An Unlikely Executioner

The beast’s body was in the light, but its head immersed in shadow. It was the body of a man, and would have been a fine body- fit and muscular- were it not for its various grotesqueries. The skin was so taught and thin over the muscles that one could see the individual striations. There were sharp sinewy transitions rather than the graceful matching that normally brought flesh to bone. Bones, such as knuckles, elbows, and knees, were knobby and oversized. There were ever so slight kinks on one of his arms and one of his legs of the kind that might occur if a broken bone were not set properly.

What was not seen, what remained in the dark, was the monster’s gruesome visage. He had a lumpy aquiline beak, patchy hair, and a ruddy pitted complexion. The eyes did not match. By what combination of abuse and nature he had come to be such a monster, no one knew.  

The young lady before him was in all ways his opposite. Her hair was luxuriant brunette, and was tied into a graceful swoosh of ponytail. Her complexion was smooth cocoa. She had the aesthetic gravity to pull all eyes toward her. Her body showed perfection of proportion, and was at once athletic and feminine.

She stepped forward and the creature came into view in its entirety. She looked into its startling eyes – one seemed dead and milky and the other was sharp and penetrating. The beast’s sinewy physique strained to break free of its chains. Its eye – the one good eye – showed that its fear of her was greater than hers of it.

She reflected on the moment. It was not a matter of savoring it, nor of abhorring the task before her. Rather, it was a fine and intimate appreciation of the situation. She looked from the creature to the dagger in her hand. It was more like a spear point than a dagger, or, perhaps more descriptively, like two pointy dagger blades merged perpendicularly such that their cross-section was an “X”- like a Philips head screwdriver magnified to gargantuan proportions and drawn to a finer point.  The pommel was an ornate sphere. With one hand firmly gripping the handle perpendicular to it, and the other wrapped around the sphere, she slammed the tip into the monster’s chest with all her might. The beast tried to twist and evade, but was stayed in place by the chains. When she retracted the dagger, a perfect “X” marked the spot of the once beating heart. Rivulets of blood rolled over the topography of his abdominal muscles. The monster slumped against its restraints.

He, it, was the last of its kind. She mourned it in a way.

About B Gourley

Bernie Gourley is a writer living in Bangalore, India. His poetry collection, Poems of the Introverted Yogi is now available on Amazon. He teaches yoga, with a specialization in pranayama, and holds a RYT500 certification. For most of his adult life, he practiced martial arts, including: Kobudo, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, and Taiji. He is a world traveler, having visited more than 40 countries around the globe.
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