Complete Story – 5400 Words

This work of fiction contains strong elements of horror and violence. Reader discretion is advised.

Part 1

An autumn wind rustled the moon drenched leaves above as a lanky figure stepped from the shelter of the tree line.  Tall only by goblin standards, he stood a full head higher than any of the other raiders which had amassed in a small band among the tree trunks.  His dented steel helm glinted in the silvery light as he peered over the spread of farmland below.  Lifting his flattened, scarred nose to the breeze, the helmed goblin sniffed the air.

“What do you smell, Urlfar,” asked another goblin stepping clear of the others.  This one had no helm but wore an overlarge tunic of boiled leather armored by heavy brass rings.  Tucked into his belt, the stiff leather bulged out making him look nearly as wide as he was tall. 

“Easy pickings is what I smell,” replied Urlfar.  The scar that ran across his nose was livid in the moonlight as a grin like an old graveyard spread across his thin lips.  “Easy pickings, indeed.”

The raiders followed the helmed goblin down the grassy slopes and into the valley below.  No sound but the muted slapping of feet heralded their approach.  They wove through fields and splashed across the creek, its clear waters sparkling like jewels under the full moon. 

As they neared the first lonely farmhouse, Urlfar led them into the tall swaying stalks of a cornfield before slowing their pace to creep through the orderly rows.  His mind swirled with lusty dreams of looted silverware and pilfered jewelry, seared man-flesh and stolen hooch to wash it down.  If it were not for the shade of the corn, a sheen of saliva would have shown at the corners of his grisly mouth.

Whether he was too preoccupied or simply uninterested, the helmed goblin did not pay the slightest sliver of attention to the scarecrow that stood draped over a cruciform post near the center of the field.  If he had, Urlfar would have seen the scrap wood arms and legs, the threadbare tunic stuffed with straw, and the pumpkin carved with lopsided triangles for eyes and a jagged grin.  Whatever the reason, Urlfar saw none of this.  Instead, he paused at the post, squeezed out a squeaking puff of wind, and continued on his way.

As the raiders passed, Scarecrow stirred.  The skin of his jack-o-lantern face felt tight in the frosty breeze, yet he woke not with a chill but with the somewhat puzzling realization that he was alive.  Two dull points of yellow light flickered into existence inside the empty triangle sockets that were Scarecrow’s eyes.  With them he gazed out upon the moonlit fields and orchards of the valley.  What a dark place the world is, he thought, and leaden feeling bubbled up within him.  Scarecrow had not known what he had hoped the world would be but certainly not this cold and colorless.

Gripping the post with twiggy fingers, he turned to climb down from his perch and in doing so, looked behind.  He froze, transfixed with the sight of what was there.  Above the horizon of the corn sea crested an island of a house.  Even strips of wooden siding coated the whole thing painted in a pale color that looked a shimmering white in the moonlight.  A dark roof with a steep pitch capped the whole thing but it was a window on the second story, just beneath the eaves, that held his softly glowing stare.  All the other windows held only gloom but in this one glassy portal a single lamp flame danced, spilling a warm orange light over the night’s silvery grays.  Beautiful, thought Scarecrow with a stillness that only awe can inspire. 

The moment’s pause allowed a worming thought to wriggle its way into the hollow space behind his eyes.  My creators.  Perhaps they live there.  Scarecrow rolled the idea around in his head, testing its strength.  He looked at himself, at his construction and form.  He must have had creators.  How else could I have come to be if not by design? And if I have creators, that light must belong to them for how could anyone but those who brought me life hold anything so brilliant in this murky world?  Perhaps that is the light of creation itself…  The thoughts writhed inside his gourd and he felt giddy for a moment, nearly losing his grip on the post. 

Scarecrow shook his head as if to clear it.  He was getting ahead of himself.  Answers would come once he made the pilgrimage to the light.  Sobered, Scarecrow climbed down his post to the soft earth below.  The torn leather boots that were his feet sunk comfortably into the ground as they took his weight for the first time.  He did not mark the trails of goblin feet that traced paths around him.  Instead, he found an alley among the stalks and began his midnight sojourn, marveling at the newness that enveloped him.

Nearly a quarter of the way through the corn, Scarecrow had squatted down.  His ambling walk had overturned a stone revealing something underneath.  He watched in slack jawed wonder as a tight, segmented curl unfurled.  A hundred, pointed pale legs spread out from the sky black plates that fit together to form a curving body tipped with a pair of dangerous looking mandibles.  How his creators could have imagined such a fantastic creature, Scarecrow could not begin to fathom.  Truly, they were beings far beyond him.

