by Dustin R. Packwood
They hung from his ceiling on hooks and clattering chains, the marble floor of his chamber slick with their blood, piss, and excrement. The smell was only slightly less offensive than the pitiful gasps for breath, sobbing cries for mercy, and tormented screams that left their doomed mouths as he plied them for information. Some - usually the women and children - broke easily enough: just a little pain, only a few nightmares callously whispered into their ears as they swung in lazy circles, suspended by flaps of punctured, dying skin. It was the warriors that had to be broken, much like wild horses; the horrors he had inflicted upon them were too gruesome for even him to face, so he always suppressed them as soon as he created them. He justified his actions by reminding himself that all of the information he had ever tortured out of their enemies had been put to good use defending the kingdom and its citizens. But every person that shied away from him or refused to meet his eyes, only served to remind him of the monster he had become.
Dustin R. Packwood, author of The Entertainer, has spent all 24 years of his life wishing for a pet dragon. He continues to believe that the world would be a better place with wizards, magic, and kingdoms.