A putrid smell eased itself down his nostrils as the plate landed on the table.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t Boeuf Bourguignon, He thought, taking in another whiff of the foul smell.
“Here ya go, Weasel,” a throaty voice that had sounded like it had been destroyed by years of smoking spoke “ your very last meal, just as you ordered it!”
“I ordered Boeuf Bourguignon.”
“That’s right. Well, enjoy!” He proclaimed proudly.
There was a long pause before the captive finally spoke once more.
“Could you at least take my blindfold off, so I can enjoy this so-called meal?”
“NO!” screamed the man, jumping up and grabbing him by the shoulders with a painful tightness, “Just eat the damn meal, Weasel, just eat it.”
Reluctantly, the Weasel picked up the twisted fork by his side, slowly feeling every rusted inch until he found the bottom. Scrunching up his nose, he dipped the fork into the meal, making a chilling sloshing noise, held a forkful up close to his face, and finally swallowed.
He fell to the ground with a heavy thud
“Sweet dreams, pretty boy.”
The Weasel awoke into a state of darkness. With his senses dulled, he groped around his face, until he finally began to feel the beginning of cloth rag.
“Damnit!” he whispered
After about twenty minutes of fumbling and tearing at his blindfold, the thing finally ripped off, and the Weasel found himself looking directly into a bright gaslamp. His pupils immediately dilated, sending a searing pain through his eyes.
He jumped backwards and screamed, almost clawing at his eye sockets before realizing what he was doing.
What was he doing?
What am I doing? He thought Where even am I? Who am I?
Waiting a few seconds for his eyes to adjust, he looked around his surroundings. In the far left corner was a large moose head leaning against the wall, with two hunting rifles hanging across its neck. In the right corner, he noticed a small table with a rusted, twisted, fork lying across something that looked like… a dead racoon with a bite taken out of it. Choking back the urge to vomit, the Weasel continued looking around the room until–
“What the hell is going on out there!?” a familiar voice yelled.
The Weasel jumped towards the moose head grabbing one of its dusty rifles firmly in his hands, until the man came into view.
It wasn’t a man at all.
It was a woman.
Standing there was a sight to behold. The woman was roughly six foot seven, with arms the size of bowling balls, and oddly enough, had lipstick smeared over her lips as if done in a hurry.
“Heh!” she grunted “You think that peice of junk still works!?”
He looked down again at the rifle he was tightly holding. She was right, the worm-eaten gun seemed like it could fall apart at any moment.
Slowly, the Weasel put the gun down, almost as if he didn’t trust it was broken. Without taking his eyes off the woman standing smugly in the corner, he spoke. “First of all, who are you? And second, why am I here?
“My name is of no importance,” she chuckled “and the latter will be revealed in due time!”
“Way to completely avoid the questions,” the Weasel scowled.
Her smug smile immediately melted away, and with unnatural speed, she ran up to him. Without missing a step, she slapped his fleshy cheek with a resounding crack!
“If you must know, the name is Turpe,” she said, straightening up again.
“Turpe? Now if I can remember any Latin, doesn’t that mean–”
“OW!” he screamed, “I thought we were done with the hitting!”
She simply walked away in brisk pace leaving the room the same way she entered.
There was a long pause, until finally, she returned, dragging a heavy chain by her side.
“Stand,” Turpe ordered.
“Um, no thank you. I’m perfectly comfortable right where I am.”
The Weasel was up on his feet in no time flat, shaking in fear at the sound of her yelling. Turpe quickly shackled the chains around his wrists, ankles, and neck.
“This isn’t too comfortable, you know,” the Weasel said.
She tightened the chain around his neck.
“That’s even worse!” He gasped, struggling for air.
She tightened the chain even harder.
“I’m okay,” The Weasel piped.
The two of them walked out of the room into an oddly shaped, tall hallway with marble pillars on both sides. The weirdest part of the hallway was that, although it was incredibly tall, it was only a few feet wide, causing The Weasel to be constantly squished into Turpe, also the fact that it smelled faintly of cat urine.
The floor was decorated with numerous images of wars and battles carved in marble, intricately weaved into a tessellation.
As they approached the door–a polished slab of marble–a quiet, but piercing noise rang into the Weasel’s head. A constantly pulsating screee sound.
At first it was barely noticeable, but as they moved closer, and closer, the noise grew so unbearable, he dropped to the ground, clutching at his ears.
Turpe kicked at him numerous times, before giving up and just dragging him by the chain.
Why can’t it she hear it? he thought, still tightly squeezing his ears.
The chain tightened as he was dragged across the hall, but he wouldn’t get up. Finally, Turpe stopped at the door and turned towards him. Her mouth moved for a few seconds, but no sound came out. She looked at him again, and cocked her head almost as if she was… confused? Her mouth moved again, even faster this time. Still no sound came out. The Weasel looked up and nodded, hoping it would mean something. Turpe sighed, almost satisfied, and opened the door.