Lost in his own curiosity, Scarecrow was watching the centipede skuttle over the rolling soil in search of new shelter when the crash of broken glass and a piercing cry rent away the quiet of night.  Hoots and howls in a sneering, guttural tongue sprang up from beyond the corn.  Scarecrow bolted upright and listened through the wind stirred stalks.  A second shriek found him, and he set off running.  With all the speed his wooded gait would allow, he plowed through the field toward the screams, arms raised to protect his face from the slapping husks.

The chill wind rattled the stalks as he emerged from their boundary.  A wide yard stretched out between him and the white-walled farmhouse.  In the gap, three goblins danced around shouting and calling out in a husky language that Scarecrow could not understand.  As he watched, one of the creatures, an especially squat goblin with greasy black braids, leaned down and tugged a fist sized stone from the earth at her feet.  The goblin tossed it to herself a few times, testing the weight, and then began to spin.  She spun round and round, arms stretched out and picking up speed, until finally she released the stone.  It rocketed towards the house shattering one of the darkened windows with a crash.  The goblin giggled, shouted something nasty sounding into the wind, and staggered dizzily for several paces before she set back to hunting for things to throw.

Scarecrow scanned the pale siding looking for the warm orange light again.  The window that had held it was reduced to shards of glass stabbing out of the wooden frame.  Did they destroy it?  Has it gone out?  It can’t be extinguished!  It can’t be!  His mind reeled, spinning more wildly than the goblin and threatening to veer into panic.  Then he was saved.  It was very faint, but an orange light rimmed the edges of the shattered glass.  It’s safe.  For now…  Scarecrow’s relief sublimated into rage.  These savages!  Don’t they know what they seek to destroy?  Vile enemies of the light!

His eyes flared red and he cast his gaze around for a stick, shovel, or stone.  Anything that he could take up to drive these infidels from this holy land.  His seething eyes fell on a sickle left next to a woven basket at the field’s edge.  It was speckled with spots of rust, but the rest of the curved blade gleamed like divine justice under the silver moon.  Scarecrow scooped up the reaping blade and thrust it into the air in a salute to the hidden orange light.

His leather footfalls and creaking joints were all but silent under the screen of the goblin war cries.  His triangular eyes narrowed to vengeful slits and he slunk towards his first target.  The squat goblin had found something worthwhile in the dirt and was bent over trying to yank it free.  Scarecrow stepped behind her; his jack-o-lantern grin transformed into a pitiless scowl.  She grunted and struggled with the stone.  He raised his sickle high above his head.  It shone with terrible purpose and the flames that were his eyes blazed bright and hot. 

The heat prickled the nape of the squat goblin’s hairy neck.  A fog of breath hung in front of her trembling lips as slowly she turned her head to look behind.  Their eyes locked.  Nightmarish rancor drenched every groove and blemish on Scarecrow’s face.  He stared deep into her eyes.  He watched as they grew wide and wet with understanding.  Her mouth fluttered open to scream but it floundered in her throat. Then Scarecrow brought the sickle down hard into her neck.

The goblin collapsed to her back, sputtering as she tried to scream through the blood.  With great care, Scarecrow placed a booted foot on her sternum and then shifted his weight to press down.  The squat goblin’s eyes bulged as her hands clawed feebly at the merciless boot.  Scarecrow braced himself and the tore the sickle free ripping a gouge across his victim’s throat.  Blood and bile spilled thick and black on the moon wet grass as the goblin’s eyes rolled wild, searching in vain. 

When the blood slowed, she went still and pale leaving Scarecrow to gaze upon his work.  He peered down at the lifeless thing trying to make sense of the nagging tug in his chest.  A word for what he was feeling surfaced from the depth, but he pushed it aside, refusing to give it the power of a name.  Instead, he lifted his pumpkin chin to once again find the edge of orange light still glowing in the broken window.  All for you, my lords.  I do this for you.

Part 2

Scarecrow stood resplendent and terrible in the moonlight with goblin gore spattered across his tattered vestments.  These creatures had been repugnant things that squealed like pleading swine when he gutted them.  One almost feels sorry for them.  Almost…, he thought while staring down at an eviscerated goblin corpse.  Death dulled eyes, still frozen in disbelief, stared up at him from above a mound of entrails.  His own eyes still fiery red, Scarecrow bent down and retrieved the dead thing’s shield.  It was small and cobbled together from uneven planks of reclaimed oak, but it sat well on his own wooden arm.  He hoisted it into a defensive position and the relaxed before hoisting it again.  He repeated the process a few times with an approving nod.  He liked the weight and feel of it. 

