Ten Thousand Lions by Catfish McDaris

Blood curdling screams filled the inky darkness. Ravenous hyenas ripped out the throats and played tug of war with the entrails of careless travelers. Venturing into the forbidding forest, death would not be denied, it whispered into the eerie silence. The village worried about the forest of hell, they sent for a special priest to rid them of the evil eyed creature. A meeting was held in the town hall, all goals explained, they wanted their simple life back. The priest blessed them all, then warily approached the church. In the bell tower lived the dreaded monster. It wasn’t human, it closely resembled a zombie werewolf with wings and one gigantic eye. The creature craved living flesh, it could smell and hear great distances. The priest had two chances, slim and none. His faith in God gave him the courage of ten thousand lions. He’d been up against other entities of evil like this one in Peru and Africa. The priest heard the animal take flight. The moonlight was temporarily blocked overhead. The creature smelled an easy meal but sensed something was different about this human. The man took out his instruments and started singing a gospel song, the creature flew close overhead. The priest rammed his crucifix sword upward through the evil beast, it bellowed and shrieked in a hell fired fury. The man of God threw Holy Water upon the atrocity, its skin was scorched and burnt. The beast shriveled into ashes. The priest packed away his tools like a journeyman from God. He went and told the people that it was safe to return their normal lives. They fed him fresh eggs, biscuits, and buttermilk and he walked east toward the sunrise.

Catfish McDaris won the Thelonius Monk Award in 2015. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is from Albuquerque and Milwaukee.

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