“There once lived a lonely old man named Sir Beetle. He was very rich. He was lonely because no one wanted to marry him. No one wanted to marry him because he was the world’s biggest idiot, at the time. He was very conceited.”
There once lived a lonely old man named Sir Beetle. He was very rich. He was lonely because no one wanted to marry him. No one wanted to marry him because he was the world’s biggest idiot, at the time. He was very conceited. He had an imaginary wife who was beautiful, kind, and paid for everything he bought. His dream was to make her reality.
One morning, Sir Beetle awoke to the sound of kissing. He walked to his bedroom door, swung it open, and there in his hall stood two of his servants kissing. They looked very embarrassed.
“Um, hello sir,” said one of them.
Sir Beetle rolled his eyes and trudged back into his bed. He sighed. He hated the joy of other people. He thought that servants shouldn’t have feelings, or romances. He thought that all servants should never say anything except “Yes, sir” or “Yes, madam.” He thought that they should all dress the same way. He made the male servants wear a thin black shirt, thin black pants, and a gray cap. I do not know what the women wore, simply because no one has ever told me. He thought that servants should only do what they were told to do, and nothing else, and he thought all he should do for the servants was pay them extremely small amounts of money for all their hard work. In other words, he basically wanted his servants to be like golems. And most golems don’t really have a love life.
“Why don’t I have a real wife?” asked Sir Beetle. He obviously hadn’t considered the possibility that maybe it was because he was grumpy, snobbish, idiotic, and would definitely make the worst husband a woman could ask for. Just then, he got an idea. If he died, his servants would be out of work. That was a fact. So, he thought that they would save his life if he was in trouble. And what if a female servant saved his life? Then he could claim that she saved him because she was madly in love with him! He instantly jumped out his bedroom window. He was going to land in the garden. Two female servants were watering the plants. Then, they saw him.
“Sir Beetle is falling!” cried one.
“He’s going to die!” yelled the other.
And then, in unison, they cried “YAY!”
Unfortunately, Sir Beetle had not died. He had almost died, but God had taken pity upon him, and he had survived. He had fired the female servants who had not caught him after he had jumped out the window. When he got back to his mansion, he was more determined than ever to get married. Then, he remembered the tale of Cinderella and how the prince found a wife by having a ball. He wrote a letter inviting a girl to his ball:
Would you like to go to my Dance ‘n Drink ball? There will be lots of beer and dancing from dawn till dusk!
Sir William Beetle
But Sir Beetle had forgotten one very important thing: he didn’t know any women named Elizabeth. He told his messenger, named Henry Daggerpond, to deliver it to “Elizabeth.” He did not tell his Henry where Elizabeth lived… simply because Elizabeth didn’t exist! Henry Daggerpond got lost in the woods and was eaten by bears. Meanwhile, Sir Beetle had invested heavily in beer for “Dance ‘n Drink” ball. But when Elizabeth never responded, he drank all the beer he had bought. He was drunk. And being drunk, and also being a moron, is not the best way to woo a girl. Not long after he had gotten drunk, Sir Beetle got a letter from the mother of the messenger who he had sent to give the letter to Elizabeth:
Dear Sir Beetle,
The messenger who thou hath sent to deliver your letter was my son. Two hunters found his body next to a bear den. I would like to apologize that your letter was never sent, and I assure you that what happened was not your fault. You were simply sending a letter, and you had no way of knowing that my son would be killed.
The idea of being guilty never crossed Sir Beetle’s mind, as it might have crossed the mind of you or I. As he read the letter, he began to think he was a murderer. He thought he was a murderer called Feared Sir Beetle, who was the death of all he could see. As soon as he thought this, he decided to kill anyone who he saw. He would kill all of his servants. He decided that anyone who met Feared Sir Beetle would not live much longer. That night, he told his servants to sleep in his garden. At 1:00 that night, he snuck into his garden. He killed every last one of his servants. Then, he snuck into his barn and killed all his animals. He ran into his house and killed his imaginary wife. He had entirely forgotten about how much he longed for a wife. He ran to an inn. He knew that any decent inn would have many sleeping travelers to kill. He quietly stepped into the inn. Then, he killed everyone in sight. From that day on, he had red eyes.
