Jennifer Hirtler Project #3

Eng 2480 November 1

Stick it to the Chimaera 3374

Stick it to the Chimaera

The land of Thanatos was chill all year round. The only fruit the villagers had ever managed to grow were strawberries and grapes. They grew these fruits during the hot season, or as foreigners called it, the hardly-above-freezing season. The people of Thanatos lived short, terrible lives, but every Thanat was able to smile at the end of each day and proclaim, "At least I don't live in Schist!"

There has been much speculation as to how the city of Schist was named. Some say the city was named after a famous scientist who stumbled upon mathematics one day and from that day forth, made the entire student body miserable and angry. Most, however, seem to favor the story that the city of Schist was named "Shist" by an illiterate nine year old who could not for the love of him spell "Shits" properly. The name, or so it is believed, was officially changed to "Schist" when an archaeologist discovered huge amounts of the metamorphic rock in the city and wrongfully believed that the rock was the city's namesake.

However the city received its name, it was agreed upon by all people who lived, or were in the process of dying in the city that the name Schist was certainly fitting. Life in Schist was the shits. It all began at an obscure time, when a strange event occurred. No one knows exactly what occurred or why. It would probably be less sketchy if the story began in the middle, the beginning being not much more than an acid trip. Which is how most stories get started anyway.

It was a bright autumn day in Schist and the children at Jerome's Academy for Children and the Like were playing Hide and Seek. A young boy named Roark was the seeker and he was having a bit of difficulty trying to find his friends. The game had been going on for about twenty minutes and Roark had only found Kevin, the paste-eater. He was hiding in the paste cabinet.

"Do you have any more paste?" Kevin asked, fidgeting.

"No! I don't have any paste," said Roark.

"Well..."

"What?"

"Do you mind if I go back to the cabinet? You're not finding any others and uh..." Kevin glanced back at the school building.

"Go!" Roark rolled his eyes. He was beginning to become irritated with the Hide and Seek prowess of his friends. Roark had always hated the game anyway. Hiding like a coward was not his style. He often felt that he did not belong in Schist for this very reason. Sighing, Roark made another round at the playground.

As Roark crawled around under the playground equipment, he noticed the wind change directions and became alert. He rolled skillfully out from under the equipment and stared as the sky changed from a light blue to a sickly red. All around him, Roark heard the screams of his friends coming out of their hiding places and running towards City Hall. Roark quickly followed suit.

The entire city had assembled at City Hall, which was really not a hall at all, but a giant piece of land that refused to yield crop. Roark searched the group and found his family. His mother was scowling at him, probably because he had taken so long to arrive at the Hall. Roark's little sister smiled at him. She had yet to realize what everyone else had- that he was a failure. Roark smiled back and turned his attention back to the sky, which was now screeching.

A thousand nails clawed a nonexistent chalkboard as the sky changed from the sickly red to a deadly purple. Everyone at the City Hall stared at the sky, waiting for what they knew would come. Sure enough, a giant creature descended from the sky, its lizard-like tail whipping through the air. Its falcon-like wings were powerful and its hooves promised an injury. Tiger stripes lined the creature's back. All of these features were quite imposing to the small city of Schist but none of these made the residents cower in fear and run in terror. Upon the strong trunk-like neck of the beast was a large, purple, scaly dragon's head. Its eyes were sharp and its ears were keen, but it was the fire it could belch that frightened the people of Schist.

At this point, I'm sure many are wondering why the people of Schist, instead of running away, stayed at the City Hall in one huge bunch, awaiting the monster's descent. This is all very simple. Giant deformed monsters that can spit fire, very generally demand tribute in exchange for either protection or the assurance that they would not raze the city one day when they were bored. And that is what this creature, this Chimaera, demanded.

