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A Prophecy Fulfilled

Stephen C. Curro is an unabashed nerd who lives in Windsor, Colorado. He has been writing stories and poems ever since the fourth grade. He has previously published a story with 365tomorrows as well as a poem with Acorn Haiku. He is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel and writes educational materials for the animal advocacy non-profit Taproot Guru. When he's not writing, he works as an elementary paraprofessional and a tutor. His hobbies include collecting fossils, scuba diving, and plotting to trick his dad into watching Harry Potter.

No one knew where the legend had come from; only that a beast called the Winged Terror would come one day, and on that day he would eat.
No one took this old prophecy seriously. It was a story used primarily to frighten naughty children. That changed when a red comet streaked across the summer sky like a bleeding gash. As the red glow faded, people murmured that it was reminiscent of that old legend they'd all heard growing up.
Two days later an earthquake struck the kingdom. The damage was minor, but the crystal Tower of Starlight was cracked irreparably, casting shards of rainbow light down the streets.
Two signs in two days? Now people were talking.
Four days after that, the Oaken Forest was stricken with the Violet Scourge. The epidemic was easily cured, but the leaves turned a dark purple, and it was said that the trees would bruise when the Winged Terror was near.
Three blatant signs in less than a week was too much.
Mass hysteria overtook the kingdom. Hundreds fled to the countryside and hundreds more escaped to neighboring nations. The king rallied his army to full battle-readiness. Hordes of zealots prowled the streets and called for the sinful to repent lest they be eaten. Families hid behind barricaded doors and prayed for deliverance while local skeptics shook their heads at the hullabaloo.
Finally, after three days of chaos, the Winged Terror appeared in the center of the city. He arrived in a dramatic burst of flames and smoke, standing nine feet tall with reptilian skin and enormous bat-like wings. People screamed in horror and frantically ran for their lives.
As soon as the king learned that the Beast had materialized, the aging monarch personally led his army to confront the creature. When the Beast saw the king's army approaching, he smiled with enthusiasm... or was it relief?
"Greetings!" the Beast called. "At last I have arrived! Though, I don't quite understand why everyone is panicking." He looked around in vexation.
The king quivered in anger. "You came here to destroy us!"
The Beast looked shocked. Offended, even. "Destroy you? I would never harm innocent people! I was just hoping someone could direct me to a decent lunch spot. A pub, perhaps?"
The king's eyes widened. "Lunch?!"
"Yes," the Beast replied. "I came to eat."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Author Comments

A few months ago, the idea for this story struck me late at night while I was delirious with a sinus infection. I was thinking about stories that foretell the coming of evil, and I wondered, what if in the end the evil demon turned out to be a nice guy who just wanted a bite to eat while passing through? Shortly after, I was compelled to write this story. I want to thank my parents for their never-ending love and support in all my wacky adventures, and my friend and fellow writer Gabriel whose feedback helped me put the finishing touches on this piece.

- Stephen Charles Curro
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