by Darrell Bailey
The creature moved silently through the night as it stalked its prey. The human was walking slowly not heading anywhere in particular, just walking, unaware that it was being followed. The creature quickened its pace as it saw that the human was nearing the small village down the road.
As the creature neared, the human became aware that he was not alone although he was not worried. It's probably just another traveler he thought as he started humming a song that had been stuck in his head all day.
The creature began humming the same tune as it drew nearer the human ready for the final moment. That moment when it would again prove that humankind was no match for it. Its breathing grew heavier as it anticipated what would happen.
The human turned at a sound off in the trees and it was that second, when he was distracted that the creature choose to attack.
Before the human knew what had hit him he was on the ground with a large gash in his stomach. He was horrified as his intestine slipped out of his body.
The creature was on top of the human in seconds, eating its flesh while the human still struggled underneath it. The flesh tasted sweeter when it was still warm, and besides the creature liked the feel of a struggling human while he was feeding.
Within seconds the creature had finished his meal, leaving only the humans bones as a testament that the human had existed at all. The creature rose from the human's bones and sniffed at the air as if it could smell something.
It lumbered down the path away from the village and as soon as it was out of sight two humans emerged from the trees that had caught the attention of the human before his death.
"Do you think you can kill this beast?" The shorter of the men asked as the other bent to examine what the creature had left of its prey.
"There isn't a beast alive that I cannot kill." The large man boasted as he picked up on of the humans bones. "This beast will prove no more difficult than a vampire or a werewolf."
"How will you do it?" the small man asked.
"Tomorrow night after dark I will travel this road and let the creature find me. Then I will use one of the specialized weapons I brought with me to finish him."
"It will not be easy." the short man said as he started walking towards the town. "Stronger and braver men than you have tried to kill the beast and none have survived the attempt."
"I shall succeed where the others have failed for I am the best demon hunter in the world. This beast had better enjoy its few remaining hours because they will be his last."
The next evening when the beast emerged from the trees to hunt he came across the large man who just as he said was walking the path. The beast stalked the man for several hundred feet before finally pouncing on him.
The man however was ready for the beasts attack and raised a large broadsword in attack. The beast quickly pushed aside the broadsword so the man pulled a battle ax from his pack and struck at the beast with it. This the beast also brushed aside as did he with all the weapons the man brought forth.
Finally, the man could offer no further resistance against the beast and the beast pounced on him, tearing open his stomach as he had done with the man the previous night.
As he was loosing consciousness the man heard a strange errie music playing from off in the distance. The beast stopped its attack at the sound of the music.
As the beast sat listening to the music the short man emerged from the trees and used the big man's broadsword to slay the beast.
After seeing this the big man finally lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness a few days later the small man was in the room with him.
"Why did you let that beast almost kill me if you could kill it yourself." the big man asked.
"I did it to teach you a lesson about boasting." the small man said. "You were boastful when you came here, now I hope you have learned a lesson about it from this experience."
As he spoke the beast appeared behind the short man.
"Look out." the big man yelled trying to get as far from the beast as possible.
"Relax." the small man said unmoved. "The beast is a computer simulation I use to keep me company and to teach young boastful men like you a lesson."
It was then that the large man noticed that although he had suffered many injuries in his struggle with the beast he did not have any wounds or scars.
"Reality is an illusion, just like the beast was an illusion and just like I am an illusion."
As the man spoke both he and the beast faded and disappeared.