Countdown to Halloween: In the Hall of the Mountain King

27 Oct

Listen to this:

While you read this:

Silver moonlight pried through the windowpanes in the hall of the Mountain King. The hall dozed with it’s inhabitants. All, except for one.

The bed chamber had been muffled by soft tapestries and furs but the in the corridor echoes crowded every alcove. He walked slowly, only a faint echo betraying his footsteps. He crept along the labyrinth of corridors watching carefully every shadow that fell past him.

He crept up to high windows where the moon spied through, splashing silver light across the corridor, leaving no shadow for him to hide behind. Hesitating, he crept into the silver light. From under his feet the floorboards gave a low groan that echoed down the corridor. The hall stirred. He froze, wishing the sound of his heartbeat could melt into the icy moonlight. He surrendered long minutes there waiting for the hall to surrender to sleep again. Finally, a soft breeze from down the passage way enveloped him, then faded away. Slowly, he uncoiled and continued down the passage way.

Open doorways gaped at him as he passed, studying his midnight flight from the palace. He wondered if even the very stones of the hall were watching, waiting to betray him to their King. He allowed his footsteps to fall faster.

At last he approached the grand staircase, with it’s banister of dark wood, intertwined by squat gruesome statues. Frozen they grinned and snarled at him in the moonlight. More of the trollish figures guarded the great door of the entry hall at the bottom of the staircase. Despite their gruesome attendance his heart fluttered with relief. His flight was almost at an end.

The hall awoke as his fingers brushed the wooden railing. From the depths of the hall he heard a deep rumble that broke into a heated roar. All around him the shadows jumped to life. The Mountain King had discovered his escape.
At once he sprang from the banister rushing down the steps. Shadows streamed from the dark edges of the staircase into his path. He leaped over them realizing that the statues lining the hall had come to life, their eyes now gleaming like the silver moonlight. He felt a pair of gnarled hands grab his feet and he tumbled.

He crashed to the bottom of the staircase, his breath beaten from him. A moment passed and he felt a pair of crooked hands grab for him. He kicked out and his feet delivered a solid blow. Another pair of hands reached for his arms, and he pummeled them away. More hands grabbed for him, pinning one of his arms to his side. With his free hand he grabbed at his knife and lashed out. He saw the trolls skirt away from the blade, disappearing into the shadows. The hall echoed with their laughter. With all of his strength and speed he bolted across the entry way to the door.

They fell on him in a swarm, howling like animals, locking their spindly fingers around him. His feet were yanked beneath him again knocking him to the floor before the great door, his knife springing from his hand. He flailed, but they surged upon him, grimy and fetid, holding him fast to the cold stone floor.

Silence echoed through the hall. Iron fingers loosened their grip and slunk back into the shadows. He rolled over and found himself looking up into the glare of eyes flashing with the same silver gleam. Above him towered the Mountain King wielding a club of solid stone. Terror seized him as the great form raised up high. The blow struck his head and all was lost in a dream of shadow and moonlight.

~Robin

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