10 Points..

by Eric Zimmerman © 2002

The creature walks up to the line that marks the end of the cool brown of mother earth, and the start of the black, ruined land ahead. The sun, high in the spring sky shines down, casting eerie shadows across the ground. The creature, looking off across the ruins ahead, can see the faint glimmer of green, through the waves of heat rising up off the blackened earth. The glimmer is rumored to be a paradise, where food is plentiful, and life is grand. It is this glimmer that has led so many of his kind to their deaths, trying to cross this dammed, cursed stretch of land.

It is said that a great, fire breathing Beast prowls the black, ruined earth between here and paradise, just waiting for any creature to attempt to make passage. It is said that the Beast can freeze one with its looks and can deafen with its roar. The Beast is said to be so huge, that it cannot be seen with one look.

The creature looks back and spots the other’s, happy with their mediocre life, and there meager nourishment. But he is not happy, and he is hungry, hungry for something new, and different.

The creatures gaze turns back across the waste and he thinks about the huge variety of food that is rumored to be over there, this makes his stomach grumble with hunger. He has one last thought about going back, and joining the others, but it is fleeting, and quickly gone.

He takes his first ginger step out onto the ruined land, feeling it’s rough texture underfoot, feeling the heat radiate from its surface. He takes another tentative step, his heart racing. He stops and takes a quick look to either side, expecting the monster to already be there. But the coast is all clear

He takes another step, and starts to feel more confident, as the green off on the horizon starts to grow larger in his vision. The thought of all the food, clouding his mind, and making his already racing heart, beat just a little bit faster.

He takes another step, then another, when a sudden sound from behind, makes his heart stop, and his rumbling stomach drop. He turns slowly, ready to face his impending doom, but there is nothing there? He continues searching for the Beast, but it is nowhere to be seen. He is now facing back the way he has come when he notices that some of the others are lined up at the edge of the wasteland, and they are calling to him, trying to get his attention. The realization slowly sinks in that he has been hearing them calling to him all along, not the sound of the stalking Beast.

With his heart once again pumping life back through his veins, and his stomach back in its place, he turns to continue the journey, taking yet another step, or two.

The relief he feels is short lived, as his eyes scan down to a dark, odd shaped spot on the blackened ground ahead. His blood is suddenly turned to ice, as he realizes what it is he is looking at. It is what is left of the last creature to attempt to cross the wasteland. This is the point where the Beast came out of its lair to destroy someone, probably not unlike himself. With one more step, he will have gone farther then any before him.

He takes that step, albeit very tentatively, as thoughts of going back runs through his head. He actually starts to turn, when his stomach lets forth a grumble of hunger, unlike any he has ever felt. It takes away the thought of turning, and brings back the thoughts of the plentiful bounty that lay just ahead, and he takes another step forward.

With the next step he takes, he can start to make out the lush greens and dark browns of the paradise ahead. He starts to take another step, but suddenly stops. He can feel a rumbling in the ground below his feet. It is barely noticeable, but it is growing. As the rumbling grows so does a sound. At first it is like far off thunder, but its gaining strength the whole time he is standing there.

The creature turns towards the building sound, and catches his first glimpse of it. It’s a huge monstrous hulk of a Beast, and it is bearing down on him. Its round, silver eyes reflecting the sunshine in odd ways. Its roar growing so powerful, it’s becoming deafening. The creature tries to run, but his legs do not want to cooperate, they are frozen, either by the Beast’s stares, or by the fear, which permeates his entire being.

With the beast just about upon him, the creature gives up it’s attempt to get his legs to move, knowing that even if they did as he commanded, he would not be able to make it to freedom anyways. So he just stands there, waiting for the death that he knows is coming. The creature takes one last glance back at paradise, he sees there the harvest of foods that were awaiting him, and for a split second he forgets about the Beast, as hunger takes over his body again.

In that split second, the beast lets forth one last roar, emanating from deep inside its bowels, and strikes it’s deadly blow…

Bo, riding shotgun in his dad’s primer gray, 1968 Chevy pick up, the rebel flag displayed proudly in the rear window, turns down the ramblings of Hank Williams just a smidge, looks over at his dad and says;

“Hey Pa look’ it there. There’s a chicken in the middle of the road.”

“That’s right Bo, and what do I always say about chickens in the road?” His dad replies, with a big toothless grin on his dirt smudged face.

“There worth 10 points Pa.”

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