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February 4, 2005
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Tall tales

Nektarios “mistseeker” Chrissos, based on an idea by Ig Guara Teles Barros.
Greece, 4/2/2005.


It was a bright night, the fullmoon shining defiantly in the sky, its pale light reflected on the snow-capped roofs, trees, and dark roads of the small village of Hirrburg, when the hunt began.

The village’s bravest men had managed to persuade the rest -using threats, or omens of ill fortune for the village, or insults of cowardice- into finally deciding to take action against the Demon.

So, using whatever kind of weapon each could find, blunt swords and knives, rakes, pickaxes and spades, as well as torches of purifying, orange flame, the village’s men set out to vanquish evil, at least in the form that had been terrifying them for the past few months.

Organized in teams, they flooded each and every road and alley of the village, entered each and every house their wives had opened to them to be searched. They were calling out the name of the Lord as they stormed the houses, cursing at the same time against Satan and his minions. Their prey had been the hunter for some time now, killing their beasts, destroying their traps, terrorizing their lives. Yet they would have never decided to act against it, preferring to pray in the village’s small church for God’s wrath to fall on the hated creature, hadn’t it committed its most recent crime of slaughter.

Two women and their three children had been found torn in pieces two nights ago, their blood spilled on the thick carpet of snow –every winter’s gift to Hirrburg- that had covered everything, at a small street near their house. People that had heard their screams of futile agony took sneak peeks through the jalusies of their windows, only to see a horrible beast that could stand on its rear legs, clawing the poor women with its front ones as they -cornered, their children hiding in their lap- were begging for mercy. Their end was swift- no more than two or three quick clawings each, and their cries had soon ceased; fear had filled the hearts of the witnesses to those deaths.

"The Demon has grown bold," the local priest exclaimed at the Church’s mass the next day, just after the funeral. "Evil has invaded this peaceful community."

Angry men had raised their fists high then, swearing to be the Lord’s vessels of revenge against the beast and had immediately started to recruit others to their cause. And thus the events had evolved to become a relentless witch- or demon- hunt that carried on for the whole of the next night.

That night was almost at an end, twilight giving its place to an eerie, white dawn, when snow became red again, near the outskirts of the village, as a villager dropped dead, screaming, his entrails falling out of his open gut. Red eyes looked at the gory sight, eyes that belonged to the hunted beast, and those eyes saw fear and horror spread with speed amongst the spectators of the attack.

Looking at the sky as if the moon itself was giving strength to it, the beast roared in triumph, then naked its wolflike teeth at the assembled villagers. The terrified peasants fled in all directions as the beast laughed loud satanically, its hulking outline standing out amidst the snowy landscape of houses and trees like a patch of black color against a white wall; its body hair was similar to a wolf’s, as were its head and facial characteristics. The body was human though, or at least humanoid in appearance, muscular like a young man’s and over ten feet tall.

The werewolf roared once more, ready to attack the villagers that were rushing to the site of the carnage eagerly- but then decided to turn back. Thus he leaped on a rough wall which he climbed. He easily avoided a torch and a rake that were thrown at him and started running on the rooftops, snarling, easily avoiding more projectiles, leaving the furious but confused villagers behind with every step and leap.

Finally, leaving the last rooftop behind him, the wolf-like human jumped one last time and landed on the snow with a roll. He looked back with wild joy and howled to the moon before rushing to the woods running on all fours; the morning’s thickly falling snow had soon covered his tracks.

A single figure however, crouched on a rooftop of a house hidden between higher ones, observed the beast that was running away and jumped too, landing on the snow with grace. Then it ran to the woods after the demon, smelling the cold air for guidance. So the first villagers that arrived at the village’s end, panting, saw not one, but two beasts entering the woods.

**
The hunted beast looked at the village in the distance cautiously, trying to see if a villager was daring enough to leave the village’s relative safety and enter the woods to give chase. Some distant lights could barely be seen at the village borders but they were unmoving and soon dispersed, fading in the distance.

