Saturday, July 19, 2008


Glenn G. Thater

We never knew how it had gotten in. The drawbridge was up, the portcullis down, the guards all alert at their posts along the wall, the stout oak and ironbound door of the keep locked and barred securely for the night. The doors to our chambers were closed and locked and guarded by picked men as always and ever. The windows were secured against the night air. Yet this fiend from the depths gained entry through all with nary a sound and no call to alarm.

In my slumber I heard not a sound, not a creak of a floorboard, not a rustle of the drapery, not a squeak of a door - which makes little sense since I am the lightest of sleepers. My senses, that of a warrior, borne and honed of olden times have ever served me well in the cities, in the wild, and on endless campaigns. But this night they failed me.

My first awareness that something was awry was the smell. Would that I could say that it was some horrid barrow stench of death, some vile putrescence of the pit that could boil a good man's blood and send his soul screaming to the heavens. But no, to my shame the pungent odor was pleasant, even appealing. It called to you. It made you to draw near to take it in, luring you forward, beckoning you forth to savor it - dear gods – even to consume it! What madness! That a demon from the ninth hell, some ghastly ghoul of darkest nightmare could cast such a spell upon me and my lands!

I sprang from my bed, my beloved Lady fair tossing fitfully beside me. And there the creature stood - at the foot of my bed - in all its graven horror, borne of the old world, its time long past before the very birth of mankind. It had a shape akin to a tall broad man. Cloaked in robes of red and cloth of gold, the demon stood almost a regal figure. But its face! Dear gods, when I looked upon its face my mind near shattered. My sanity crushed. For a moment I knew not who or where I was. The only shred of sanity I could cling to as I gazed into those demoniac eyes was that I must protect my true love from this monster, this fiend out of hell. I cannot begin to describe the beast's features though they be etched into my mind's eye for all my days - save to say they were rigid and stoney, without life or warmth or any semblance of humanity.
Its face frozen forever in some monstrous grin as if its very head were carven from a block of stone and painted to resemble a living man! And atop its head – a crown of gold!

This surely was the prince of hell himself, come up from the depths to rend my immortal soul and feast upon my mortal body. It spoke not a word, standing as a statue in all its evil glory. It merely extended its hands - a wooden aspect did they too have - holding forth some token of its dark power - some forbidden fruit that if touched would condemn a goodly man's soul to the depths for all eternity.

But I would not go lightly unto my doom. I would defend my love and my life and my clan and the good people of Bergher until my dying breath against this outrĂ© thing and the evil it represented. I grabbed my ancestral sword from beside the bed and leaped at thing screaming the ancient war cry of Clan McDonald as I struck my blow. Before my blade struck home, the demon king leaped aside with greater speed and agility than any mortal could possess. In the blink of an eye it was at and through the window – crashing through the glass and plunging into the night. I raced to the sill and leaned out – but no broken figure lay far below on the stony walk. No blood, no trail or trace of its passing. The Demon King of Bergher as it came to be called had vanished, no doubt only to return and plague us on other cold hungry nights. But the fiend had left its evil gift. Fallen to the floor in its escape was a strange object that looked of bread and meat. I leaned down before it and knew that from this thing had come that strange alluring odor, what I can only describe as akin to fresh beef broiled to perfection over an open fire. Fearing it was death to even touch the thing, I called Brother Donnelin to my chambers who sprinkled holy water upon this deadly artifact. We burned and buried it in the dark wood the following morn and swore to never speak of it again.
Author's Note: Well, do you get it? (Who is the Demon King of Bergher?) Leave a comment and let me know!
Like many of my works of short fiction, I wrote 'The Demon King of Bergher' on my PDA in 35 minutes or so while on a train one morning. This one took a second draft to polish up. I hope that you enjoyed it. Most of my fantasy is darker and more serious than this, but this story gives you at least some small flavor of my writing style.
I have several works in print, available on (paperback and Kindle versions) and Mobipocket. I hope that you'll check them out.
Mr. Thater's books can be purchased from Mr. Thater's profile page, which includes a complete listing of his books can be accessed here:

If you're outside the United States and can't purchase from (or if you just don't want to purchase from Amazon), you can purchase Mr. Thater's Trade Paperback books directly from the Publisher using these links:
Harbinger of Doom (1st Edition):
Harbinger of Doom (2nd Edition):


mantisfists said...

Hey, great story. Reminded me a lot of Lovecraft and Howard (and I mean that as a compliment). Found this from Amazon looking at info about your book. Think I'll pick it up. On a funny note, great as your story was, I kept getting this visual of the Burger King guy standing over the hero holding out a hamburger. :-P Guess I eat too much fast food.

Glenn G. Thater said...


Glad you liked The Demon King of Bergher. I've always thought it was a whopper of a story!

If you buy my book, Harbinger of Doom, please let me know if you like it, and if so, please do post a review on

Since you liked The Demon King, you should read The Keeblear Horror. It's also posted here on the website and is one of my favorite short stories.

glenn g. thater
Author of Harbinger of Doom