The creature had finally stopped giving an air show and plopped on the ground like an elephant, only twenty times greater. The Earth shifted beneath the Chimaera's feet and several people in the first rows of the mob fell down. The beast made another piercing screech and blew fire above its head to show off its awesome power. The creature then glanced down at the humans and rolled its eyes. "Sacrifice, please."

The mayor of the city, whose name was Sewer for his mother's lack of imagination, trembled before the magnificent might of the dragon-headed Chimaera. "Y-yes, of c-course. Ah. Any volunteers?" The mayor looked pleadingly at his citizens, hoping someone had a death wish. The mayor felt ill and dizzy. He always hated sacrifices. The Chimaera yawned.

The crowd was silent. The citizens were looking at each other, wondering if anybody would volunteer. When no one did, Mayor Sewer took off his hat and passed it to the nearest person. The hat was passed around and each citizen wrote his or her name on a piece of paper and placed it in the hat. Everybody was required to do this and nobody tried to get away without putting their name in. The people of Schist were not dirty liars and if anyone was ever caught breaking this law, the entire city would guffaw at him and make him the laughing stock of all lands within a two river radius.

The mayor eventually got his hat back with a few hundred pieces of paper in it. He put his hand into the hat and attempted to mix the papers up. He then took out a piece of paper, opened it and squinted his eyes. He had difficulty reading some of his citizens' handwriting. "Ah. Oh. Laurel Rendell."

The noise Roark made was something between a squeal and a squeak. Whatever noise he made, it was not manly. Laurel Rendell was the name of his sister! Roark looked back and forth to his parents, his sister, the Chimaera, to his parents to his sister to Kevin, to the mayor, looking for some sort of answer. His mother slapped him for gawking as his father grabbed Laurel and carried the six year old child to the front of the mob where the mayor and the Chimaera were. Laurel screamed, reaching with futility back to the crowd, asking for help that would never come.

"No! We have to do something, ma! We can't let the Chimaera... eat her!" Roark croaked.

Roark's mother looked at him hard. "This is the way of Schist. We must let the Chimaera take a sacrifice or it will raze our city and destroy us all."

"But that makes no sense! Why doesn't the Chimaera just take what it wants?"

"Shut it, Roark. It is not for you to question our ways," his mother returned.

Roark glared at the Chimaera. He began pushing people out of the way, attempting to get to the front of the crowd. His mother yanked him back by the hair and he made another sound that was not very manly. "Mom, I could stop it!"

"And how will you do that?"

"I'll slay the beast." Roark stared at the creature, coming up with some sort of strategy.

"You can't. The Chimaera cannot be killed."

"What's that boy of yours doing, Amy?" An elderly woman asked, waving her cane at the boy.

"He thinks he can kill the Chimaera," said Roark's mother.

"Ain't he got no brains? Ain't he got no book learnin'? Ain't nobody never kill no Chimaera in none of history, boy, and don't you forget it," said an older man who was standing near the lady.

Roark fumed inside. The people of Schist had no sense of what was right and what was wrong. Letting a giant creature eat citizens regularly was definitely not right. Roark bit his lip and it was then, as the Chimaera ripped and tore at his sister's lifeless corpse, as the blood flew through the air and landed on the desensitized audience- it was then, as Kevin began to choke on his paste, that Roark realized what he had to do. He had to destroy that which could not be destroyed. He had to slay the Chimaera.

The next day at Jerome's Academy for Children and the Like, Roark assembled his friends and informed them that they were not going to play a game of Hide and Seek. The boy made sure he had everyone's attention, even going so far as to take the paste away from Kevin and his new followers. "Everyone listen up, this is important."

The children were silent, either rolling their eyes or tapping their feet. They were all pretty impatient and didn't want their precious time wasted by Roark, who they all believed to be incredibly fail and basically an overall loser.

"I am going to destroy the Chimaera, and I'll need help. Who's with me?" Roark said with energy, hoping to instill some sort of purpose in his words. He needed his friends to believe he meant what he said, to believe he was committed to his decision and to believe that he'd make a good leader. When his question was met with nothing but a few wry smiles and Kevin's fidgeting, Roark frowned.

