Escape By: Michael McKenna
It was end of May of the year 299 A.D. when they first arrived.
Their Emporer sent a garrison to my island, to bring me back and display me in their colosseum.
When the soldiers arrived, this place looked like a leper colony to them.
All the inhabitants here hate me and I hate them because they are stupid. They wait for me to go to sleep (I go to sleep because their nonsense is so annoying) and then they plan out these complex, long winded professions of love for the one who looks the prettiest to them.
They live in absolute fear of me most of the year except for two months, May and October, when I hinernate like a bear to be free of their rhymes and poems and flowers and gifts.
I get so little pleasure from observng them, I'd prefer to sleep.
The islanders have a name for me. They call me
Ille Repudiare which is Latin for scorned one. I appear when true love is expressed in any way.
I break up the party so to speak. I make them stop. Then I disappear but they never know if I'm coming back, or when, so they have to wait till I hibernate or be very clever and show their love in a series of games that are not real love but gamesmanship.
It is suddenly the morning of June 1st. My hibernation is at an end as are the festivities they celebrate when I am asleep. The garrison of soldiers is allowed to relax. Their prefect was angry the early season winds brought them to the island so late. The trip was arduous and he allows them time to write home. Some of them write letters to their girlfriends. I suddenly attack those foolish few who do. Ha! they wanted me, they got me! I attack them for the true love in their hearts. They have their long Roman noses bitten off in a feeding frenzy! Blood is everywhere. Then, however I escape back into the depths of my cave. Over which is built an enormous mansion, built by the first occupant of this island to please his nagging wife.
Locals are recruited by the army to help find and kill or capture me. One lad, suicidal over my existence because he is in LOVE, is promised passage to Egypt with his girl friend if he helps to find me and/or kill me. Good luck!
His girl is at the port. She wants to leave because she is still uncertain if he truly loves her or not. She suspects he does. Her man visits my cave with nothing left to live for except the companionship of a Christian monk. The monk and this lad get separated in the labyrinth/mansion built over my home. Half starving, deep in the bowels of the earth, he longs for his love and so of course I appear.
A fight ensues. He is weakened by hunger and is brutally beaten and loses his ear to me.
He thinks of his mother, who lost her eye years earlier to me because she so loved her son and great love fills his heart. I roar angrily.
We make a deal or my eyeballs will explode in rage.
He and the monk agree to go to the town and defend my right to exist. I agree to hide until I hear back from them.
The next day, the lad is sent to Egypt a hero. The monk returns. I feel betrayed but not completely. Maybe I can tolerate the monk's way of love.
It makes less sense to love the invisible but he keeps his word and desires only the truth.