Armed with sickle and shield, Scarecrow stepped onto the back porch.  His own knees creaked like floorboards as he climbed the steps and stood listening at the kitchen door.  It was ajar and lolled gently in the night breeze.  From within there came a clamor like the whole contents of the kitchen were being spilled out onto the floor.  The corners of his jack-o-lantern mouth tipped down and his scowl deepened.

The kitchen was a scene of rampant chaos and destruction.  Shards of clay, porcelain, and glass were all about like a jagged shore.  They were washed with myriad unrecognizable fluids that mixed in swirled shades of gray upon the moonlit floor.  The air smelled of preserves and brine and turning milk.

An island stood among the sea of debris in the form of a much-used table.  Straw packed cartons of jars had been stacked upon it next to piles of serving silver.  Among them sat a goblin looking corpulent in oversized ring mail.  As Scarecrow watched from the door, the goblin waggled his fingers over a wooden carton, the tip of his fat tongue stabbing out from the corner of his mouth in anticipation.  Seemingly at random, he selected a jar and held it up in the beam of moonlight that fell through kitchen window.  He scrutinized the peach slices within for a few moments before peeling back the wax cloth top and taking a long deep sniff.  Almost immediately, his face contorted into a look of absolute disgust and he hurled the jar across the room smashing it on the kitchen wall.  Peach slices slid slowly down among rivulets of syrup.  Then, for good measure, the puffy goblin tossed the whole carton to the floor with a grunt.  The jars within shattered adding their glass and contents to the sea of destruction below.

As Scarecrow stepped in through the kitchen door, the goblin pulled a clay jug from one of the other cartons.  He tugged the cork stopper out of the neck and took a delicate sniff.  A look of absolute glee oozed over his cruel features with a smile that was not capable of looking anything but sinister even at its most elated.

The crunch of Scarecrow’s boots interrupted the goblin’s long thirsty guzzle.  Surprise transformed to rage with a speed that would have make a cobra blush.  The creature bellowed something in its own tongue as it arced back and catapulted the jug at the interloper.  Scarecrow threw his rough shield up, only scarcely managing to block the impact of the heavy vessel.  It shattered dousing his shield and boots in a clear liquid that smelled of strong alcohol and just a hint of turpentine. 

Dripping with hooch, Scarecrow advanced a single step before raising his shield to deflect another missile.  A jar of pickles erupted against his barrier.  It was closely followed by a second and then a third.  Between volleys, he managed a fleeting glance over the shield at the puff ball goblin.  The creature, despite his rather stupid looking appearance, had deftly amassed a stockpile of jars, bottles, and jugs to serve as projectiles.  With a manic howl, the goblin heaved a pint of pickled rhubarb at Scarecrow that sent him ducking behind his shield. 

Eyes burning hellish crimson, Scarecrow charged, knocking back preserves and pickles alike.  He swung hard with his sickle, but the puffed goblin proved more able than the others.  In a swift fluid motion, the goblin dropped the jar and drew a long, notched dagger from his belt.  He parried Scarecrow’s attack with the same motion.  The veteran raider then shifted his weight to his front foot nimbler than a dancer and poured that momentum into a potent thrust.

The stab was not sloppy but poised and practiced.  Scarecrow deflected it with his shield, but the force rattled up his arm.  The goblin snarled with a mouth bristling with crooked needle teeth and quite suddenly, Scarecrow understood what the ridiculously puffed-up armor had been trying to tell him all along.  He killed someone much larger than himself for it.  If Scarecrow had been capable of sweat, it would have run cold.

He took a step around the edge of the table bringing himself closer to the goblin and swung again for the creature’s unarmored neck.  With a deft step, the puffed goblin dipped and then lunged inside Scarecrow’s defenses.  Scarecrow felt the sickening edge of the blade as it pieced the straw of his torso and thudded into the wooden frame within. 

Confusion marred over the goblin’s otherwise perfect scowl.  A cut like that would have killed any goblin or any man.  A thrust like that would have earned him Urlfar’s helm.  Yet, Scarecrow stood tall, almost looming, as the notched steel blade pulled back coated with nothing more than straw dust.  The goblin stared into those hateful red eyes while his pulse played a dirge in his pointed ears.

