The crisp mountain air stung my lungs as my legs threatened to yield to the unrelenting pressure they were forced to endure throughout my journey. With each step, I seemed no closer to reaching the end of my quest. Every day melted into the last with the end out of sight.
I decided to give in to my fatigue and boredom, and fall to the ground. The rocks beneath me felt uneven, but I savored the opportunity to rest. As I caught my breath, I closed my eyes to picture how my mission would end.
There I was, standing sword in hand, shirt torn open, and with the sweat and blood of my enemies glistening on my abs in the warm sun. As the wind blows through my glorious mane, I notice a beautiful dame standing just beyond the hill of my fallen enemies. I sheath my sword to greet the beautiful lady and make my way through the assortment of corpses lying on the ground
“There it is.” She spoke with a hideous croak, rattling me from my daydream. I opened my eyes to see a grotesque figure staring down at me, lifting a single bony finger towards a nearby cave.
Her face looked terribly deformed, as if she were a burn victim who happened to also survive an acid attack, and then proceeded to get a botched plastic surgery job. She covered herself in a dark cloak, unfortunately allowing that terrifying face to be seen, as well as her wrinkled hands. On her back she carried a pack nearly twice the size of my own, twisting her spine until her body resembled a misshapen question mark.
“Oh my god Madison,” I raised my head to look towards the next stage of our adventure, “I found the cave.”
“My name is--”
“It's getting late,” I took off my backpack and tucked my arms behind my head to use them as a makeshift pillow. The sky above me had already begun changing to a dark red color. “Let's set up camp.”
The pebbles beneath hadn’t been enough to stir me from my sleep, but the constant tossing and turning of a peaceful night had left the bottom side of me covered with indents and bruises.
“Good morning Madison,”
“Don’t call me that.” Whatever her name was, I didn’t really care. I’ve heard all sorts of labels thrown around like “oracle” and “prophet”, but those meant nothing to me. I chose to call her Madison based solely on the fact that I thought it sounded cool.
“Yeah whatever,” I picked up my backpack and rose to my feet. The cave still lied in the same spot as the previous day, about a ten minute hike from where we stayed the night. It taunted me with the fact that I had yet to accomplish my goal. “Lets go.”
As we walked towards the cave, the dreams of my triumph filled my head. There I was again, standing sword in hand, wind blowing through my hair, abs shining in the sun. I see my woman holding her arm out to me from beyond the pile of bodies I stood over.
When I finally made my way to her she opened her mouth to speak to me.
“We’re here” Madison’s shrill voice again roused me from my day dream. I looked up to see the cave and I could feel my jaw hit the floor. The cave formed a gaping hole in the side of the mountain, with each edge standing a great distance apart.
Overhead, the ceiling to the cave trailed off until it couldn’t be seen above the clouds above. The immense size of the cave wasn’t what astonished me, but the creature that needed such a colossal passageway.
Standing before the cave, we could see its magnitude. From head to tail, its body spanned the length of a city block, and standing upright its height would be equivalent to that of a house’s.
It laid in the center of the cave sleeping as a cat would by tucking its reptilian head behind its spiked tail. Long wings rested on its back, covering its body like a blanket. Red scales covered its body, reflecting any of the limited sunlight that shined into its cave to display a vibrant crimson.
“Go, slay the beast.” Said Madison. I knew the purpose of my adventure had led to this moment. Each step I took, and the fact that my mission had almost come to an end filled me with an incredible sense of relief.
With each step towards the monster, its size further dwarfed my own. As I stood next to it, I turned back to see Madison urge me to fulfill my destiny with a thumbs up.
I unsheathed my sword and held it above my head, ready to drive it down into the giant’s neck, but before I could make the strike I couldn’t help but think about what would happen after I killed it.
In just a few minutes, I would be standing atop this creature. As my hair flowed in the wind and my abs sparkled in the light, I noticed a fair maiden standing at the entrance to the cave. I dropped my sword by my side to go walk to her.
As it clanged to the ground, I realized my mistake. The beast reanimated and immediately shot its eyes open to reflect my helplessness in its pupil. It lifted its massive head to peer down at me like a toddler at an ant.
I fell to the ground and scrambled for my sword, frantic for any source of defense against the terrifying creature before me. Before I could find my weapon, the monster let out a deafening roar. Once its thunderous cry was completed, it lunged straight for Madison.
As it clutched madison, she let out a piercing shriek. The monster unhinged its jaw to devour her whole, while she was helpless to stop it. Only a scrap of black cloth remained as the demon crawled towards the exit.
After the dust settled, I walked towards the exit of the cave to see the beast fly off. It had set its sight on a small village situated below the mountain. Oops.