Monday, July 28, 2014

Prompt: “When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” ― Kristin Cashore, Graceling

Groolig sat on the riverbank with his feet in the water and his head in his hands. His curves claws tapped the tufted tips of his long ears, as he replayed the scene over and over in his head.

“Carve the skin, my pet,” Mistress crooned, fingertip tracing a hidden rune on his back. Groolig was her favorite instrument, and he’d never hesitated to do her bidding. She could as easily pick up a blade and use it on him as he could use his claws on bare skin. She had done so throughout his youth, carving the runes that covered his own flesh, now hidden by mottled, tangled fur. How many others had he sliced and torn open before their blood washed away his own, stained against his skin and fur and claws?

But Groolig didn’t want to hurt this one. He reached past her arms, suspended on the chains rattling above them, touching a claw to her cheek, where a single tear quivered. It splashed over his claw, and he remembered.

“Groolig! Catch me!” The girl cried as she leaped from the tree limb above, barely giving him time to reach up before she fell into his arms, laughing. He curled her slight body up to his chest, burying his face against her belly and blowing raspberries through her threadbare tunic. She giggled and wrapped her arms around him in a fierce hug. “You’re my best friend, Groolig. You’re not a monster! You’re not!”

“Don’t bore me, pet,” Mistress warned in a deep growl.

Groolig didn’t move the claw against the girl’s cheek. He didn’t turn his head in warning. He simply swung out behind him with his other long arm, claws outstretched, with unerring accuracy, and tore out Mistress’ throat. He never looked back as he swiped through the metal links of the chains and curled the falling girl into his arms once more. If Mistress lived, she would kill them both. But the sounds behind him told a different tale.

He carried the girl out of Mistress’ hold and into the deep forest where they once played. When he reached the river, he walked into the middle and upstream, pushing against the current without slowing his pace for hours. The girl remained still in his arms. Before the light faded, he found the hut they once built of fallen tree limbs and fresh rushes, long since dried into thatch. He lay the girl down on the thatch floor and went out to find fresh rushes to cover her while she slept.

Finally admitting he was tired, he sat on the riverbank, next to the hut, and cooled his torn feet in the rushing water. He’d spent most of his life in the stone confines of Mistress’ hold, except for rare adventure with the girl. Now Mistress was dead, and he had to take care of the girl. He didn’t know what to do. Burying his head in his hands, Groolig tried to think what she would need…

To be continued?

Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle

Music Playing
iTunes walking playlist

Time writing
~30 minutes

July word count

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