Size / / /

The leader of the Geats, Hygelac's thane,

Beowulf craved a food-meal with a hunger,

greater than any thirty men.

He rode steadfast for fifty-eight days,

accompanied by eleven warriors

rigged in shirts of chain mail.

Their decorated armor glinted in the light

as they followed their mighty leader.

They arrived at Heorot deli,

there was not a deli more magnificent or

with more varieties of meat from the Boar's head,

the symbol adorning the warriors' decorated helmets.

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, rewarded his men

for their bravery with golden rings and decorated shields.

Lo! The party entered through the hinged-barrier,

the door,

while one valiant Dane ally was posted outside.

The group roamed deep within

searching through the mist-band

for the makings of a fine banquet.

Wiglaf, son of Weohstan, carried

cans of the most delicious meat, sea-chicken.

Hygelac's thane, alone. sought the precious mead

in decorated pitchers, a treasure that

would surely put the band in high spirits.

Hellmann’s mayonnaise was on the list as well.

Beowulf's task was daunting and perilous.

The warrior challenged the frigid air of the ice-closet

with the body heat of forty men and emerged victorious.

The Geat leader announced:

"My task was daunting and perilous, but I challenged

the frigid air of the ice-closet and my body heat

of fifty men helped me emerge victorious!"

Once the gathering was completed,

a great feast was held in celebration of

the warriors' success.

Poets, who happened to be shopping for cold

cuts at the exact moment, stopped to sing

adventurous tales for the Geats, while a traveling

orchestra of harp players conveniently passed by

and provided musical accompaniment with little preparation.

The generous feast was over and

the Divine lord guided the warriors' on their return.

They approached the exit

and Beowulf, grandson of Hrethel spoke:

"We have gone through with a glorious endeavor

and been much favored in this fight

with hunger we dared to face."

The night-stalker crept behind the counter

going unseen by Hygelac's retainers.

The God cursed creature, descendent of Cain,

bane of mankind, the shopkeeper,

demanded an unwarranted set of gifts,

a treasure of decorated iron and paper

for his ringing-box.

Many a warrior had fallen pray

to the demon's company of blue-clothed

kinsmen and their iron hand-restraints.

War was looming for the weather-Geats

but the Almighty Lord was weaving them

a victory-textile.

Beowulf, resolute in his decorated helmet,

drew his sword to match the scourge

of the earth's black C-shaped weapon

attached to a spiraled cord.

The demon spoke into the hell-device:

"Help, Police! There are a bunch of

guys with weapons in my store

threatening to attack me!"

The prince of the war-Geats

wielded the hilt and swung

resolutely in an arc.

The hell spawn, spry and scrappy, dodged

and began to eye-rain in the corner.

The strongest, bravest,

most attractive of warriors, Beowulf,

swung his blade again and severed

the demon’s head.

Blood sprayed onto the elated swordsman.

The victory over the shopkeeper

prompted another feast.

Poets and harp players performed

more epic songs of heroism.

A sudden shot sfrom soutdoors

stopped selebration swiftly.

The Dane, Hrethric, son of Hrothgar,

grandson of Half-dane,

great grandson of Beow,

great-great grandson of Shield,

brother-in-law of Ingeld the Heatho-Bard,

collapsed into the entrance.

Blood flowed freely from his wound.

Beowulf, as wise as he is mighty,

did not grieve for Hrethic.

He sought vengeance against

the poets and harp players. Seven Geats

fell in battle and Beowulf, the Geat Captain,

crushed his remaining enemies.

He gripped his final foe’s wrist

and with the strength of eighty men,

ripped it from the arm socket so he could play harp no more,

for he was dead as well.

In celebration of his victory,

Beowulf had another feast.

A mighty voice roared from outside:

"This is the Police, Give up. We have you surrounded!"

Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, roared with a mightier voice:

"Shut your word-hoard! I am Beowulf!

My heroism knows no bounds!"

The police replied:

"Come out with your hands up!"

And Beowulf, with his decorated megaphone, announced:

"I made a pledge to retrieve the severed hands

that crushed my Geat kinsmen and if I should fall

and suffer death for the cause, take care of

my young company and return my treasures to Hygelac!"

The lesser voice responded:

“What?”




Tarun Shanker is a student at New York University and writer of film, comics, prose, and sketch comedy. He is also looking to purchase a device that stops time. He can be reached by email at: tks227@nyu.edu.
Current Issue
18 May 2020

“Have you seen the DEATH/GRIP Challenge meme?” Benito Oliveira said. “Yeah, it’s pretty funny,” she said. “It’s people pretending not to kill something with their off hand,” he said, as though she hadn’t responded.
By: Johnny Compton
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Johnny Compton's “The DEATH/GRIP Challenge.”
One spring day, My grandfather caught the universe that just revived.
By: Jong-Ki Lim
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Jong-Ki Lim's “The Fall of Snakes.”
Issue 11 May 2020
By: Gabriela Santiago
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Ashley Bao
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 4 May 2020
By: Vida Cruz
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Raimo Kangasniemi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 20 Apr 2020
By: Tamara Jerée
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: L. D. Lewis
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: L. D. Lewis
Issue 13 Apr 2020
By: Jo Miles
Art by: Galen Dara
By: Jo Miles
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jasmeet Dosanjh
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Jasmeet Dosanjh
Issue 6 Apr 2020
By: Elizabeth Crowe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Shuyi Yin
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Shuyi Yin
By: Nome Emeka Patrick
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Mar 2020
By: Jason P Burnham
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Tara Calaby
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Kaily Dorfman
By: Camille Louise Goering
By: Brian Beatty
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Kaily Dorfman
Podcast read by: Brian Beatty
Issue 23 Mar 2020
Issue 16 Mar 2020
By: Lisa Nan Joo
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Thompson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
100 African Writers of SFF - Part Fifteen: Ghana
Issue 9 Mar 2020
By: Leah Bobet
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Emily Smith
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Load More
%d bloggers like this: