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Demon Rat

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Chapter 1

The logs were very heavy, although for Ken, who had been doing his work for a long time, he didn’t even notice it. Many villagers were surprised to see him do this work, because, being a skinny boy with such logs on top, they feared that he would break like a branch. Many times the neighbors said to him: “be very careful Ken!” “Don’t get hurt!” To which he replied: “Don’t worry, I’m used to carrying them” “And if I don’t take them, my sister and I will die frozen by the cold.”

Bakuso sometimes offered to carry the logs for him, although more than for helping he did so out of vanity. The first time he let him carry them, but the following times he preferred to take them alone. The reason? Bakuso was a pedant. During the entire journey he only spoke about himself, how strong he was, his great feats and how great he was. He was definitely a person he didn’t like.

During his daily commutes, Ken used to listen to the discussions of his neighbors (not because he was a gossip, the neighbors argued so hard that the whole town found out) most of these discussions had to do with the husband’s drunkenness. Once the woman got so angry that she threw different things like knives, axes, sledgehammers and other sharp objects at him. Ken believed that the husband would not make it out alive that time.

When he only had a few meters to get to his house, he heard a villager shouting: STRANGER!

For Ken, unlike the rest of the village, the arrival of a stranger was good news, because that way he could learn about the world beyond his village. He ran quickly towards his house, threw open the door, left the logs on the ground to the perplexity of his sister and abruptly ran away without realizing it when his sister yelled: Where are you going?

He ran to the center of the village where the villagers were gathering. When he arrived, they all formed a human wall that prevented him from seeing beyond, so he had to climb on the roof of a hut. Once upstairs he saw a figure in tattered clothing and a khaki hood in the midst of the crowd, and to tell the truth it made him look very disturbing. All the villagers glared at him. After a long awkward silence, the stranger broke it:

“Excuse me kind villagers. I have had a very long journey and now I am lost and hungry. I hope I don’t bother you with what I’m going to ask you. Could you please give me some food and water. I could also use a map of the area. I’ll pay you of course.” The man had a deep, deep voice, which gave him a more mysterious touch.

No one answered him, they just looked at him with that menacing look that meant: “Get out of here, stranger!” It was then that Bakuso appeared, standing in front of him in an intimidating position and invading his personal space.

“And what do you want a map of the place for?” Bakuso asked looking at him from above and sticking out his chest. The stranger did not seem intimidated and continued to be kind.

"Well, as I said, I am lost and a map would be very helpful to locate me in the area and thus continue my journey."

Bakuso frowned even more.

“Do you think we believe you bullshit like that? Who know what things you are up to! Get out of here! Stranger!" Bakuso’s cry was encouraged by the other villagers who also shared his contempt. It was Ebisu, the village doctor, who came to the defense of the stranger.

“Bakuso! He only wants food, water and a map, it costs us nothing to give him what he asks for. It is not going to stay forever."

“Hmm ...” Bakuso put his hand to his chin to think better of it “we will give him food, but not the map!”

"But why not?

“We can’t trust him! If we give him a map he could plot something against the village, who knows? How about bringing one of those armies with their armor and strange weapons? We cannot take that risk."

“I think you’re exaggerating.”

“Just the food and it’s over! I said!" Bakuso sentenced.

He gave the order for the stranger to be taken to the village tavern. Ken was still on the roof of the hut when he felt the straw sink under his feet and suddenly he fell on his ass to the ground. As he stood he rubbed his buttocks and looking up he saw the huge hole he had made. Luckily for him there was no one around so he took the opportunity to leave before the owners of the house arrived.

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