The werewolf eased for some moments and started to walk deeper in the woods. Then he smelled something and stopped again. He looked nervously around him, preparing for a fight.

Some trees shook, snow falling off them, as another werewolf ran between them and attacked him, throwing him on a tree with force.

The two beasts entangled themselves in a game of strength, each one trying to overpower the other.

< You should never have committed those crimes, Heinrich,> the attacker growled in a language that was both human and beast-like.

< You are a fool, Ditter! You all are!> the hunted werewolf answered, his breath becoming more agonized, as he threw his attacker away and stood steadily on his feet.

< This is a blessing that you have, not a force to please yourself with acts of senseless violence!> the attacker said in return, preparing to charge again.

< Says who?>

< Says the Code of Science we all swore to when we became aware of this gift that we had created and bestowed ourselves, Heirnich! Have you truly forgotten? >

< I swore nothing! I helped create this effect, and it was because of me that it succeeded!>

< We all worked hard to transform old alchemistic speculations into a scientific reality! You should be ashamed for your ethics!>

< Do I seem ashamed, damn you? Damn you all! None should ever be ashamed of his mind, or his achievements! >

Heinrich howled in scorn and attacked his attacker, who took an attacking leap as well.

The two beasts crashed in midair and fell on the ground. Both immediately stood on their feet, shaking the snow off their hides and prepared to attack or be attacked anew.

< This will lead nowhere, Heinrich! We are scientists, not murderers!> Ditter said, panting.

< We are superior to those animals there,> Heinrich answered, pointing his hand towards the distant village. <They don’t deserve to live, except as slaves or servants to us! Or game, perhaps, whenever our new instincts urge us to be the hunters!>

< You are not God to put judgment upon the lives of others!>
< Am I not God? I perfected his designs, and look at me now, look at us! Just by drinking the potion we made, we become strong, powerful, and intelligent, combing the strengths of beasts and men, eliminating their weaknesses! So yes, I am God! We all are, Gods and Priests of the religion that should be above all others, science!>

< You have really become a lunatic, a mad man, Heinrich!>

< Better mad than weak-witted!>

Claws slashed the air, tearing flesh in their path, and white became red as blood colored the snow around the combatants.

Heinrich retreated, shaken, blood oozing from wounds that should have healed immediately, but instead remained open.

< Wha-what have you done?>

< I really believed in you once, Heinrich Miller, both as a man and as a scientist!>

<Why do the wounds not close?>

<You have been treated the antidote to your “magic” potion!>

< B-but how?>

Ditter showed his claws- They were blooded, but they gleamed underneath the layer of blood- gleamed of silver.

< Traitor!>

< No, Heinrich Miller! You are the traitor. A traitor to humanity and a traitor to science!>

< And what are you, a God, to judge me and take my life away?>

< I’m not here to judge you or kill you. Others will do both soon enough! >

< What do you mean? What have you done?>

< You are weak and vulnerable now, just as your victims were, two days ago! No, I didn’t judge or kill you; I just showed you what you really are!>

Heinrich Miller fell to his knees, his blood spraying the ground and trees around him. He tried to stand up again, but his legs betrayed him; numbness spread on his body.

The other werewolf, Ditter Schnebels, looked at his defeated foe with pity and turned away. < The Knights of Science will miss you, Heinrich,> he said. < You were one of the best scientists of this dark age of religion and ignorance. But this experiment ends here, and now. No man should be as powerful. Your research will be lost, ashes amidst the burning remains of your laboratory. And no man shall be wolf again. For if a bright scientist succumbs to his animal instincts, unable to preserve his humanity, then God save us if this potion falls to the hands of malevolent men! >

Looking one last time behind him, Ditter, Knight of Science, gave a last hail to his former fellow scientist. < A great loss for science. Pity,> he added, and left the woods.

< Damn you! Damn you all! To hell with you! > he heard Heinrich’s curses in the distance, as he walked out of the woods. And he was sad.

