Skalden Ord

If I told you that a pastor, a mute, and a graduate student were locked in a hostel in Scandinavia, it would sound like the beginning of a bad joke. I’d take a bad joke over the truth. Hell, I’d take a nightmare even. You could wake up from nightmares; but the spots of blood that congealed on the floor and stained my clothes were too real.

​It wasn’t my blood. It was from the pastor’s wife. I didn’t know her name, and the pastor didn’t look like he wanted to talk about it. The skald’s death was the important part. The poet choked on a piece of ham, and it looked as if the accident would be the death of all of us.

​The creature slammed on the front door again which caused motes of dust to fall from the rafters. The mute stared at me with an expression full of fear.

​She ran to the door and braced it with her body just before the thing slammed into it again. I nodded to the pastor and we pushed a large china cabinet over to the doorway. Whatever tried to breakthrough continued to pound on the heavy wooden door, but for the moment at least, it held.

​“Won’t take long before it’s through,” the pastor said.

​The first words he uttered since his wife died, and they were less than inspiring. I paced around the common room. What occurred outside went beyond the realm of science. I couldn’t figure it out. None of my college courses prepared me for this scenario.

​“What if we try the back again?” I asked.

​The mute shot me a cold look that said don’t even dream about it. She was right. The last attempt didn’t work out well. My gaze flickered toward the pastor’s dead wife, what was left of her anyway. It didn’t work out well at all.

​“What then?” I asked.

​“The words. We need to finish the story. His story,” the pastor said. He pointed to the table where the skald lay slumped over a plate of cold food.

​The skald started the tale, but wasn’t able to finish it. Maybe that was the key. As if in answer, the creature hit the door again. The sharp crack of wood echoed through the hostel and the cabinet crashed to the ground.

​“Do you know the story?” I asked.

​“Beowulf and Grendel. But I don’t know it well enough to finish it.”

​I deflated in defeat. I skipped that literature class. The mute tugged at my shirt. She looked up at me with big eyes that told me everything. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.

​“You know the story?”

​She nodded.


​The door blew to pieces. The room grew quiet as I held my breath. Something coughed out a phlegm filled chuckle.

I read the mute’s lips as she mouthed a single word. Grendel.

Words: 486   Noun: spots   Verb: dream

C.R. Langille has been searching the darkness for the ultimate scare for over a decade. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he began crafting nightmares for others to enjoy. He and his wife live in Utah. They share their home with a Doberman, a Corgi and an ill-tempered cat. His stories have been featured in Dark Moon Books and He's an avid hunter, martial-artist, table-top gamer, and amateur survivalist. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and his site.


  1. Really liked this one, great characters :)

  2. I found this story really intriguing. Great setting and I liked the historical/cultural references, I personally don't see those much. Thanks for sharing!


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