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apples for heads

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Apples for Heads

The night was dark and the moon was glowing onto the cold surface of the forest floor. Baron stood tall in the dim light of the campfire. In the cold mountains of Alaska a fire is a must. His family stayed in the cabin as he went out every night to look for food. They were all on the edge of starvation for the duration of this harsh winter. His arms fell weak and his legs fatigued to every struggling step. Along with his beaten bow, his last five arrows were as useful as a handful of throwing rocks. Miles away from home he knew he couldn’t return empty handed. The night was now pitch black and the stars were covered by the heavy clouds. Baron glazed into the fire with a determined look. His eyes felt heavy and before he knew it he went into a deep sleep. His mind twisted and he felt a presence. He recalled his eyes blasting open and a shadowy figure latently appeared through the roaring flames. Baron blinked and rubbed his eyes.

“This can’t be happening what are you?” Baron said.
Its head turned to the side and red fearless eyes gazed upon him. Baron stood his ground in shock, not knowing what to do. It had on a large beaten cloak. It slowly turned and pondered over the landscape with a stone face.

Baron tried to turn and run out of visceral, but a large blade came from the cloaked beast and caught him around the neck. He fell to his knees as the blade burned on his throat.

“Stay still or I will use your skin as socks.” The beast mumbled.

Baron stood in his tracks as his eyes stared in bewilderment. He didn’t know what to say or if he was even still sleeping, god he hoped so.

“You are hungry I see, a beaten weapon and nothing but skin and bones under your soiled jacket. I, Valort rule these woods and all that inhabit them. I wish you no harm, but if you do not comply, those socks will begin to look mighty tempting,” preached the devil.

“Comply with what? What are you talking about? I just wish to go back to my family with a bounty of food,” begged Baron.

“Silence! You will get what you wish only if you defeat the great forces of the forest, my lad. I will grant you apples and lamb if you succeed. If you don’t then you will be damned to a life of hell without food or water. Bring me their heads, and you can be set free from my grasp,” said Valort unscrupulously.

Valort stood with a look of seriousness in his eyes. Baron had no idea what was happening, but knew whatever he was in was real for the time being, and he must cooperate. He would do anything for the promise of food.

“Run along now lad, you haven’t much time. I grow impatient quickly,” said Valort sternly.

Baron grabbed his weak weapon and ran ambivalently through the dark forest. He felt powerful like he was dreaming. The forest creatures came quickly as he surreptitiously beheaded each one with his bare hands. In disbelief, he sunk to the ground with blood on his hands and a pile of heads in his lap.

Valort appeared with a grimace on his face. He said no more and took the heads one by one as he dropped a promising bag over Baron’s shoulder.

Baron shook as he awoke by the dim campfire, his feet freezing, and his stomach aching. He remembered nothing as he walked home with an appetizing satchel over his shoulder.



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