The Bludgeon (a short story)

September 19, 2018

He had found it at last. The cave dwelling as promised.  A withered and decaying corpse lie on the ground with the bludgeon in his hand. It was a crude weapon, made of wood and covered from end to end with splintered wood spikes. It was about the length of his arm. The wood splintered out in all directions like a morning star.  On the end with the grip, the wood spikes were shorter, about a fingers length.

 

He ordered his squire to wait outside the cave as he inched nearer. "Yes my Lord", the Squire scurried away with their gear. All around lay treasures of mysterious origin; jewels, chalices, silverware and other loot. But the prize was the bludgeon.  It's power was legendary. He and his squire had traveled into the long woods, and across the drifting divide, beyond the black chasm and upside Talon Mountain. Legend has it, whoever could defeat the wielder or the weapon could in turn wield the weapon himself. The weapon was told to grant the wielder immortality as long as he carried it with him. But here lie the wielder, dead and rotting into the barren earth.  The traveler chuckled at himself in disappointment. "What lies the gossipers tell", he muttered underneath his breath. "I was stupid enough for believing it."

 

He made his way over towards the corpse and the weapon. His footsteps echoed the short cave. Closer he came to the bludgeon. Someone is watching me, he glanced up and around quickly. No one there. He eyed the weapon. It was red, a crusted black blood red. Every inch of the entire spiked wooden weapon was caked with blood. He gazed into it's deep darkness. He had to look away as if breaking eye contact with a superior.  But soon glanced back as it drew him closer.  It whispered, it sings, it hummed, it screams. In his head now it dreams. "Love me", the timber bludgeon beckoned. It's power christened him.

 

He reached out with a lonely finger and touched the top of one of the splinters. It pricked his finger and blood dripped onto the grip. In the moment of mystery he did not care. He attempted to put his hand in between a few of the splinters and rest his palm on an open part of the grip but it was too late. He had already touch it. His hand snapped onto the grip of the bludgeon. Tightly he squeezed. The splinters pierced his callused palms. He screamed as he unwillingly continued to tighten his grip around the splintered handle. The wooden spikes were piercing through flesh and navigating their way in between the bone in his hands. They seemed to burst out the back of his hand with compulsion. He fell to his knees and gripped his wrist with his other hand. The wood was now fusing with his nerves. He shook, and screamed loudly in agony. His head spun, his ears rang. The walls before him turned a red and closed in on him. He tried to ease his grip, but that only made him squeeze tighter. His hand would not let go of the weapon. He now belonged to the bludgeon.

 

His heart beat faster and faster and faster. The blood pulsated through his veins and filled his heart with a rage. He heard whispers. "You're going to die" His skin began to wither, he couldn't see it, but he could feel it. The air was cold, his will was weak. His blood was dripping from the instrument of doom. HIS blood, it was pouring out onto the floor. "You're going to die", the whispers were louder now. He panicked and turned up to see his squire standing over him in shock. "HELP!" he ordered. The squire skirmished over to his Lord and attempted to pull the bludgeon off, but his hand was gashed wide open on the first try.

 

The squire starred unnervingly as his Lords hand began rotting before his eyes. The skin was shrinking and shriveling around the bone. The veins were showing through as black and the effect was trickling its way up his Lord's now grey arm. "CUT IT OFF!", the Lord yelled and eyed his clay-more sword. The squire looked terrified and confused. "CUT MY ARM NOW!".

 

The squire reached for the sword and swiftly ran back to his Lord. Hesitating he looked into the helpless eyes of his Lord. "Do it." The Lord gritted through his teeth, breathing heavily with tears streaming down his face. The squire breathed deeply and raised the sword up high. The beautiful blade glimmered for a moment right before the squire brought the heavy iron down. It cut through his Lord's arm and hit the bone. Thwack! The Knight screamed in pain.  The Squire brought the sword up high again.

 

His Lord looked up at him. This time the Lord was different. A red blanketed his eyes, the whites were gone. His pupils were gone, and he had no expression on his face but disgust. The squire hesitated. The knight up swung the bludgeon as he rose to his feet and struck the squire square across the head. There was a crack and a squish, then a clank of the the iron hitting rock. The squire was flung to the ground. The Lord towered over him; full black leather armor a cloak against the darkness of the cave. Long black hair stranded down his face. He stared unwavering at the squire. Blood trickled down the squires face, bleeding into his eyes, blinding him into darkness before his Lord began bludgeoning him to death. The Lord swung again, this time down as if he were hammering a nail. And again, and then again. Each time blood and organs flung into the air and rained onto the walls and floor.

 

It was done. A sigh of relief cascaded over the Lord. The blood of the squire now covered the bludgeon and trickled down into his own open hand wounds. The gash on his arm healed. The red in his eyes faded. The coldness drifted and a warmness filled his heart. He felt good. He tread over the scattered remains of the squire and then outside the cave and onto the overlook, he peered over the valley. It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. The greens were the most green. The blues were the deepest blues. The smells, the sounds, all amplified. The birds chirping and flowers blooming. His eyes glazed, his heart blazed. His hand steadily gripped tightly onto the bludgeon. His own hand was no longer bleeding.

 

He ate something. He drank his mead and filled his belly and lay down for a rest. It was the most tasteful mead and the most fulfilling ration. The most peaceful rest. He dreamed the most elegant dreams. He dreamed dreams of easy women and riches.

 

He awoke early in the morning, well rested and energized. He deeply breathed the mountain air and smiled. It was true. It was all true. He felt immortal, he felt unstoppable, infinitely powerful and immeasurably peaceful.

 

It was not long before there was a small tingle in his hand, and then later on while clogging down the mountain slope, a chill ran up his forearm. He looked at his wrist. There was a small grey spot and his hand which was now bleeding more rapidly than before. Glancing down the mountain he saw a traveling and guarded merchant. His hand began to bleed as he tightened his grip.

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He had found it at last. The cave dwelling as promised.  A withered and decaying corpse lie on the ground with the bludgeon in his hand. It was a crud...

The Bludgeon (a short story)

September 19, 2018

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