The True Beast

March 9, 2022

The prince’s hand shook and fingers quivered as he drew his sword out of his scabbard. The sword, light as a feather on a normal day, felt like a burden weighing him down. He glanced up at the prodigious beast with claws like razors and teeth glinting in the daylight. It’s fur was untamed and flailing wildly, making shivers travel up the prince’s spine.

If he was honest, the townspeople were the only reason he didn’t run away since they watched him dreamily and expectantly.

The prince sealed his eyes shut and thrust his sword in the direction of the beast. His hands ached at it’s absence and he hoped it had struck it’s intended target, but when he opened his eyes he found it lying on the ground. The monster had brushed it aside like an insignificant fly.

The prince’s heart skipped a beat for now his weapon was meters away from him and if he dared to move an inch the beast would act. On top of all that, he had dreadfully embarrassed himself in front of an entire crowd. The entire town. Fortunately, he had a bow and shaft of arrows for backup. He mustered as much confidence as he could and drew his bow, notching three arrows on it’s string. The arrows screeched in a high-pitch manner as he prepared to let them fly.

He aimed at the beast’s chest and released the arrows without hesitation. They cheered against the wind and, to the prince’s relief, hit the heart of the beast as he had intended. In a few seconds, the beast slumped over, lifeless.

It was finally gone.

The prince sighed contentedly and was instantly rewarded with a thunderous roar of claps and cheers. With pride, the prince marched over to the place where the dead beast lay and climbed on top of it, the beast’s fur itching his feet within his boots. He drove his fist in the air and put on his winning smile. The crowd, as he had anticipated, cheered louder. The prince roared back; his voice deep and rumbling, almost surprising him, but the chaos was too loud for him to be alarmed. In fact, he was deep in the celebration that he didn’t even notice the one or two ‘boos’ that came from the crowd.

After the cheering had dissolved and the townspeople had left, the prince was alone, laying on the furry beast. He slid off its back and ambled towards the sword that had earlier been brushed away. He grinned from ear to ear as he picked up the sword and looked into the blade reflection, expecting his own handsome reflection. But as he stared into his reflection, a ferocious beast appeared instead, fur flailing and voice thundering. 

The weather was no longer warm. A crisp and bitter breeze passed him by, snatching his smile with it.

He could not deny it now. 

He might be a prince, but he was the real beast. 

Grace W is a 12-year-old girl who enjoys writing short stories in her free time. Her hobbies are reading, writing, and swimming. She hopes to become an author one day.

Featured Image by Michal Matlon on Unsplash