Friday’s Short Story: The Barbarian

The barbarian stood atop the pile of bodies. He did not think it too many. In fact, he did not think it enough so he went looking for more bodies to add to the pile.

He ventured into the lingerie department. He looked at the scraps of lace and cotton and felt nothing but rage. Rage was pretty much his default emotion so we should not read too much into that. He found two ladies behind the tills and slaughtered them mercilessly. Their gender barely registered with him, and I think we might see that as a positive, even feminist act.

It would be very easy to say the barbarian had no business being in Marks and Spencer in the first place, but of what use is that to us? He was there. We can look into the root causes of his presence: a quest, a wizard, a portal etc. etc. A direct line of cause and effect can certainly be plotted there, with hindsight, starting with a dread prophecy uttered on the seven hundredth day of the third endless winter on the desolate frost-scorched plains of the Blüdrealms and ending with, for example, Malcolm Tovey’s head on a pike in the men’s formalwear department of a major high street retailer in Middlesbrough, but of what use is that to Malcolm?

And by extension: of what use is my writing this, to anyone? And yet write I feel I must. Are these not the songs we must sing? Of blood, and steel, and slacks. (The slacks suffered minimal damage, but were sadly no longer saleable.) And so my song is sung and cannot be unsung, or de-sung or whatever.

The barbarian is still in there, if you want him. He’s in the food hall, covered in bits of staff and customer, staring in wonder and dread at a packet of prewashed kale. He’s not my problem anymore.

The Barbarian
by Harris
more tiny tales