Wrath swelled inside Scarecrow.  He grabbed the contemptable thing by the collar and slammed it bodily onto the kitchen table.  The goblin clawed frantically at the wooden arm that pinned it down as Scarecrow savored the blossoming panic.  With a sharp tug, Scarecrow withdrew the dagger from his chest and carefully aligned it with the struggling creature’s throat.  He watched the muscles tense and relax between desperate screams and gulping hysterical breaths.  An impossibly wide grin spread across the rough flesh of his face.  Then he began to cut.

Part 3

Scarecrow left the severed head on the kitchen table and relieved the body of its oversized ring mail armor.  Donning it took some effort as slipping his pumpkin head through the neck hole was a tight fit, but he prevailed in the end.  Standing at the edge of the hallway that led from the kitchen to the rest of the house, his twiggy fingers felt the boiled leather beneath the rings that covered where the dagger had pierced him.  It was far from a mortal wound, but he still felt pain there while his stuffing began to knit back together.  Even among the killing, it had never occurred to him that he himself could die.  Mortality was a trait he had come to associate with goblins and the commonality grated his conscience like sand.

The hallway ahead was dark, illuminated only by a halfmoon of pearly light from the window above the door.  It had been ransacked just like the kitchen but showed less wonton destruction.  A vase of wildflowers lay shattered on the floor spilling water and petals across the hardwood.  The cabinet on which they had rested was pulled open and its contents scattered.  

Scarecrow stepped across the threshold and the floorboards creaked underfoot.  He paused at the rabble of odds and ends littered in front of the cabinet, tilting his head.  Then he squatted down and scooped up a ragged bit of cloth and stuffing.  It was a doll or had been at least.  Its mismatched button eyes stared back at him from above its placid stitching smile.  He turned it over.  The back had been slashed open and the stuffing half pulled out as if she had been gutted to search her insides.  Monsters, he thought as his eyes bent into melancholy crescents and grew a dim yellow. 

With a twiggy finger he traced the doll’s lifeless smile and caressed between her button eyes.  As he stared, his mind churned.  He could see himself in the doll.  Not literally of course but the fundamentals of his construction where there.  Perhaps he himself was modeled from a form like this when his creators lovingly crafted him.  Would she have been given life too? 

For a moment he felt as though something might break inside his chest and then a familiar inferno burst behind his eyes.  It consumed the heaviness in him and grew to a searing glow.  Sacrilege!  Heresy of the highest order!  How DARE these vermin come to sack the temple of the creator?  Scarecrow’s thoughts roared a psychic scream that rattled through him so powerfully that his wooden bones creaked.  He tucked the dead doll tenderly into the pocket of his ragged trousers as his eyes flamed crimson once more.

A sound pulled him from his vengeful mulling.  It was a heavy pounding as if against a door, loud enough to carry through the floor to the hallway below.  Scarecrow looked up at the ceiling and cocked his earless head toward the noise.  He was still listening hard trying to decern what could cause such a sound when a voice broke through.  “Open the door, sweetheart.  I promise I won’t hurt you.  We’re just gonna have a nice chat.”  The voice was deep and greasy.  There was a pause.  “No?  You don’t want to come out to play?  Well then ol’ Urlfar will just have to come to you!”

There was a sound like slapping feet pounding down the hall and then a hard thud that rattled the ceiling.  The sequence repeated itself once more and Scarecrow sprinted down the hall.  At the far end, he found a staircase leading up to a landing.  As he mounted the stairs, a tall, helmed goblin charged from one side of the landing.  He threw himself bodily against a closed oak door at the far side.  The wooden frame splintered, and the door swung free.  From within, a trio of screams erupted.

“Oi, don’t be like that little ones,” sneered Urlfar, menace spread thick as jelly on his words.  “We’re just gonna have a nice talk.”

Scarecrow thundered up the stairs and vaulted over the railing onto the landing.  Face contorted into a glowing grimace, he gripped Urlfar from behind with both hands and hurled the raider against the wall.  Then silhouetted in the orange glow of the open door, he widened his footing, hoisted his shield, and readied his sickle to face the goblin leader.

Urlfar climbed to his feet, his eyes bugging and spittle foaming in the corners of his mouth.  “I don’t know who the fuck you think you are, lad, but that was the last mistake you’ll ever make!”  The goblin squared his helm, unslung his own shield, and drew a rusty scimitar from his belt.  With a throaty war cry, the goblin raced toward his waiting adversary.

