Two loud bangs emitted from the door. The people inside the house hunkered in their chairs, not wanting to answer the door. Two more loud pounds impacted the door.
“Taxes are due!” The dense door couldn’t keep the voice out.
Outside, a scrawny man stood hitting his knuckles on the door. Strapped to his waist hung a sack full of gold. Behind him stood two men, their stature was quite the opposite of his. The tall mountains of men held clubs that were used when villagers strayed too close to the scrawny man.
The door finally opened, revealing a family with barely anything to their name. The father stood in the door, his hands clenched a small bag.
“Taxes in the bag! This month the cost is 20 gold!” The small man yelled.
“20 gold!? Sir we can’t afford that, it will leave no money for my children to eat.” The defeated father breathed heavily.
“Pay 20 gold or get clubbed, your choice!” The man didn’t stop yelling. Behind him, the two large men stepped forward, clubs at the ready.
“Take it.” The father stated as he deposited the gold into the large sack.
The same event continued through the village. Some families were able to pay, other families weren’t so fortunate. The fathers that couldn’t pay were dragged into the street and beaten. Once the punishment was done, the tax collector took whatever gold they had to them.
The months that continued grew darker. Families were left without homes as the taxes rose and rose, while broken clubs were replaced regularly. There was no brightness in the days anymore. In an act of defiance, certain villagers began meeting in secret. One night, a deal was struck.
“This needs to come to an end! My oldest son was forced to the iron mines just to pay for the taxes!” One man angrily shouted to his neighbors.
“What do you expect us to do? We can’t fight the tax collector; his goons will beat us to death.” Another man spoke, his split lip still not healed.
“There is an option.” A man from the back of the hut spoke up.
“No! We will not have any of your fairytales tonight.” The man that seemed to be the leader shouted.
“The witch is real!” The man from the back matched the leader’s volume. “She cured my daughter last spring, I am certain her beasts can help us!”
The hut grew silent as they all stared at the organizer of the meeting, waiting for a response. Whispers and mumblings spoke of a witch deep in the swamps surrounding the village. She was said to have beasts from before man walked these lands. No one has every truly seen the witch, those that have been aided by her have only received items outside their huts to help them.
Looking out to the fellow fathers of the village, the man sighed. “Fine. Since we have no other options, I will amuse you. Seek out the witch and ask for her aid.”
The following month came too soon. The early morning beauty was shattered with the screeching of the tax collector. His voice echoed throughout the village, bringing dread and despair with it. The two brutes that followed him looked hungry for pain. The village streets were empty, no one dared be caught outside on Tax Day. The first door opened, the father had no gold. His body hit the dirt hard as he was ripped from his home, the two mountains of muscle loomed over him, clubs high above their heads. Behind them the scrawny man laughed with glee.
The beating was more ferocious than ever before. Just before the man’s bones were about to give up, an old woman shuffled into the village. The woman’s wooden staff crunched the dirt with every other step.
“Excuse me, kindly stop what you are doing.” Her kind voice surprised the evil men.
The surprise stopped them only for a moment. Realizing it was a fragile old woman, the beating commenced.
“I asked politely.” Her words fell on deaf ears.
A screech blasted through the village. The sound froze the club wielding goons in place. High above, a winged beast cast a dark shadow over the village. It dove fast and hard toward the muscled men. In a blink one brute stood; the other screamed as he was carried high into the sky. The screaming continued until the man impacted into the earth.
The pterodactyl returned, it’s eyes set the remaining brute. Dropping his club, he ran, but it was not fast enough. With claws gleaming in the sunlight, the beast thrashed the muscular toy high in the air. The winged beast did not catch the falling man.
“You…you will pay for this!” The scrawny man looked smaller than before.
“I pay for nothing fool. You will bother these people no more.” The pterodactyl landed next to the witch as she finished her words.
Fear washed over the mans face as the monster and its owner moved closer to him. “You can’t kill me!”
“That’s a silly statement, you’re just a man.” Her kind eyes scanned the villagers as they watched.
“Killing me will do nothing! Another tax collector will replace me!” Desperation choked his words.
“No. This village is now under my protection, your poison will not destroy this village anymore.”
The pterodactyl screeched once more drowning out the man’s screams. The two flew off deep into the swamp, only the sack of gold remained of the evil.
The villagers embraced the witch in praises and cheers, happiness birthed to life in the village.
Kristofer Fazekas is a former IT specialist and Marine Corps Veteran. During his free time, he began to explore his writing passion. Once he created and published his first comic book through Sympl Books, he knew that writing was his next journey. Kris now spends his days writing flash fiction, short stories, and novels all while recording his podcast.
Kris’s main goal is to assist amateur and up and coming writers during the tumultuous beginning steps in this creative world. You will find a lot of his tips and help at https://kriswritesworlds.com/. Using this website, Kris shows the inner workings of a writer’s mind.
If you enjoy what you are experiencing, you can find a behind the scenes look in Kris’s Patreon, https://www.patreon.com/SymplBooks. All support is much appreciated as Kris continues to build fascinating worlds for everyone to enjoy.