The beast was getting bolder. No longer satisfied to strike under the shadow of night, he had begun attacking at will. Another daytime raid ended the lives of an entire family of seven, helpless to defend against his brutal might…they were all gone.
It was standing room only in the council hall. Voices were raised in anger and fear. The village couldn’t simply wait to be completely destroyed. Something had to be done, action must be taken to stop the monster.
The council chairman called for order, his gavel thundering over the shouts of the towns people. A subdued rumble continued, as the general of the army stood to address the crowd. He spoke of feeble security measures. Cautioning residents to stay indoors whenever possible, to travel in groups for safety, and to report any sighting of the beast to the nearest defense captain.
His speech was drowned out by an angry roar of disbelief. Calls for his resignation came from all sides. Demands for military force were made. Where were his men when these attacks took the lives of innocents? Counter measures were needed, this monster had to be stopped once and for all.
One lone figured walked slowly to the front of the gathering. Taking a position at the council podium, he stood quietly, his right hand raised until reluctant stillness blanketed the hall. Young and small of stature, his presence was regarded with skepticism and hesitance.
In a soft voice, he outlined a simple idea for dispatching the beast. All that as needed was a small group to join him in implementing his plan. If successfully carried out, the monster would no longer be a threat to the town. The proposal was solid and well-constructed. Though it carried a high risk to life, it was a straightforward strategy.
Cheers rang through the hall. The general clapped the would-be hero on the shoulder, and the chairman hardily shook his hand. Turning to the exuberant crowd, the general called for volunteers. Asking the strongest and bravest to step forward.
The shouting stilled, and the hall silently began to empty. Soon all who remained were the general, the council chairman and the lone figure.
The general claimed he couldn’t join in the plan, he was needed in the village. Without him the town would be lost in fear.
The chairman begged out saying he was needed to keep calm after the killing raids.
The would-be hero left the hall dejected, but determined. Gathering what he needed for his plan, he headed toward the beast’s lair.
His slight body and natural stealth worked in his favor. Silently he entered the den, and found the monster sleeping. Working quickly, he tiptoed around the giant, climbing slowly over its massive body to tie a large silver bell around his neck.
Once secured, he quietly made his way toward freedom, almost escaping before the beast awoke and found the intruder. Though dispatching the village hero with one swipe of his taloned paw, the beast could not remove the bell, his every step, every move, setting off an alarm. The sound, filtering down into the village valley announced the hero’s plan had worked. When he didn’t return, they knew he had made the ultimate sacrifice.
The beast fled, his reign of terror ended and the village safe again, the villagers gathered to honor their hero. Shame and regret haunted the residents for not stepping up and aiding their hero in his quest.
A monument was raised in the town square in his memory, a reminder to all of his service and bravery. Engraved in the stone these words:
“The strongest man upon Earth is he who stands most alone.”
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Leo challenged me with “The strongest man upon Earth is he who stands most alone.” – Henrik Ibsen. Work your post around this quote. and I challenged Chaos Mandy with “You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far. – James Baskett”