The Tragic Tale of Cinderella #7 – The Gryndel Rising

As one of you fine people pointed out, I did miss last week’s blog.  Hey, I was sick – cut a man some slack!  No slack to be given?  Okay, I’ll double up this week…

TToC

The rain came down even faster, as if the elements were driving us into the lair of the beast. My time for resting was over; we needed to take shelter before the chills of sickness took over.  The two of us sprinted into the cave, well aware that this could end very poorly.

The howling was replaced with the sounds of maniacal laughter. “My God, is this creature human?”

She nodded her head yes. “It once was, a long time ago.  How it became what it is today is not known to anyone but my grandfather.”  Waving her arm forward, “Come, let us meet our destiny head on.”

Her confidence was a thing of majesty. As much as I wanted to be the hero of this story, I was just a stable boy.  I wasn’t prepared or ready for this.  Yet it would be very poor form to leave my Lord’s daughter by herself.  Against my better thoughts, I followed her deeper into the dark cave.

Combined with the occasional laugh was a breeze that would echo all around us. It felt as if the cave was trying to blow us away, but we were able to hold our ground.  Fighting the elements, the unknown, and my own cowardice, it was very overwhelming.  But the unknown was about to give way.  A light could be seen getting closer.  The end of our journey was here.

A hand stopped me, placed gently on my chest. “My father has taught me to fight.  What ia sk of you is a request from a friend, not a lady to her servant.”

I could make out her outline with the light to her back. “What do you need Miss Ella?”

“The beast will be chained to the cave floor, yet he will have a fair amount of room to roam. If you could ever be so brave, I need you to act as the distraction.”

My lot in life, to be the distraction. “You wish for me to keep the creature’s eyes off of you?”

She covered one of her eyes with her hand. “Just one eye.  My grandfather stabbed its left eye during their confrontation and it is blind to that side.”

Well that was the first piece of good news I’d heard. That was something I might be able to work with.  “If I may be so bold, what is your plan while I keep the Gryndel’s attention?”

“In the rear of the room will be the cache of weapons. Once I get my birthright, I will take the creature down for good.”

A number of questions flooded my mind. “Why did your father and grandfather not kill the beast before?  It seems imprudent to leave such a dangerous thing alive.”

Smiling, “A good question for sure, one that from what I understand the Lady Tremaine can answer shall we ever get a chance to ask.”

I wasn’t surprised by learning that foul woman was involved in this creature’s existence. There seemed to be a lot more to her than even I realized.  “I’ll be sure to do so next time we have tea.”

“A joke, at this time? There is a lot of hope for you John.”  Her eyes stormed over.  “I feel as if we have kept our host waiting long enough.  Are you prepared?”

I needn’t answer her. With a look, I walked off towards the light, knowing my resolve could fade if I didn’t go now.  As confident as I could act, I strutted into the room to say hello to the Gryndel.  Oh how I wish I hadn’t gotten involved in this.

Standing there, the beast was terrifying. Hunched over, he appeared to be half wolf and half human.  One red eye was very large, taking up half his head while the other was roughly sewn shut.  His hands looked evil, each long, bony finger ending in a nail that could rival a longsword in length.  His legs were powerful, grey hair covered every inch of them.

His mouth was sewn too, but just loose enough that it could open up three quarters of the way. A foul smell came from the maw and its voice was smooth, almost snake like.  “I smell her.  Where’s the girl little boy?”

I stood there, paralyzed with fear. My life was over; there was no doubt about that.  This creature would eat me and it’d be over before I knew it.  I didn’t even try to move or answer him.

He laughed again, bloodlust was very much in each deep chuckle. As his legs lowered like a spring, a rock hit me in the back of the head.  The pain snapped me out of my stupor and I rolled out of the way just before the Gryndel impaled me.

I dusted myself off. “I’m sorry for my lack of manners monster, but the girl’s not here.  I can to take your head back to my people as a trophy.”

“You impudent liar! I smell both of them on you, the girl and her wretched father!”  He sniffed the air again, as if needing to verify the scents.  “I thought she killed that bastard!  She promised me he’d suffer!”  The cave shook with his anger.

Knowing my only chance was to stay one step ahead of my attacker, I spotted my next move. “Lady Tremaine’s the liar, not I.  She’s left the countryside, leaving you here to suffer.”

That did it. “Her actions have sealed your fate boy!  Tonight I dine on human flesh once again!”

*Come back next week (for real this time!) as we continue our story with A Terrible Secret…

-Jeremy

Visit the Two Dudes, Brews, & Books webpage at http://ucfgk04.wix.com/twodudesbrewsbooks

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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