Cheeseburger Gothic

"An Early Tale" by ShaneAlpha - Fanfest 2015

Posted March 10, 2015 into Book Extract by John Birmingham

Well, you asked for more. So he's given you more. ShaneAlpha's second bite of the cherry. And he has one more in the slipway.

The itinerant holy man sat hunched over in the small house, his face hidden in the darkness of his still raised cowl as the rain splattered on the mud outside. The noise was far louder than it would have been in normal circumstances due to the large hole in the wall caused by the cooling body, its back against a nearby boulder and its head slumped to its chest.

The man slowly rolled several smooth stones in one hand meditatively. His hand clutched suddenly and thrust the stones into a pouch worn on his waist as a soft cough and groan sounded from near the warm fireplace. He quickly rose and walked over to the small form laying under a woollen blanket. Another quiet groan rose from the blanket. “Easy, my son.” The man said in the local tongue. “You’re safe now but have been asleep for a day.” Bright blue eyes suddenly opened convulsively. The man spoke softly, “You must be thirsty, have some small sips of this until you can talk.” As he pressed a small cured leather drinking pouch to the mouth of the small boy attempting to rise from under the blanket. The boy did as he was told, slowly sipping the honey Mead, the colour returning to his face as the liquid flowed to his belly.

Eventually the boy stopped drinking. He suddenly looked wildly around the room, his eyes widening as he spotted the rent in the wall. He face looked pleadingly into the face of the man, tears starting to form in his eyes and roll down his cheeks. The man, voice still low and soft gently spoke “Yes, they’re dead. I buried them and consecrated the ground. They are with God now.”

The boy started sobbing, buried his head into the chest of the man and tried to speak, his words coming explosively through his heaving sobs. “I..I…I.. was.. bringing.. the.. sheep.. in…Mother screamed… I..I.. ran.. to help..the..the..deamon..was..was..eating Papa! Mama…it laughed… ..father’s sword. It laughed louder! I ran at it with the sword. I..I.. don’t remember any more.

“Can you stand?” the man asked. The boy nodded and rose to his feet. The man guided him outside until they were both standing over the body of the Scolari Grymm. The man looked down at the boy “You have killed a demon and been touched by God, my son. I wanted to bury this spawn of Satan but could not remove the sword. Can you try?” The boy nodded and reaching out his small hand grasped the grip of the blade. He smoothly pulled the blade free of the body and the boulder it was pinned to and effortlessly raised it toward the sky. Myrddin looked in awe as the boy spoke in a newly strong voice “I am Arthur and I name this, my father’s sword, Excalibur!”

9 Responses to ‘"An Early Tale" by ShaneAlpha - Fanfest 2015’

Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted March 10, 2015
Oh ShaneAlpha, you have a twisted and imaginative brain there. I like that a lot. So now we have a "rationale" for heroes and their magic weapons? (Dashes off to write a Siegfried and Fafnir story before someone else grabs it.)

Respond to this comment

Bunyip has opinions thus...

Posted March 10, 2015
Cool.I've got a Welsh mate that uses the handle of Myrddin when gaming. I'll share this with him.

Respond to this comment

JG mumbles...

Posted March 10, 2015
Intriguing and atmospheric. You set the mood well, Shane. Darth Greybeard reminds me of your itinerant holy man, what with his foreboding pic. Tread thee warily in timewarp. One of my superheroes as a child (I had many) was Astro Boy, but your boy Arthur has potential. Excalibur - but, of course. Arthur be like Robin to Dave's Batman. Or a king.

Respond to this comment

Maddoug mutters...

Posted March 10, 2015
If Myrddin's in awe now, just wait until he sees Arthur eat the entire flock of sheep...

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted March 11, 2015
Geez, I was skim reading, misread flock of sheep, so glad that I re-read it. We all know what TheDave is capable of...

Respond to this thread

she_jedi mutters...

Posted March 10, 2015
Oh. My. God. Inspired! Thanks Shane. I love your work and wish to subscribe to your pamphlet.

Respond to this comment

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted March 11, 2015
I thought that was fucking great.

Respond to this comment

Therbs mumbles...

Posted March 11, 2015

The following bit of dialogue (reliably recorded by historians of the time in primary and corroborated documents) shows that Arthur is a bit odd.

Guard: Who goes there?

King Arthur: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon from the castle of Camelot, King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, Sovereign of all England!
Guard: Pull the other one!

King Arthur: I am, and this is my trusty servant Patsy. We have ridden the length and breadth of the land in search of knights who will join me in my court at Camelot. I must speak with your lord and master.

Guard: What, ridden on a horse?

King Arthur: Yes.
Guard: You're using coconuts!
King Arthur: What?

Guard: You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're bangin' 'em together.
King Arthur: So? We have ridden since the snows of winter covered this land, through the kingdom of Mercia, through ...

Guard: Where'd you get the coconuts?
King Arthur: We found them.
Guard: Found them? In Mercia? The cocnut's tropical!
King Arthur: What do you mean?

Guard: Well, this is a temperate zone.
King Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land?

Guard: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

From: Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Respond to this comment

ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted March 11, 2015
Glad you guys liked it. I'll comment a bit more after the third story appears.

Respond to this comment

Respond to '"An Early Tale" by ShaneAlpha - Fanfest 2015'

Follow along with RSS