By David Webb.
Unferth watched the heavy doors of the mead hall close and was glad that the bitter wind had been shut firmly outside. The fire was warm, his cup held mead and there was a storyteller sitting beside the fire to help the evening along. The hall also held warriors, houecarls, war-ready but as happy to be out of the snow as everyone else. Soon, there would be meat.
And then there was a knock at the door. Unferth sought his Liege’s eye, saw the nod, hurried to unbar the stout door. Mindful of the room’s warmth, Unferth squeezed out to meet the visitor.
In the darkness stood a monster. Taller than any man, with great luminous eyes and wicked claws to rend and rip, the mouth as full of teeth as the night sky with stars, it stood swaying and eyeing Unferth hungrily.
“Yes?” said Unferth.
“Mate,” said the beast, ” it is proper cold out here. I won’t eat anyone if I can sit by the fire.”
Unferth wrapped his cloak about him.
“This is the last time, Grendel,” said Unferth, “people will talk.”
English, and slightly apologetic about it, David lives somewhere in the the mists and marshes of the Midlands where he’s working very hard on beating his addiction to alliterative announcements. He fits writing in around a job and the normal 21st century pressures but tries to find time for trips to the past, the future and the weird present in the company of favourite authors.