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FABLE OF THE FEROCIOUS BEAST

 

FABLE OF THE FEROCIOUS BEAST
 
 
Hello! I will be your narrator for this tale. In this case I will be fulfilling this role in the omniscient sense – meaning, of course, that as we go along I have the advantage of knowing the details behind the scenes. I know the history of the characters and their thoughts and feelings. As I open the little cubby door and we look through the glass let me tell you that this a simple story of two main characters: a young man and a wild ferocious beast. There may be a few odd folks along the way but they are mere shadows in the background scenery. They are of no consequence to the drama at hand.
So, we pull back the shades and open the cubby door. As we peer through the glass we see a dim forest and some movement in the trees. We are being drawn into the woods towards the movement and the shape of a young man takes form. He is running frantically through the woods land and as we invisibly follow him we begin to see more clearly the young man’s features.
Look at him as he races through the trees. He is swift and agile as he leaps over logs and darts around trees and boulders. This is the running of a seasoned athlete. He is a man who has spent hour upon hour at this running and is an expert at it. There is not an ounce of fat on him and his muscles are not huge but they are well defined. The bare scraps of clothing that remain on him can not conceal the wounds and scars of former wounds. His face makes him appear older than he actually is. He bares the marks in body and face of one who has spent too much time running and not enough eating or resting. The expression on his face is that of shear terror.
He takes a quick glance backwards without slowing his pace in the slightest degree. As we turn and look in the same direction we catch a glimpse of the object of his gaze and horror. Far back in the woods behind him we can see the shaking of leaves and the crashing of bushes and trees. It is too far away to get a clear look at the creature but from the damage it is doing it is definitely no small beast.
The man makes a sharp turn to the left and then swiftly down a hill into some thick bushes. As we fight our way through the thick bush to follow him we see the entrance of a small cave and the young man crouching in its opening. He kneels there quiet and still keenly staring at the bush. The minutes seem to drag on forever as he stares out intensely into the woods. His keen eyes see every leaf and twig and his ears are tuned to the sounds traveling on the wind. Finally, a slowly growing rumble in the distance and then the shaking of the ground like a small earthquake breaks the silent stillness. The young man sits motionless as a statue while the rumbling and shaking grow in intensity. It grows until we feel like we will at the next moment be crushed and under the thundering claws of the beast and from that climax it slowly dies to silent stillness once again. He leans back and collapses against the wall of the cave and in an instant he is fast asleep out of pure exhaustion.
This is not a one time episode in an otherwise tranquil life. This is, and has been, his life for as long back as he can remember. As he sleeps part of him is still alert. He knows that this is not an escape but only a temporary reprieve. He has all but given up on escaping the beast. He knows it is only a matter of time before his trail is picked up again and he will have to be ready to bolt at the first sign of it’s approach. So, for now he rests as best as he can for as long as he can.
The hope that is almost gone in his waking hours endures in the timeless land of dreams. His mind imagines a peaceful life in a simple cottage. There is a beautiful young woman by his side in contrast to this lonely life on the run. As we watch him sleep and dream we see his body relax ever so slightly and his face loses a little bit of its age and the hint of a peaceful smile appears on his face. If it were not for these occasional short breaks he would have expired of exhaustion and frustration long ago. Sometimes his dreams take that form. He dreams of death as a final escape from this nightmare he lives in. He dreams of simply giving up and giving in, but hope will not (at least at this time) let him surrender. The small flame of hope burns within regardless of his efforts to extinguish it. Sometimes he feels like hope is his greatest curse and torture. If he could just give up and give in maybe then he could find peace at last.
There were times in his younger days that he had thought he had finally gave the beast the slip. He had found refuge in the homes of dear kind souls along the way. Each time, however, the beast would find his new home and would encamp around the building waiting for his prey. His new found friends would fear for the safety of their families and tension would grow in the once peaceful home. He was not willing to put their lives at risk for the sake of his cursed lot in life. He accepted his fate. He knew the lonely life of living like a fugitive was his lot in this world and decided not to put any other life at risk. And so during sleep his mind travels to a land of dreams and when awake his mind focuses on running away and asks himself questions regarding why.
So, there he is laying on the cave floor sound asleep. It seems like he is oblivious to the world around him. No doubt he collapsed from sheer exhaustion and will be out for a long, long time. At least that’s the way it appears. We watch him for some time and the suddenly he stirs. He is up on his feet and bolting out of the cave within seconds for no apparent reason. His keen ear has sensed the coming of the beast from far away – it is several minutes later that we vaguely hear him off in the distance. Again he is running at full tilt through the forest in the same way he has for years. If it wasn’t for the fear and desperation he would be consumed with boredom.
In order not to bore you, dear reader, I will skip ahead to a more interesting event. After several seasons of running and catching rest whenever he can get a chance something happens. He runs in an unfamiliar territory and falls down a steep ravine. Lying at the bottom of the hill, dazed and sore, he tries to get his wits about him and assess his situation. He is sore, but he is not dying or severely injured. He has no time to stop and lick his wounds and so he slowly pulls himself up and prepares to start running. He grabs a tree for support and pushes himself to his feet… and he falls. He finds a walking stick and slowly limps forward into a clearing.
As he hobbles slowly into the open field he hears that familiar sound in the distance behind him. He stops and turns to await his fate. The sound grows louder and louder and the ground begins to shake. After all these years of fear and running away, the approaching beast is almost a welcome relief. He sees the form of the beast coming to the edge of the woods and grows bigger and bigger. He sees it take shape and become more defined but he can not bare to look upon it. He shuts his eyes tightly and waits for the end.
He hears and feels its breath and knows it is right before him. It is standing staring at him – he can feel it. He does not dare open his eyes. It seems like eternity that the beast stands silent and motionless. Then, suddenly, he hears it move and prepares for the final blow. The beast lunges forward and… embraces him! He stands there stiff and in shock. He wonders if this is some cruel trip until he hears the beast weeping. The beast is hugging him and weeping. He slowly opens his eyes. The beast is big but it is not ferocious. It is not a beast at all. All these years he has been running from…. a friend!
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