Devil's Dance by Shandria Katz

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SUMMARY: This story is based on a song i created on day outside of work while waiting for the double decker bus. The song seemed to be very much appreciated by the SCA folk at Clinton BC. Well a few years later my writing group project was to write a story based o

I looked up to the clear star field above this bleak place. It was cold and unforgiving. The outcrop of rock the villagers called Devil's Hill, had little to shelter any wanderer. There was a small alcove of rock where the campfire could be sheltered from the winds but little space for anything more.

Stars glittered above like diamonds on dark black satin. The memories that stirred within me, I cut off before they could overwhelm me. I needed my mind on the task to come that is if there really was a demon here.

Pulling my wool cloak about me, I waited with a patience I did not know I possessed. Beside me was the rosewood case that held the flute and lamb wool cover for drum the witch enchanted. I felt so bear without my armour that guarded my life through his majesty's war campaigns. Naked without my shield with the king's dragon or my love's sword...

"Curse this place!" My words were whipped back to me by the wind.

I waited for a fortnight and not single creature came to this unholy rock.

"It already is, foolish boy!" a voice gloated behind me dripping with hunger.

I turned about to see the voice. A creature clung to the rock ledge above the fire; its ominous orange eyes glittered with evil intent. Cresting the ledge and displaying the hideous creature in his full glory, was the second full moon of this month. The moon was pale as milk and as bright as bone, wreathed by a ring of ghostly red. ‘Bad omen', my thoughts murmured the old superstitions of my kin.

The creature hopped down and danced his way to me. His grotesque frame was so abhorrent, his slimy like skin glistened in the eerie light. I forced myself to stand still and hold back my churning stomach. My eyes ached at the sight of him.

It looked at me, his face inches from my own. "Why do you seek me, boy? Fortune? Fame? Or maybe the powers of a god?"

"I seek no fortunes and I seek no fame and I seek no power from above or below. What I seek is revenge, demon. Revenge for my slain kin and for my dear love that I see dying in my arms each night. And I have been told you can grant such a wish. I want to see my love's killer dead before me with no harm done on me. I want all that is his to become my own, to replace the loss I have suffered by his hands."

Oh did the creature chuckle. Then he laughed and he screeched in delight, dancing all about the top of this crag. "You would challenge me?" he chortled and contorted himself with his glee. He sprang back to me so suddenly with his nose mere inches from mine.

"So be it! I will grant your wishes, all three that you have stated but there is a price. I see instruments in your keeping so you must be a bard or have some skill. Therefore you must make me weep this night three times before the rising of the sun. Be it from music or stories, three tears must fall from my black hearted frame. Otherwise your soul is forfeit to my design. Agreed?"

This moment was clear to me. To have my true love's killer dead before me, to avenge my kin, and to finally rest my weary travelling and end these days.

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