The Skeleton Warrior’s Retirement

The most vile and hideous beings gathered at midnight in a clearing near the tomb of an ancient war criminal. Mugs of mead spilled down the beards of orcs and half-men. Boars roasted, turning on spits made from the spines of sailors. The greatest warrior in the army of the dead was retiring, taking up golf and bird watching.

A dark wizard gave the skeleton warrior a silver watch that slid around on his flesh less wrist. The trolls of the Eastern foothills dragged one thousand human skulls to the party and used them to spell the skeleton’s name in the dirt. A demon gave him a new eye-patch; it was leather, made from the skin of an angel’s face. The skeleton warrior sniffled and was made speechless.

The skeleton warrior wrapped his bejeweled sword in fine amber cloth and buried it in a pine coffin. He turned to the horde and raised his bony hand. He hoped that the blood dried on the blade of his sword would fertilize the earth and out of it would grow something even more wicked than himself.

The crowd howled and wept into the sleeves of their armor.

The skeleton warrior climbed onto his horse, the winged demon horse, Sorrow.

Every man and beast and soulless creature there, grieved that the skeleton would never again decapitate ten men at a time, ride through an angry fire, gnash on the brains of a king or make a virgin faint with his gaunt and evil smile.

The skeleton warrior squeezed the reins, tucked his body close to his horse, and galloped towards Florida.

Ryan Dilbert is a teacher and a stand-up comedian. He is a senior contributor to The Footnote and the editor of Shelf Life Magazine. His writing has appeared in Flashquake, Six Sentences, Red Fez, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.