By Dhruv Pai, Age 13

Below the earthen floor Beyond the walls of stone Deep in the earth Past the place where spirits moan

Through the cobbled gates of hell Past the devils and demons Into the empty nether well Past the guardian daemon

Into the endless void of evil Through the wall of death Inside the prison of ultimate darkness There stirs of a memory of an unpaid debt

And as you cast your searching gaze Something catches your eye A glimmer of light in the darkness An insignificant fly

Yet something is odd about that little light The darkness around it is dark And no heat comes from the light A twisting turning spark

And it speaks of death And it speaks of a wanting It speaks of countless opportunities As if it was in a haunting

But beneath that sad surface of loss There is a rolling frothing fire Straining to get out from its prison An anger that will never tire

And as in still thought we stood

The orb pulsated and flamed Then burst in an explosion of light And a figure burst forth, untamed

With eyes of flame and claws of steel With wings of darkness and teeth of flame A mighty beast burst forth

A spirit incapable of shame

It was an incarnate of pure evil The apocalypse simply put A beast of death and emptiness A form of destruction in a body of soot

“I’m free, free at last!” The creature shouted And with a turn of its deep black head The pits in its head were focused on you And you were overcome with a sense of dread

Your hand searched your scabbard Feeling for your sword And with a flash you found your hilt All feelings of fear ignored

With a flash of steel and crimson gold Your weapon was by your side The only thing you had to fight this darkness Your single oafish pride

And with heart in your hands And hands on your weapon You faced off this mighty beast This creature of poisonous venom

And fro and away with a running start You leapt up to meet the beast And fought with all your heart And as you went through his energy decreased

Until finally you got a hit And you felt him shudder Then you struck again and finished him off with another

Victory you felt soaring through your wings And true joy came over you A feeling that had been long forgotten A feeling that would come to only a few

Don’t succumb to the beast, quit smoking!