On a roll today, here is a short story that I actually finished! Of course the only reason it was finished I'm sure, is that it was graded. I wrote this for an advanced english and composition class that I took in high school.
Repentance of Solitude
The giant beast lay unusually still, it’s eyes shut tight to the outside world. Normally when it slept, the ancient wyrm shifted periodically, and it’s torso bobbed with deep, rhythmic breaths. Now though, it’s reptilian form merely lay there, making no profound movements, just breathing, barely. Its chest heaved sporadically, providing the beast with barely enough life giving air to sustain itself.
Soon, the beast knew, soon it’s spirit would leave it’s corporeal body, a body too old and tired to contain it’s contentious essence, and pass to another existence, an unknown existence. For the first time in all it’s life the great beast was truly afraid. Never before had it been threatened with it’s life. Always it had been the predator. Deer, moose, men monsters, anything stupid enough to venture too close to it’s clawed appendages and toothed maw.
Even when meals didn’t deliver themselves to it’s door step, the enormous, black beast would leave it’s cave, rising high into the clouds on leathery wings. With barely any effort the beast would glide around, searching for prey with it’s keen senses. Senses far superior to any predator, for it was the predator of all predators. Protected by a scale armored hide which was nearly invulnerable, the beast feared no harm. Complimenting this armor were equally impressive weapons; claws the length of a sword and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, easily the length of an average man’s leg and more. Anything that lived was for the taking. None could hope to oppose him.
Although it had only been a few years since his last hunting foray, the beast thought it to be a very long time in the past. The years had finally caught up to him. He had lived well over a millennium; had watched the rise of the great elven and Dwarven kingdoms, the upbringing of the human race, and so many wonderful wars! But that was long ago, before time had caught him in it’s web. Before his fangs began to rot and his scales became brittle. Even his dreaded breath, once a deadly stream of the most potent acid known to the world, had been lost, replaced by a mere dribble of fluid, no more dangerous than that found in a common fruit.
The dragon’s eye lids slid open slowly and the round, black orbs, roughly the diameter of a wagon’s wheel, rolled around in their sockets, scanning it’s lair. It hadn’t always been like this, the beast thought. Before he had taken occupancy of the vast, underground cavern, it had been merely that. An empty cavern, it’s rough walls and ceiling containing nothing but hollow silence.
It had been so long ago when the cavern had been discovered, the giant, black, wyrm, barely six decades out of the egg at the time, had found the cave during it’s youthful roaming of the world and made it a lair. Having established a permanent residence, the dragon became able to do more than simply survive, there was suddenly time for more unconventional pursuits. He had decided to begin a trophy collection, something to symbolize his victory every time he devoured a creature. And so it began, objects of every size and shape were brought back to the cavern. Thinking back to those younger days the ancient wyrm remembered how quickly the cavern had become stuffed with the majority of it’s current treasures. If his withered body would have allowed it he would have grinned evilly at the thought of all the feasting he had done on the weaker beings in the area and of the wealth that had grown with his girth.
Without warning, the ancient beast’s monstrous chest was shot with immense pain, that which the wyrm had never experienced before. His great lungs refused to bring in any air, frozen like a polar iceberg. The giant beast writhed in agony, the last of it’s precious energy sending jewel encrusted swords, ornamental goblets and pieces of armor flying about the cavern in a spray of gold and silver coins. Slowly, the lair began to dim considerably, his vision began to blur and the beast realized that his body was threatening to cease all operations and cast his spirit into the unknown. With a tremendous show of will, he forced himself out of his semiconscious state and returned to full, if not very exhausted, consciousness. Refusing to give in to nature’s calling, his body fell back to the ground, and his chest heaved as he gasped, filling his deprived lungs with air once more. His vision cleared and the cavern slowly came back into focus as he held on stubbornly.
Suddenly, a though hit him, as if one of the many stalactites hanging above him had fallen, smashing into his skull. What, exactly, was he holding on to? The question seemed so simple, yet, he found it difficult to find an answer. Everything he was and had ever been, told him that he was holding on to the only thing that meant anything, his power, his wealth, and his dignity. Slowly, he began to realize that that was not true though. He began to realize that he no longer had any power. His body, the tool that brought his power, was a mere shell of it’s former condition and would never serve him again. Wealth, he realized with horror, was completely worthless to him. Even when he was in good health, he had no need for material riches when he could simply take anything he wanted. All his life he had wasted his time building his horde, thinking it to be a show of power. Now he realized though, that it was merely a show of his selfish greed. Even if gold was a show of power, nobody had ever seen his treasures and lived to spread the word.
One, single, pointed, though struck deeply into the beast’s very being. A thought so devastating that his heart skipped several, precious beats upon it’s realization. He was about to die alone. In his life he had been so obsessed with filling his stomach, and building his treasure horde, that he had neglected to ever exchange thoughts and ideas with any other living being, fellow dragon or other wise.
The emptiness that had always been there, yet had always been ignored, rushed through him. As if his heart had been ripped from his breast and, a sword plunged into it, the hollowness of his existence struck a deep, painful wound, far worse than anything physical ever could.
The volume of that emotional wound weighed heavily on the beast’s health. Possibly even more than time had, for after only a few short days, the mighty beast’s reign of terror ceased in a pathetic display of mental pleas to any god who might be listening. The prayers were never answered and in the early glow of a frigid autumn morning, the dragon’s giant, black, heart beat it’s last beat. The beast gave in to nature this time. It’s enormous head lolled to the side and it’s, now dull eye released the only tear it had ever known. His last thoughts before darkness swallowed him were of how it might have been if he had not destroyed every being he had encountered. What would death be like then? The last sound issued from his once, powerful lungs, was not the thunderous roar that the world had once feared, but the mournful sobbing of one who had always been, and would now always be, alone.
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