The Monster hurled his naked bulk down the hallway, his breath coming in ragged bursts and his lungs strained under the effort of providing oxygen to his heart while also supporting the wail coming from his mouth. He turned left, and finding his way blocked by a heavy door, he harnessed his rage and dug in.
He would not give in. He would not be subjected to the whims of the Paladin and the Bard again. His yowls of angst became silenced, and his ears strained... their footfalls would betray them, and he would use this to his benefit. Escape was obtainable, if he only allowed himself to be patient.
The groan of wood told the Monster that his would-be captors drew close, and soon his eyes could see their shadows creeping down the corridor; they were nearly at the bend. He tensed, his muscles contracting for the desperate leap he was about to make.
Almost... almost... and the shadows drew closer... almost... NOW! he burst forth, his legs pumping wildly as he darted to the left, avoiding a lunging hand. He was free then - around the bend he raced, skidding on the polished wood and skipping down the stairs two steps at a time. If he could just reach the outer doors of the castle, he would have total liberty!
The Paladin was much quicker, although not nearly as nimble as the Monster, and to his distress, the Bard was soon passing the Paladin! He might be able to escape the man, but the woman was enchanted with a sort of magic that increased her natural abilities in combat. No sooner had the Monster's foot touched the landing when the Bard's arms reached out from behind him. He dodged her at the last possible moment, and once again he was in flight.
And so they raced - 'round tables and chairs, through rooms and halls, past heavy tapestries and mullioned windows - the Monster in lead, until they came upon the grand hall. The Monster knew he could avoid them in this large space, and the outer door was in his line of sight. The Paladin was nearly breathless, but the Bard had kept her wits, and seemed to understand that the Monster's sole goal was that exit.
She raced past him then, blocking the door by throwing her arms and legs wide. "Not this time!" she cried! "Not this time!"
The Monster threw all his efforts into stopping his progress, but the high gloss of the floor would not allow for traction. He skidded and began to fall, and the Bard's arms closed around him.
"Noooooooooo!" the Monster bellowed, every fiber of his being dreading what would happen next. "No, No!"
The Paladin reached them then, and took the Monster from the Bard's grasp. "Shall we?" he asked, his face flushed from the chase.
The Bard considered, and then nodded. "Yes. The game has ended!" The Monster swooned, and his body went limp (his favorite trick), but they held no empathy for him.
Five minutes later, the Monster sat, sulking, in a tub of hot water, as the Bard gently rubbed his face and neck. The Paladin, holding a fluffy towel, grinned at him. The magic took effect as the dirt and jam stains disappeared from his face. Soon the Monster was gone, leaving behind a little Boy.
Bath time was over. Mom and Dad were exhausted!
©The Bemused Muse, 2006