"You can't kill a Chimaera, Roark. Don't be an idiot. You'll get yourself killed," advised a girl just a few years older than the boy.

Roark scowled. "Everything can be killed!"

Roark was dismayed by the response of his friends. Some of them shook their heads slowly, others slipped away to play a game. Not a single person said anything to suggest they wanted any part of what he had planned.

Roark sighed and handed the paste back to Kevin, who devoured it quickly. Pretty soon, Kevin was the only one left from his group of friends. "I don't know what I'm going to do, Kev."

Kevin took his fingers out of his mouth and put them back into the container of paste. "Dunno, Roark. Got quite a bit on your plate. I got an Uncle who wanted to kill Chimaeras once ya know."

Roark perked up at this. "Really? Who? Where?"

"Name is Fizzle Trailback. He live down by the ocean. He got himself a factory now." Kevin glanced at his now-empty can of paste and frowned. "Gotta go now. Later Roark."

Roark frowned and turned in the direction of the ocean. Maybe this Fizzle Trailback had some answers. Kevin said he had a factory. Was he producing something that would help defeat the Chimaera? Roark began making his way to the ocean, keeping an eye open for any factories he might see. If the people in Schist wouldn't help, he'd go to the ocean and see what Fizzle had to say about the matter.

Roark couldn't have missed the giant factory if he had tried. Smoke billowed out the factory in four places, creating a giant cloud above the building. The building itself looked in good repair. There were actually two people cleaning the factory when Roark arrived. The two men waved at him and pointed him in the direction of the main door. When Roark found the main door, he was astounded. The door was as tall as the three story building. The boy gripped the door handle and pulled with force. He was immediately thrown on his back, the door having been far lighter than he had anticipated. When Roark stood up, he almost tripped over a very small man who came to his knee.

"Young man!" the tiny man said, his voice squeaking. "Do watch your step!"

"O-oh. I'm sorry. Do you know where I can find Fizzle? Fizzle Trailback?" Roark stumbled, confused.

"I am he. Fizzle Trailback. And who are you?"

"Oh. I'm Roark Rendell. I was wondering if... you could tell me anything about killing Chimaeras."

Fizzle Trailback's giant eyebrows bunched together. "No! Can't be done. Give it up, kid. Don't bother." Fizzle began to fidget, looking this way and that, trying to avoid Roark's eyes.

"Look. I need to destroy the Chimaera and I hear you were trying to once upon a time. I need help."

"Sure you do kid! You need help. You're hurt in the head. The hide of a Chimaera is impenetrable. Give it up," Fizzle practically growled, looking at Roark with meaning. "You aren't going to give it up, are you?"

"No."

"Fine. Look I know all about Chimaeras. Their only weak spot is in the eye. But which eye? That's unknown. And that's the thing. It might be the right, it may be the left. And you won't know till you strike. And if you strike wrong, or strike bad, or basically do anything but strike with JUST the right amount of force in the correct spot... you die."

Roark gulped. "That it?"

Fizzle shrugged and led Roark around his factory, pointing out all of his new inventions and creations. Roark looked around, awed by the technology the short man had created. There were shards of glass everywhere. Roark could only imagine what brilliant technology must have been used to reduce glass to such a minuscule size.

Bent bolts, duct tape and bubblegum wrappers were everywhere. Fizzle Trailback must be a really innovative guy. Fizzle pointed several things out to Roark, one of which blew up a few seconds after he had seen it. Must be testing bombs, Roark thought to himself. The men who were working on the exploding experiment rushed out of the room coughing, one of them coming back to spray the contraption with a fire extinguisher.

"Now this is all fancy and great, but what you want for fighting Chimaeras, is this." Fizzle picked something up and set it in Roark's hands.

Roark closed his hand over the object and frowned. "A... stick?"