***

There is a local legend at the village of Hirrburg that lives by word of mouth to this day: It tells of a God’s angel taking the form of a demon to fight and defeat another demon that had been sent to inspire fear to the hearts of the village folk of the time. And it tells of the village’s bravest men, alerted by a passing traveler -a spectator to that fight-, entering the forest nearby, finishing off the evil beast that had been struck there by the Lord’s furious anger.

An article appearing in various sites on the internet recently wrote: “Many historians of folklore, archaeologists, as well as independent searchers have taken interest to the story of Das Monstrum von Hirrburg, visiting a village in Northern Germany to see the grave of a so-called Demon who, according to the aforementioned local tale, terrorized that village -called Hirrburg- during the Victorian Age. The grave lies in a vault under a very old local church and would have been hidden forever, hadn’t parts of that church collapsed during the building of a commercial center nearby. Even scientists, biologists of an independent organization calling themselves “Knights of Science” recently gained a permit to conduct a scientific search in the grave. They searched for organic evidence to the mysterious beast’s supposed existence, but the only thing they’ve found to date, in cooperation with excavation teams, are the remains of a human body viciously slain, as the excavations coordinator reported. In all probability, the researchers say, this is just another “actual event” of the past proving to be just a tall tale that transcended from generation to generation, becoming even taller with the passage of time.”

E N D
This is a short story I wrote after an idea of my good friend, Ig Guara Teles Barros, aka *igbarros , a fantastic penciler that is also a good internet friend. It is a gift -and a dedication- to him. Perhaps you all get to see more of our collaborations in the near future, as we are currently working on some projects (mine and Ig's) together.

There is a first in this story, for me at least: This is the first prose I write directly in English (except the plotting draft, of course).

The thumbnail of this deviation is made by Ig especially for the story.

It is small and I tried to make it an easy read- nothing spectacular. Just simple horror-occult fiction.

Hope you enjoy.

N.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconbraakdown:
Awesome picture!

No, just kidding. It is a good picture, but the story's where it's at. Very nice tale. I like the balance of science and religion and the chronological jump from past to future at the end. That dialogue piece in the middle where the two werewolves fight could have been enhanced a bit by some more description and imagery. Instead of them talking, then fighting, then talking again, could they perhaps talk and fight at the same time. I like the philosophy of the conversation, but felt it slowed down the action too much. Anyway, nice piece.
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:iconmistseeker:
mistseeker Feb 6, 2005  Professional Writer
Hey, Braak! Thanks for critiquing (and reading the story in the first place). Your critique is well placed, I will have it in mind for a possible edit. Be well.

N.
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:iconextraterrestrial:
great story i really injoyd it!
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:iconhudson-248:
The picture attracted me, but the story was suberb, it was really well written and had a good flow to it.
Reply
:iconmistseeker:
mistseeker Feb 4, 2005  Professional Writer
:) Thanks for taking the time to read the story, glad you liked it.

N.
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:iconlotusii:
Beautiful story, I loved it! I haven't seen many good werewolf stories posted on dA, but this is definitely one of the best. Kudos to you for keeping your roots in the deeper mythology of small towns as well as the larger legends spread in the internet.
Reply
:iconmistseeker:
mistseeker Feb 4, 2005  Professional Writer
Hey, thanks! It was good time sobody actually READ the story, instead of commenting on the thumbnail!

Be well- Thank you for reading and for the +fav.

N.
Reply
:iconlotusii:
Do you mind if I post this story on my blog? (I sounds like such a geek!) I made a blog for mythology and I thought it would be recieved very well. You still get the credit for it, I just post stories there.
Reply
:iconmistseeker:
mistseeker Feb 4, 2005  Professional Writer
I will be honored :) And while I am at it, let me make you an internet friend of mine ;)

:+devwatch:

N.
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:iconkenu:
Kenu Feb 4, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
Wow drawing skills... fabulous.
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