadne, and rule with her when I am gone?”

Theseus did not know what to say. There was nothing he wanted more than to have Ariadne.

“I have only one condition,” Minos said, “you must promise to keep the beast that lives beneath this palace in its Labyrinth. Ariadne is a dutiful daughter, but I know she thinks I am cruel to keep her half-brother locked up in that maze. But if we don’t then the disaster will befall.”

“What disaster?” Theseus asked.

“When the creature was born — I’m sure Ariadne told you the story of its birth — I sent to the Oracle to know what I should do. In my heart of hearts, I wanted to simply slay the abomination, and have done with it. It was a reminder of my faithlessness to the gods. But my wife loved the thing, and I loved her so I promised to hear what the Oracle had to say before I did anything,” Minos explained.

“When my emissary returned from Delphi, he told me the Oracle said that if I had the beast killed, or let free to roam, Crete would be destroyed. So I had Daedalus build the Labyrinth. It was still unfinished when your father and his Athenians attempted an invasion. As you know, we won, and Athens has paid tribute ever since. But I grow nervous of its presence below the palace. Daedalus escaped, and I always worry that the creature will someday too.”

“But the Labyrinth is impossible to navigate,” Theseus objected. “Even Daedelus only escaped because he created wings and flew away.”

“You heard about that, did you? I’ve spent years searching for that damned inventor. But at least he has told no one about how the navigate the Labyrinth, and I suspect you are correct Theseus, it is impenetrable. I should stop worrying about the beast, and concentrate on the future. If you promise not to kill or release the beast, then I shall give you my daughter Ariadne, and our two great civilizations will be merged into one.”

Theseus was surprised. He did not think to find an ally here in Crete, let alone a wife and father-in-law. But at the same time, he shared the hatred all Athenians had for Minos and Crete. They had humiliated the people of Athens for 21 years, and Theseus would have retribution.

Ariadne said that she would marry him, on the condition that Theseus would one day take her far from Crete, where there were none to appreciate her beauty.

“Of course I’ll take you away from here,” Theseus promised. “You are too beautiful to stay locked away in this Palace.”

So later that month, he and Ariadne were wed.

Keep reading with part two …> Chthonic Monsters — Theseus Meets the Minotaur

Why’s Wally?

why's wally

“I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world.”

― Albert Camus, The Stranger

The shirt lay on his bed. It mocked him. It compelled him to wear it, but he didn’t want to. He hated the shirt.

That and the stupid hat.

What if he didn’t put them on? That was always an option, surely? He had some other clothes, didn’t he? He went to his closet and was mildly horrified to see that it was stuffed with striped shirts, red and white bobble hats, and an assortment of jeans. How had his life come to this? He made his way to the back of the closet, and could find nothing but red and white stripes. Red and white. The jeans were all blue, the same style. Not even brand name.

Wally looked out at the bedroom, morning sunshine angling in through the venetian blinds.

The light reminded him of Algeria, dry as the pages of a book. Wally had just finished reading The Stranger and it haunted him. He’d been to Algeria, of course. He’d been everywhere.

Wally had met Camus, too, during his time-travelling days. In fact, Wally had met the French writer while Camus was authoring his other famous book, The Myth of Sisyphus.

He remembered the conversation they’d had over cheap wine in a crowded Parisian bistro: “For me, chér Charlie, the only serious philosophical question is this: is life worth living? The world is irrational, and yet … yet, we yearn for happiness and the rational. Why? It is absurd. There is no sense to it. This is the heart of my thinking, Charlie. The absurd is born of our human need for reason and the unreasonable silence of the world.”

“But don’t you feel as though you are being watched?” he’d asked, not bothering to correct Camus about his name. It didn’t matter where he went, everyone seemed to use the local version of Wally. In America he was “Waldo”, in German “Walter”, in France “Charlie”. Better not to make waves, to blend in. His instinct was to hide in plain sight, so he rolled with it, always.

“Watched?”

“Yes. Don’t you feel like you are constantly being watched?”

“God?” Camus had said, a look of amusement on his face.

“God? What? No. People. That people are looking for you?”

“You mean the Nazis?”

“They could be Nazis, but not just the Nazis. I don’t know,” Wally had said “They are looking for me, though, I’m not making that up. It’s like they’re searching for me.”

Camus had thought about that for a moment, and smiled warmly. He had grasped Wally’s right bicep, squeezing it like an old friend: “Madness has a kind of freedom in it, though you are in a prison, nonetheless. It is another duality.”

And then the crowd had started to thin, and it was time for Wally to go. When he was not absolutely alone, he couldn’t be comfortable unless there was a crowd. He only felt safe surrounded by hundreds, or thousands. It was probably why he never worked things out with Wilma. Or her identical twin, Wenda, for that matter. Wally blushed as he remembered the three of them together, that one night. But three, as it turned out, wasn’t a big enough crowd for it to work.

Was Camus right? Was it possible there was nobody watching him? If that was so, then there would be a kind of freedom he’d never felt. He wouldn’t have to be so circumspect. He wouldn’t have to spend all his time trying to blend in with the crowd. That could get challenging, he’d found, especially in more exotic locales, times, realities… Wally wondered what Camus would have made of his stint in a dimension known as Clown Town. The place had been nightmarish. Apocalyptic. Everyone was a clown, and everything was shaped like a clown. Camus would probably have enjoyed the delicious absurdity of the place and time. It was one of the worst scenes Wally had ever found himself in, but if he had been wearing something other than his stripped shirt and bobble hat, those clowns would have ended up juggling with his skull. He knew it.

So the shirt had saved him on occasion, but it was, as Camus hinted, a prison. Like Meursault, the main character in The Stranger, Wally faced the rest of his life behind bars. Though unlike Meursault, his life could be very long.

Wally realized that he was still standing in his closet, naked except for his underwear and socks. Red and white striped boxers and knee-highs, of course. His dresser was filled with them.

He walked to the window, and opened the blinds. Outside he could see his yard. It was spring again, though he couldn’t really tell you how long it had been spring. The trees were in bloom, and bright blue forget-me-nots dotted the lush green grass. He could see Woof’s tail wagging strongly enough to shake his whole backend, his front obscured by a bush. The dog had probably found a rabbit or some other creature, helpless, trying to hide.

Wally looked at the shirt and all his other clothes on the bed. When he put them on, and picked up the walking stick, he would be whisked away, as he always was. He looked out at the yard, dappled in the May sunshine, and realized that he’d never been in it. He’d never felt the grass between his toes.

He took off his socks. Slipped out of his boxers, and tried to open the window. It was frozen shut. He grabbed his walking stick and smashed the panes of glass. He climbed through, cutting himself in the process. Red stripes of blood wound down his pasty white legs, but Wally didn’t care.

The grass felt wonderful.

The End

Enjoy this? There’s more like it in my longer works.


Alltop was always more of a Tintin reader. Originally published by the Jersey Devil Press, Jan. 2014.