Fizzle scowled. "That's not a stick, boy. It's a wand."

"It's a stick," Roark stated. The boy had seen many sticks in his life and was pretty sure he knew what he was talking about. The thing was a stick.

"This is a grand invention, boy. Made it myself. It is my latest greatest working invention!"

"...What was your first?" Roark asked.

"Uh."

Roark looked back on his tour of the factory with a different light. He was beginning to understand why Fizzle Trailback wasn't a rich inventor. "It was the stick."

"Wand."

"Right, the wand." Roark took the wand and walked out of the factory, being careful not to step on any glass. He was going to have to defeat the Chimaera on his own. Without the city, without Fizzle, and without paste.

Roark walked the lengths of the shore until he came to the forest separating Schist from the more fortunate land of Thanatos. What better place to train than a forest, after all? And so Roark began his training. He wasn't worried about his parents trying to find him because he knew his parents didn't give a damn about him. Ever since he got caught in the obscure bar at the other end of town, his parents hadn't wanted anything to do with him. Roark had thought the bar was for colored people, since the sign had a rainbow behind it. He had entered when he was looking for his friend from Garali, who are a dark-skinned people. Apparently the rainbow had stood for something else no one cared to explain to the boy.

Day after day, Roark commenced in his training, which basically consisted of sitting in one place and waiting for dinner to hop past him so he could pounce on it with the wand, rip the meat off of the rabbit and eat it raw. In addition to this task, Roark began practicing his aim by repeatedly whacking trees with the wand.

As his training progressed, Roark started doing other things like challenging wolves and the occasional mosquito to a wand duel. Roark lost a toe to one of the wolves and a mosquito made him lose hearing in his left ear but other than that, the boy came away from his training unscathed. When he managed to down two birds with one wand, Roark decided that he was ready. Ready to destroy the Chimaera once and for all, avenging the death of his sister and proving to the world that teenagers are not completely useless.

Roark held his wand with pride and practically strutted back to the city of Schist. Roark ignored the strange looks the community gave him as he walked to City Hall. He liked to believe the people looked at him because he appeared dignified and heroic. Actually he pretty much looked like a tiny Sasquatch and the women were herding their children indoors.

When Roark got to the town square he sat down in a meditative position and remained there for what seemed like ten days but was actually only two hours. The sky changed color again and everyone rushed to the City Hall, waiting for the Chimaera to come and take its sacrifice. Roark opened his eyes and looked around at the crowd, which was purposely standing outside a four foot radius around him. He saw Old Man Sasha and his walrus, Bessie. He saw his mother and his father and the lady who lived across the street. He noted every person he knew, every person who depended on him in this moment. At last, the mayor asked for volunteers.

"I volunteer myself, Mayor Sewer." Everyone stared at Roark. The boy began walking to the front of the crowd.

"You can't kill a Chimaera, boy!" A lady screamed at him.

"You're not powerful enough! You're not smart enough!"

"You can't destroy the beast, child, come back!"

"You don't even know how to shower! Come back, kid, save yourself while you can!"

Can't do it, can't do it, can't do it. All Roark had been hearing lately had been "you can't do it!" He was starting to get sick of it. If Kevin could eat paste all day and manage to live a life that was almost normal, then surely Roark could kill a silly tiger, falcon, horse... dragon... thing! Of course he could. He had to. Roark held his wand close and approached the giant beast, which seemed to smile at him.

Roark lifted the stick, and the dragon gave a great blood-wrenching screech which Roark confused for fear. Roark brought his wand up and struck at the head of the beast, shooting for an eye, but the Chimaera was quicker. The beast's tongue lashed out and ripped the wand from the boy's hands. The Chimaera threw it to the floor and bit into Roarks flesh. The boy screamed and cried and asked for assistance that would never come. The last thing he saw before he died, were the cold stares of the citizens of Schist, the shaking of heads, and Kevin, dipping his hand into a bucket of paste.