Israel, Judaism, Modern Orthodoxy, Short Fiction, Career Guidance

Location: Israel

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Heroes in the Dark






"My Lord?" asked the awakening boy.

"My Lord? Art thou here?"

"Uuh?" came a groggy reply.

"My Lord! Thou art here!"

"Yes, yes boy. What is the matter?"

"My Lord, we are dead, and gone to our doom. I have just awaken from our fateful blow and this stygian darkness must surely be the otherworld. Thine voice and mine are all that remain of our former existence."

"Nonsense boy. I do not feel dead yet. I may feel slightly ill - and truly, 'tis an unnatural darkness and an ungodly stench, but ye must be wrong. I still feel my good sword in my hand. Let me concentrate a moment and will the sword's power to illuminate us."

Magically a bright light emanated from the sword.

"Tis most wondrous my Lord. The sword shines, yet this scenery now seems more frightening than our former darkness."

"Aye, a place quite strange it appears. A sickly green cave of some sort, with bright orange puddles spread about. But look, our captor has left us food. Fruits of all sort, some chickens, and this can only be a side of beef - but cruelly cut off, and none of this food is in good condition. Very strange."

"My Lord, we must be dead. No one is known to have survived the monster we fought. And feel the heat, I feel that shortly I shall suffocate - this can only be the domain of Lucifer himself."

"Quiet boy. I shall be dead when I can no longer act, so until that time let me be. Surely the dragon put us in a prison of his devising. I still feel his breath and slimy tongue over my body, and thou also seems quite slick to the touch. We must investigate this cave and attempt to locate a means of escape."

"Yes my Lord. I shall always follow thee - past death itself it seems."

"Good. Now there appear to exist small dark openings at either side of this chamber. Let us investigate the lower one first."

"My Lord, as we move in that direction the stench gets worse - I feel I shall perish once again merely from the smell. This can only be hell."

"Seize thy whimpering. Let us approach closer; but I fear that this smell of decayed flesh only leads to a trap. Grab one of those chickens that we may use as bait."

The cave started to vibrate slightly.

"Doth thou feelist that my Lord? The Devil does not wish for me to take the chicken."

"Don't be foolish, boy. It is merely an earth tremor. These things are known to occur. Now pick up that chicken and come here."

The boy and the Lord slowly approached the opening.

"It seems to be a portal of some sort, that opens and closes on a regular basis. Yet the smell definitely originates here. Perhaps this leads to a graveyard or a slaughter house. Boy, place the chicken near the portal and let us observe what occurs."

For a few moments nothing happened, then suddenly the portal opened up.

"My Lord! It has swallowed the chicken - and everything else in its vicinity! Let us move from here, I beg of you!"

"We shall try the other portal, boy. Not merely on account of thy cowardice, but because I hear sounds that are not encouraging from the end of this opening. I fear that if we went through, we would exit quite damaged, if at all. Very well, let us make for the high opening at the other end of this cave."

So the Lord and the boy started walking towards the other end of the chamber.

"Boy, do not the floor and walls of this cave seem abnormally soft to thee."

"Verily my Lord. I was pondering this selfsame question myself, as well as the continued 'earth tremors' thou hast named. I fear for our souls, and the danger of not accepting what fate has ordained for us."

"Never mind. I think perhaps my sword can cut through this not so sturdy wall. But let us get closer to the opening first."

"My Lord. A wild thought came to me. If as thou sayest we are not dead, I believe I know where we are."

"I am tired of thy blabberings, boy. We are almost upon the opening, and there is a hint of fresh air, yet still I fear a trap. I shall try to penetrate the wall with my sword."

"No! Lord, no!"

But is was too late. The Lord had dug his sword into the wall. It entered easily, opening a gash that started gushing a thick dark liquid over them. Luckily, at that very moment the boy had grabbed the hilt of the sword to try to prevent his Lord from this very action. There was a terribly loud screeching sound. Suddenly, the floor left their feet. The only thing holding them in place was the Lord's sword that they were both holding, stuck in what was now the chamber's ceiling. They dangled over the bottom opening - waiting to swallow them, yet they were just within reach of the top opening. The chamber continued to shake and shudder violently. Heavy liquid covered them so that they were nearly blind.

"What in Creation's name happened!"

"My Lord. I believe we are within the beast!"

"What!? When thou sayest that we were in hell, though improbable, was perhaps believable, but to say that we are within the monster is most surely impossible!"

"As thou sayest my Lord. With whatever belief, however, we shall surely be dead if we do nothing of our precarious position. I do not relish going down further into what must be the dragon's bowels."

"Then we must cut through whatever this material may be, whether it be stomach or wall."

"No, Lord. Then we shall surely drown in the beast's blood ere we exit its body"

"Boy, though I do not know what we are in, whether dragon or some evil magical spell, I shall find purchase in the nearby opening and then attempt to break through"

Before the boy could respond, while the Lord's legs were reaching and kicking around the upper opening, the chamber appeared to convulse and spasm. Great volumes of air rushed through the upper opening, pulling the contents of the chamber, including the Lord and the boy into the opening. Up they went, through a long slimy tunnel, the boy and the Lord holding onto the sword and each other for dear life. They kept on bumping into ridges protruding from the tunnel wall. The tunnel narrowed, showing light at the end of it. The opening came into view surrounded by sharp jagged edges. Finally they exited, flying in the air, together with the assorted contents of the dragons' stomach. They landed abruptly on a pile of hay, in the land of the living, ready to re-experience life.






And so our heroes saved the day. It was reported that the dragon never again ate another human being. However, whether this was from fear, memories of a bad headache, or simply indigestion was never determined.


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