Beyond the door was a wide open area, roofless, and surrounded by stands overflowing with people. The area was rounded, with a flat floor, and bordered with a stone wall erecting at least fifteen feet into the air before reaching the stands.
The Weasel slowly spun. There were hundreds of people in the stands, maybe even thousands, each and every one of them moving their mouths, but no sound came out.
At what seemed like the front of the coliseum, a short man emerged. He wore a neatly pressed suit and high tophat, giving the impression that he was taller than he actually was.
He walked up to microphone stand, adjusted it to his height, and spoke.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” The Weasel gasped! He could hear! Faintly, very faintly, but he could hear nonetheless! “It’s that time of year again! As you all know, we pick out one of our worst criminals, and have him,”He cocked his head, as if remembering something, then continued “--or her fight for their survival as they get inevitably fed to the beas–” Gradually, the sound died out, until the Weasel, once again, could hear no more.
Wait, what? Did he say “Inevitably fed?” And what was that last part?
The short man on the podium turned to his side and faced the wall of the coliseum, where a tall iron fence was being slowly lifted.
A large thump shook the coliseum. The audience suddenly froze. Another thump, closer this time. The thumping continued, growing louder and louder, at the same time also getting faster, as if what was behind the iron gate was breaking into an all out sprint.
The Weasel looked down and realized that he was trembling. He felt a tug on his chain, and kept walking towards the center of the arena.
At the exact center of the coliseum, there was a pattern that seemed like numerous overlapping suns, with rays jutting out in every direction. On the end of each ray, spare one, was a red dot, about the size of a curled up fist. He counted ten in all.
Once there, Turpe unshackled his chains, dropped them to the ground, and quickly ran back to where they emerged, disappearing behind the door.
From behind the raised iron gate, the tremors grew, Until he felt like whatever it was, was already on top of him.
The creature that emerged from the wall was almost unimaginable. It ran with a limp, but could still run with a surprising speed. Too fast. It ran up to the Weasel and kicked him across the arena, with a tremendous blow.
The crowd erupted into cheers!
The Weasel held his ears. He could hear the cheers of the crowd! He could hear! The Weasel looked up, and for the first time, saw how his attacker truly was. It seemed to be an animal no larger than twice his height. It stood on a pair of hairy goat legs, connected to a wide-shouldered torso of a gorilla, or some other large primate. But the most frightening part was the head, a snarling lion head the size of boulder.
“Ladies and Gentlemen!” the short man yelled, “Give it up for the Beast!”
The Beast charged at him once more, with drool dripping from his mouth. But this time, the Weasel was better prepared. He backed himself to the wall and faced the quickly approaching Beast.
Wait for it…
He could almost smell the Beast by now.
Wait for it…
He could definitely smell the Beast now. A mixture of blood and cat urine.
The Weasel dove to the left, landing on the dry gravel floor. The Beast hit the wall, with a resounding crack!
The audience went silent.
The Weasel looked up at the stands noticing the small man in the top hat was furious. He grabbed the microphone.
“Come on everybody!” he shouted, gesturing his hand upwards “Let’s have another circle on the compass rose!”
The Weasel looked down. He saw the same overlapping suns with a dot on each ray.
Each red dot represents a... death? Will I be next? he thought.
The crowd burst into cheers once more, but did nothing to help awaken the Beast. The short man reached into the breast pocket of his suit, revealing a small box-shaped object with a large button on the front. He seemed to fiddle with it for a few seconds, then with a dramatic pause, he pressed the button.
The Beast shook and convulsed in pain, every limb of his body twitching like a leaf in a thunderstorm. The Weasel stepped back in horror. The monster ahead of him slowly rose, craned his neck, and roared. As he did so, the Weasel caught a quick glimpse at a metal ring around its neck, emitting an ominous glow. The man pressed the button again, and the the ring grew brighter. The Beast once again roared, and stepped towards the Weasel, revealing a large hole where it had had crashed. It seemed just large enough for the Weasel to slip through. Behind the hole was a system of interconnecting hallways and passages.
Maybe, just maybe I could–
A large hand appeared, pummeling him to the ground. The Weasel rolled to his side, just narrowly avoiding the next wave of the Beast’s punches. Every time he tried to get up, another hit would knock him down again, until finally, the Weasel was pressed against the wall. Nowhere to run.
Out of the corner of his eye, the Weasel thought he could see the short man pointing and laughing.
The Beast brought back his arm, and shot it forward.
The entire coliseum shook for a moment, then settled, as if nothing had happened. A large dust cloud engulfed a pile of rubble where the Beast had done his deed.
The Weasel was surely underneath it all.
