I’ve known Gaz online for a while now as we’re both fans of a lot of similar bands. He also does a fine line in beard oils too. He messaged me and asked would I be interested in reading and sharing this. I said I’d love to. So here, in his own words, is Gaz’s tale of The Beast.
The beast snarled and chomped, ranted and raved and howled in the night. It would not be still, its rage would not be quelled. It was hungry for chaos and fed on the despair it created. The beast felt more alive than ever, which surely meant death for me. The beast toyed with me at first; more than anything the beast liked to torment its prey, it never moves in for the kill until it’s made its victims wide-eyed in terror.
I knew the beast was coming; it had been tracking me for weeks now. It lurked in the shadows, moving slowly and undetected during daylight but fast and bold when darkness fell. As much progress as I made navigating the difficult terrain during the day, when I stopped to rest at night the beast made ground. Closer and closer until I could hear it in the near distance and after time I could see it moving in my periphery. I knew the race was lost and I would now have to face the beast, but as always it would be on its terms. The beast would decide when to strike and that made it all the more terrifying.
In the days before the beast made its attack, it would stalk around my camp at night and whisper my darkest doubts and fears to me. It would disturb me when I tried to sleep, taunt me when I needed rest and provoke me when I needed peace. I’d screw my eyes tight and lie very still and hope it didn’t notice I was there, but still it came. So close I could feel its rancid breath on my neck as it would whisper with a low growl; ‘You’ve been abandoned. Your companions have left you; you are all on your own. You’re mine now’, and it would make a sound as much of a soft laugh as a deep growl.
Some nights it would tempt me, in a quieter and softer tone it would murmur; ‘I can help you, give yourself to me, be my slave and I’ll keep you safe from the world. Let me speak for you and you’ll never have to worry, you don’t need anyone else, and it can just be us.’ I knew it was lying, I knew it meant to destroy me, but the toils of the journey had taken their toll and I was ready to take respite of any form. For a while, the beast’s words seemed to give some sort of comfort. After all the days of scrambling through hostile lands, barely sleeping, having no appetite and losing my companions one at a time, I was desperate just to stay still and rest. Maybe the beast was right, I had left so much behind and it seemed I would never reach my destination. In fact I wasn’t even sure where my destination was anymore and I didn’t have the strength to begin backtracking now, to go and try and find my friends and have to explain why I continued without them. I couldn’t go on and I couldn’t go back, I was lost in the wilderness.
I lay still, sensing the movement of the beast close by. It hadn’t spoken for sometime now and for just a moment I wondered if it was retreating, if it was abandoning this relentless pursuit at last I could rest and regroup. I wish this were true, but in the next moment I knew the beast was merely preparing for his attack. Out of the darkness it sprung as if from nowhere. Snarling, bearing its teeth and ferociously screaming obscene tongues. Before I could stand, it was on top of me and pushing me to the ground, it seemed much bigger than when we embarked on this perverse game of cat and mouse. The beast pressed down on my chest until I couldn’t breath and screamed in my face; ‘You’re nothing, you’re worthless, you’re alone and you’re mine.’
I tried to muster the energy to roll it off, to shout back, to defend myself in any feeble way I could manage, but I had not the strength nor resolve for protest. The beast licked the tears streaming down my face and laughed before sinking its long razor sharp teeth into my chest. They sunk in with ease and it began to tear away at my flesh, peeling my skin and muscle away until the beast could see its bounty. The beast reared its black head and howled into the night, I looked down at my chest, its armour long gone, now a carved bloody mess. I moved to stem the bleeding with my hands, but before I could reach the open wound the beast lurched forward tore out my heart in its malevolent jaws. It rose up over me and held my still beating heart before my face before tossing it in the air and swallowing it whole. It then leaned forward and pressed its stomach to my ear, I could hear the rhythmic beat of the disembowelled organ from within the beast’s churning gut. The beast slid over my limp body until it was lay next to me and whispered again in my ear;
‘Now you have nothing, your friends have abandoned you, you are lost and I have your heart. You can live for now, but I’ll always be here, close by, ready to take the next piece and the next and the next until you’re no more.’
And as stealthily as he began his attack he was away into the bleak shadows of the night and I was truly alone. I no longer felt pain but an overwhelming sense of loss and nothing weighed as heavily on me as the hollow cavern where my heart once lay. Would the beast be back soon? What would he take next?And from there on nothing would ever be the same, I would either have to keep running from the beast, or find a way to destroy it. For now though, there was nothing, I was a man with no heart.