A storm of strikes rained from Urlfar’s scimitar with such dizzying speed that Scarecrow would have found it easier to defend against a hurricane.  The few slashes Scarecrow managed to sneak through the maelstrom were easily deflected by the seasoned warrior.  The onslaught showed no signs of slowing and Scarecrow twisted, slashed, spun, and maneuvered to avoid the chopping strikes while not giving up the doorway to his roaring aggressor.

A grim smile slid into Urlfar’s eyes as he saw his opening.  The Scrap Knight, or whatever the junky construct before him was, lacked cunning.  He could see that now and that gave Urlfar all he needed.  The goblin feigned a cut with his scimitar and watched as the Scrap Knight twisted to block with his stolen shield.  Urlfar side stepped to the right and threw his weight behind his own shield, bashing into Scarecrow and pushing him off balance.  Then Urlfar swung hard with the scimitar at the Scrap Knight’s exposed shield arm.  The blade bit deep notching the wood of Scarecrow’s arm.

A silent howl of pain flashed across Scarecrow’s face as he recoiled from the cutting blade.  Weight already on the back foot, he stepped toward the goblin and lashed with the edge of his shield.  Urlfar ducked beneath the clumsy attempt with a chuckle and swung again at the threadbare cloth of the Scrap Knight’s trousers.  The savage blade sank into the unprotected wood like an axe.

Scarecrow stumbled forward as his eyes went round as full moons and his mouth warped into a tormented grimace.  He dropped both shield and sickle.  The Scrap Knight bent forward and wrapped his arms around Urlfar’s middle.  He arced his back and heaved the goblin upside down into the air.  Urlfar’s dented steel helm tumbled off as the raider swore in surprise.  Then Scarecrow slammed the raider headfirst into the floorboards with all the weight of his wooden frame. 

Urlfar’s head bounced against the floor with a sickening crack.  His vision swam as he lay dazed trying to clear his wits.  Scarecrow climbed on top of the prone raider.  Pressing both knobby knees into Urlfar’s chest, he squeezed the wind from the goblin’s lungs.  The raider gasped for air while fog still clung to his senses.  Twiggy fingers found the lost helm and raised it high above Scarecrow’s head.  His eyes burned bright and wild.  For a moment, when those hellish eyes burned a torrent, Urlfar thought he caught the faintest whiff of brimstone.  Then he thought no more.  Hot blood spattered the landing walls as the Scrap Knight brought the helm down again and again on Urlfar’s face until it was nothing more than pulp and splintered bone.

Part 4

After a while, Scarecrow stood and retrieved his shield and sickle.  He frowned at the blood that was spattered across his chest and arms as he straightened and smoothed his armor.  Scarecrow wished he had time to make himself presentable.  Surely, they will understand, he thought to comfort himself as he turned his gaze to the door.  It had swung nearly closed in the scuffle so that it blocked the room allowing only a halo of soft orange light to escape.  He stepped over the mangled corpse to stand at the doorway.  The color felt warm on his face.

Scarecrow extended his hand toward the door and paused.  He stretched out his fingers and realized they were shaking.  With effort, he curled his fingers into a fist and squeezed until the trembling stopped.  Then gently, almost timidly, he rapped his wooden knuckles on the door.  He reached for the handle and paused fingers hovering just over the metal.  He felt… inadequate.  Am I even worthy?

A muffled sob escaped from the room beyond.  It was followed by a tender but urgent shush.  The Scrap Knight rattled his head and straightened his back.  Squaring his shoulders, Scarecrow gripped the handle and pushed the door open. 

The room beyond was a riot of color compared to the muted midnight shades that washed all the rest of creation.  Furniture made of rich chocolate wood populated the room.  Rose red curtains framed the shattered window.  Shards of broken glass dotted the floor like mirrors, catching the light and making it dance.  A thick down mattress dominated the room and was swaddled in a plush checked quilt over white sheets like red peppermint sweets over a bed of decadent frosting.

His mouth fell open as his soft yellow eyes devoured all the delicious hues.  Scarecrow’s gaze passed hungrily over every corner as he glided into the center of the bedroom.  His head spun dreamily, unable to take all in at once. 

Then there was the sob again.  The Scrap Knight blinked twice and scanned around for the source of the cry.  On the other side of the bed, huddled together was a mother and her two small children.  All three were shaking uncontrollably with silent rivers flowing from their eyes.  As he moved into view, the mother clutched her children to her chest and sobbed something harsh and desperate but unintelligible. 

