Bower Demon

Its unnaturally long arms swung like pendulums, its thick fingernails brushed the ground. The monster was thin, black and leathery, with needle-teeth and a body stretching ten feet in height. Red eyes burned over an upturned snout that quivered guessingly in the air. Huge, tattered wings stretched behind it. Saliva and blood dripped from its working maw.

Tibi knew little of Bower demons. All he had read on the subject was from Jacov’s brief On Demons, and nothing from the book helped his situation. Riptearth the Slayer was famous for killing one, but the hunter was tragically illiterate and had not bothered to divulge his experience to the masses beyond the quote “Watch for the arms.” In general Tibi knew that all demons enjoyed the taste of human flesh and were rare in the mortal world, escaping from their fiery, stinking, hate-filled realm
from bubbling ruptures in the earth that closed as quickly as they opened. They were creatures of pure, concentrated evil, the only being that Tibi found himself hating completely.  

Tibi gazed into its glowing eyes of demented red. He pushed his visor back over his face in preparation, causing the demon to stretch its mouth over its needle-like teeth in what was perhaps a smile. For a few moments the two adversaries stood looking at each other, and there was a second where Tibi thought the demon would spare him after all.

Then its arm flew out to strike him, easily and quickly spanning the gap between the two. Tibi sidestepped the arm but its wrist twisted and snagged his shoulder, then dragged him towards it. Tibi swung his sword briskly at the demon’s arm but its other hand closed around his sword and ripped it from his grip. Tibi did not watch as the monster snapped his sword in half between its thumb and index finger; instead Tibi brought his knee up hard and smashed his forearm downwards, attempting to crack the demon’s arm-bone.


The arm held like stone, jarring Tibi, but the demon released him and Tibi launched
himself into the air towards it, plunging his dagger into its chest. A powerful
blow struck him on the side of his helm, sending him flying to the side. The
demon leapt on him but Tibi flung out his elbow and the elbow-spike on his
armor punctured the monster’s palm. He kicked out his foot and struck it in its chest, but could not push the demon off of him.

“You’re a strong one.” The demon growled, lifting a writhing Tibi into the air like a strung-up boar. Tibi swung upside down, staring at the dagger planted in the demon's chest. The blade began to melt and sizzle.

“If you plan to devour me, abomination, then get on with it.” Tibi spat, hateful and afraid. The demon smiled again.

“A meal as hard-won as you should be savored, Knight.”

Its huge wings beats the ground mercilessly, and the two rose into the air.

 

Fear of heights is essentially a fear of death, Tibi thought to himself as his feet swung above the yawning canyon below.

Fear of death is irrational, because death-

Tibi slipped a bit from the claws of the demon and he grabbed its leg for dear life, kicking at the empty air below him. He didn’t want to die. There was nothing irrational about the fear of death. He was terrified, absolutely stricken with a soul-sucking fear that made him want to sob and be just a philosopher-philosopher.

The castle suddenly stretched below him, dimly visible in the filmy starlight.

The End

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