The man in charge smiled coldly. He was happy. The short man, whom had named himself Reaper after deciding that his birth name of Weegee was not suitable for a man of his position, calmly stood up and took the microphone into his hands.
“They never survive! and they never will,” Reaper thought to himself, half chuckling to the idea.
“Laaaaaadies and Gentlemen! Another round of applause for the Beast!”
While the entire audience cheered and roared, no one seemed to notice a dark shape, covered in soot, huddling against the wall, slowly inching himself to the center.
Only a few more feet…
The dust cloud was starting to disperse, and he would need to act quickly. Reaching his hand out, then pulling his body closer, and reaching out again, the Weasel barely managed to grab hold of the chains he walked into the coliseum wearing.
Now all he needed to do was go back without anyone notici–
“Hey!” Yelled a faint voice from the back of the stands “What’s that?”
As if controlled by a single puppeteer, the entire crowd turned their heads to the Weasel’s direction.
The coliseum exploded in anger. Shouts flew from every direction. People would scream insults about his mother, his dog, his sister, and so on. But the Weasel didn’t care about that. No, at the moment his biggest worry was the fact that the Beast had noticed him too, and wouldn’t just be hurling insults.
The Beast was not actually such a horrible creature. Well, if by “horrible” you meant “ugly”, then yes, he was a horrible creature. He was created in a lab some 20-something years ago just for this reason, to dispose of the city’s worst criminals, fair trial or not. When the scientists created him using DNA from a number of different species, they expected him to be a monster so fierce, it could wipe out an army of men. Instead, the result was a sensitive and lovable Beast. The scientists were not pleased. No matter what they tried, the Beast would only start whimpering and crying, until they strapped an electro-shock collar around his neck. Every shock would send the Beast into a mad, destructive state. In fact, four of the scientists who worked on the project lost their lives the first time the collar was activated.
The Weasel narrowly avoided another attack, ducking and rolling out of the way. He just needed the perfect moment…
The Beast had bent over, revealing the entire collar engulfing his neck. Now was the perfect moment.
The Weasel jumped upwards and grabbed the Beast by the collar. He ignored the tingling sensation shooting up his arm in a series of clicks as he took the end of the of chains, and brought it down over and over again in a hailstorm of fury. The Beast yelped in pain, but no matter how hard he tried, the Weasel wouldn’t fall off.
Then, with one final blow, the collar fell off. The Beast seemed to relax.
Reaper’s frantic pressing of the button had failed.
The Beast and the Weasel stood face-to-face, neither of them moved. Slowly, making no sudden movements, the Weasel took a step backwards, and another, and another, until he had broken into an all-out sprint towards the collapsed wall. The Beast chased after him, gaining speed every second. The Weasel dove through the massive hole, and headed left, approaching a heavily guarded door. He immediately regretted the decision. He spun around to see the Beast closing in on one side, and at least ten guards running towards him. This was it. All his efforts had been in vain. The Weasel closed his eyes, and waited to be either ended by the Beast, or be carried away to face some other monstrosity by the guards.
He waited for something to happen. After a what seemed like an eternity, the Weasel forced his eyes open. The scene ahead of him was a dozen or so guards lying unconscious on the the floor, and a certain Beast sitting patiently by the door.
It worked! It actually worked! The Weasel felt like laughing, until he heard more guards running down the passageway, the sound of their metal armor resounding off the hallway walls.
“Time to go!” The Weasel said.
What he had originally conceived as a single coliseum, seemed to be a massive building with simply a coliseum in the middle; at the end of every hall was another five halls, and at the end of those, another ten. The Weasel kept running throughout the complex, the Beast right on his heels, but after at least half an hour later, they still hadn’t found a single exit. Although, they had found five groups of guards, eight people simply walking around, two stray dogs, and seven bathroom doors that looked deceivingly like an exit.
This is taking forever! How are we going to get out of here? The Weasel thought, just as they passed by a hall, an oddly shaped, tall hallway with marble pillars on both sides. The weirdest part of the hallway was that, although it was incredibly tall, it was only a few feet wide.
He stopped and ran down the hallway. The Weasel burst through the door at the end of the end of the hall, whilst the Beast–too large to fit through the door–simply broke down the foyer, and squeezed himself inside. The room was exactly as the Weasel remembered it, something which shouldn’t be called “food” on the table, and an old hunting rifle laying by a stuffed moose head. He looked around, and found exactly what he was looking for–a padlocked door in the back corner of the room.
“Do you care to do the honors?” The Weasel asked, hinting towards the exit. The Beast–who was face deep in the so-called Boeuf Bourguignon–apparently took the clue, and broke the door with a mighty blow.
Light pierced their eyes. Ahead of them was a beautifully adorned courtyard, bouquet of flowers in every direction. Farther in the distance, the Weasel could barely make out a thick forest.
As the two refugees ran ahead, into the darkness of the forest, the Weasel couldn’t help but think,