The creator!  Scarecrow’s eyes went round and yellow.  He fell to his knees.  Here was the creator herself in the company of her angels!  He trembled, overwhelmed by the power of the moment he had longed for all his life.  His pilgrimage and all its trials complete; he would finally understand the meaning of his existence, his purpose in this world of paltry light.  He would soon learn the creator’s grand design and her will.  Now here she sat, something beyond beauty embracing her cherubic angels with her eyes shining in the soft orange light. 

The orange light!  Scarecrow’s eyes drifted from the face of the divine up to the bed side table and there it was.  The light of creation swayed sensually upon the wick of an oil lamp as it spilled its warm essence on the world through a glass chimney.  Scarecrow’s jaw grew slack again as his orbitals widened and the pale light of his eyes swayed in time with the flame.  It’s so beautiful…  Mesmerized, he crawled forward on reverent hands and knees.

A shriek that could have curled cream ripped him from his rapture.  The creator screamed again clutching her angels even tighter to her breast.  She lashed out at him with the heel of her barefoot trying to force him away. 

Confused, Scarecrow skuttled backwards.  Had he broken some boundary, some law of propriety?  Angry for his ignorance, he prostrated himself.  In silent supplication, he prayed his error, whatever it may be, would be forgiven.  Please, let it be forgiven…  He prayed she would understand his actions were out of ignorance, not disrespect.  Slowly and with penitence in his eyes, he lifted his gaze from the floor and back to her.

The mother screamed something at him, but her words were choked out by wracking sobs.  The angels in her arms balled their chubby fists into her night gown and lent their shrieks to the chorus.  She kicked at Scarecrow again and again.  He was well out of her reach but still she flailed.

An ache filled Scarecrow’s chest.  What did I do that is so unforgivable?  Eyes sunken to deep wells, he reached out towards the creator.  Twiggy fingers extended; Scarecrow tried to calm her.  He was her child, her loyal servant.  He would do anything to appease her.  He needed her to know that.  Please understand…

The creator snapped her foot back as soon as his splintery fingers grazed her big toe.  She screamed and turned her body to place herself between her children and Scarecrow.  He advanced slowly, hand outstretched and without sound.  She could see the unholy glow inside those jack-o-lantern eyes.  This demon could take her if he must, but she prayed to every god she knew that he would not hurt her babies.

“Stay back!”  She wailed as she groped for anything to put between them and this nightmare creature.  She reached up to the nightstand and fumbled for the oil lamp.  When her fingers found the thick glass base, she whipped it off the table and hurled it at Scarecrow.  “Leave us alone!” she screamed in a voice thick with tears and snot.  The lamp arced over Scarecrow and impacted the wall shattering into a spread of burning oil.

Scarecrow jumped back.  He saw the horror on her face.  Her abject disgust for him was etched in every groove and ridge.  He was an abomination to her.  He saw that now.  Somewhere deep inside his straw chest, he felt something crack.  A deep ache spread throughout his whole being.  His own maker would destroy the light of creation out of sheer hatred for him.  A heaviness settled into this body and all of him wished she had made him capable of tears.  But alas, she had kept that luxury for herself.

I don’t belong here, he thought pulling himself to his feet.  The ache in his chest made his limbs feel sluggish but he shuffled over to the bed.  Trying not to listen to the sobbing woman and her children, the Scrap Knight pulled the quilt from the mattress, ambled over to the splash of burning oil, and smothered it.  He left the quilt crumpled on the floor before staggering out the bedroom door.

With no purpose left to him, the Scrap Knight wandered out of the house and into the fields beyond.  There were no answers to be found here.  No higher truths to be uncovered.  There was only an ugly, darkened world left to him.  That’s where I belong, with the other ugly things, he thought as he shuffled away from the valley. 

He was nearly at the tree line when the first light of dawn bubbled up over the mountains.  Too numb to be startled, he settled himself onto the wet grass to watch with detached curiosity.  Soon a wash of powder pink painted the cottony clouds.  The mountains transformed from a jagged line of deep shadow to a rolling spill of purples and blues that were eventually crowned by a radiant disc of the purest gold.

As rich hues and subtle shades filled the sky, the disc spilled its honey light over the rim of the summits.  It flowed down the slopes, across the valley, and washed over him with a rush of warmth that ran up his wooden bones.  His rind lips parted as he watched.  When the warmth of the morning had finally driven the chill from his straw chest, those same lips curved upward into a smile nearly as wide and warm as the sun itself.  She didn’t destroy it after all.  Hers was but a mote, a minor imitation.  This was the real light of creation!  The Scrap Knight sat on the slope in the brilliance of the dawn reveling in all the beauty it held.

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