This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Thursday, 11 October 2012


Don’t get too close,” said the boy. “It’s dangerous.”

“Dangerous?” The girl stepped closer to the cage. “Just look at the poor thing.”

The monster inside howled and shook its chains. It raised its unlovely face to the sky and howled again.

“Poor thing,” said the girl again. “It’s howling.”

“Let it,” said the boy callously. “They’re slaughtering it tomorrow, anyway.”

“Tomorrow?” the girl squeaked. “So soon? Why?”

“How does it matter if it’s tomorrow or next year? They’ll be slaughtering it anyway. Why feed it a day more than necessary?”

The girl watched the poor monster pick at its fur with the tips of its claws. She said nothing.

“Want to go with me to the wine party?” asked the boy, picking between his teeth with a grass stem. “We could do things...”

The girl ignored him and finally, muttering, he went away.

“Poor thing,” said the girl to the monster, “they’ll be slaughtering you tomorrow.”

“I heard,” the monster told her. “I heard what he told you.”

“You can talk?” the girl was astonished. “I never knew...”

“Of course I can talk.” The monster got up and came over to the bars. “So what?”

“So...” the girl, confused, stammered slightly. “Well, I – I was thinking, it’s such a pity they’re, they’re, you know, going to slaughter you tomorrow, and it’s even worse that you know it.”

The monster and the girl watched one of the keepers come towards them with a bucket full of meat scraps. “Don’t talk to me while he’s here,” the monster said quickly and went back to its place. The keeper came up and emptied the bucket of bloody meat scraps into the cage. “Better stay back from the bars, miss,” he told the girl. “”It’s a nasty dangerous beast. Dirty, too.”

“Now is that fair?” complained the monster once the keeper had gone. “I’m only dirty because I haven’t had a chance to clean myself since your people captured me. I’m kept in this cage day and night, in the rain and the sun, sitting and sleeping on my own filth, and then he accuses me of being dirty. I ask you, is that fair?”

“No,” admitted the girl. “But he’s right about the other things. You are dangerous, aren’t you? You killed and ate a lot of people.”

“If I hadn’t,” pointed out the monster, “they’d have killed and eaten me. As they are going to do tomorrow.” It sighed. “They’ll chain me and drag me to the square and cut my throat, and then they’ll skin me and cut me up and cook me and everyone will get a thick steak of my flesh, even you.”

“Not if I can help it,” said the girl. “I’ll force them to give up the idea of slaughtering you.”

“Ah,” said the monster, “but then what? I’d be stuck here in this cage for the rest of my life? No thanks. I’d rather be slaughtered.” It shrugged its heavy, furred shoulders. “I’ll bear my death with fortitude, don’t worry.”

“Maybe they might let you go instead?” The girl watched the monster. “Couldn’t they let you go if I asked them?”

The monster stared back at the girl until she blushed.

“I know,” she said, “it’s a silly idea. Sorry.”

“You know,” said the monster, “You could just lift the latch of the gate door, and pull that rod out of the socket there. I could just go away then.”

“No,” said the girl. “You’d go killing people again.”

“Word of honour,” said the monster. “I’d just go right away. You could even go along with me part of the way to make sure I go away. I’ll never even come towards this village again.” It watched the girl hesitate. “Of course, maybe you’d prefer to watch me gasp out my life tomorrow and eat my meat afterwards. If so, I’ll understand.”

“No,” said the girl. Hurriedly glancing over her shoulder at the deepening shadows, she fumbled at the gate. “But you promise to go right away and not to go and kill anyone in the village?”

“I promise,” said the monster gravely, and walked out of the cage. “You can come along and make sure I keep my promise.”

"I think I will," said the girl. "I'm not too sure I can trust you at all, you see."


And what happened to the girl?” asked Mrs Monster, rocking Baby Monster to sleep. “I’m so glad you’re back,” she said for the fifth time.

“Well,” said the monster, “she stayed with me till I was far outside the village, and I’d, you know, fulfilled the terms of my promise to her, so...”


“She was very tasty,” the monster said. “A bit milky sweet, but very tasty all the same.”

Copyright B Purkayastha 2009


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