Eleanor of Antique had needed to help her horse’s hoof, which had been infected, all morning. She was not in the mood to judge any trials, but a queen must serve her country, and so that’s why she found herself listening to the story of a wealthy noble who killed dozens of servants and travelers. She was pretty sure he would be guilty, and if she said that he was, then it would be off to the gallows with him. She went to bed thinking about this murderous noble. And as she slept, Feared Sir Beetle killed all he saw…
It was still dark outside. The sound of a gavel thumping down on a desk could be heard for miles around. “Order in the court,” boomed Eleanor of Antique’s voice. “Bring in the verdict.” Sir Beetle was kicked into the courtroom by soldiers. He was in chains.
“ROAR!!!” roared Sir Beetle. Then, he looked at Eleanor of Antique. He noticed her dashing red hair. He stared at her dazzling crown.
“Want to go horseback riding after we get out of here?” asked Sir Beetle.
“Are you trying to flirt with me?” demanded the queen.
“Oh, yes,” replied Sir Beetle dreamily.
“I’m already married!” said the queen.
“Well, I am surely better than the man you are with.”
“The man I am with is the king!”
“Not my concern.”
“It should be your concern, because I am going to execute you!” Eleanor of Antique turned to face the court. “The verdict is guilty,” she said sweetly. “Take him to the dungeon,” she said to her guards, who had been standing beside her, looking like giant nutcrackers.
They hustled out of the courtroom, carrying Sir Beetle, who was still in chains. He was brought to a place so gloomy he was reminded of when he was a wealthy noble who had been loved by no one. The windows were very thin and looked as if they were about to fall apart. The most noticeable thing about the dungeon were the rats. They were huge, the size of bulldogs. They scampered and squeaked in a most unwelcoming way. There were no other prisoners in the dungeon; Sir Beetle was alone. This was not an unusual thing for Sir Beetle to be. He had always been alone. But it’s much better to be alone as a rich noble than to be alone as a prisoner in a dungeon. Around midnight, the thin glass windows crashed when hit by a large gust of wind. Not only did shards of glass come into the dungeon at this, but so did several notes. They were all the same thing: ink blotches. And they all ended the same way:
Sir Beetle tried to remember where he had heard that name before. Anne Daggerpond… the name seemed so familiar, but Sir Beetle couldn’t remember where he had heard it before. Anne Daggerpond… he fell asleep thinking about it. He did not know why, but Anne Daggerpond seemed so close by.
The day of Sir Beetle’s execution was very cold and rainy. It smelled of wet dog. It was in the courtyard of the Tower of London. Many nobles had come to see Sir Beetle get executed. One of them wore a yellow hoop skirt and had hair the color of a rotten banana. Another wore a blood-red hoop skirt and had hair the color of a dung beetle’s favorite food. They were both gossipping about how ugly Sir Beetle was. Eleanor of Antique was quite eager to get the execution over with. One of her friends, a duchess, was coming to see the execution, so she had decided to come too, but she was really not very fond of watching the lives of outlaws getting ended. The executor was a fat man with a beard that made it look like his face was being attacked by gummy worms. He picked up Sir Beetle with one hand and placed him on a table. He was about to end Sir Beetle’s life when a strong smell filled the air. It was the smell of perfume. Suddenly, a woman stepped onto the courtyard. She had long brown hair and was dressed entirely in purple. She wore a shawl. Her face was covered.
“Hello,” she said. Her voice made everyone feel like they had drunk a bit too much champagne. The executor stopped what he was doing, and so did everyone else. “I am Anne Daggerpond,” she said. “You must be Sir Beetle.”
“I am, am, amamammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,” he said sleepily.
Anne Daggerpond pulled a large wristwatch out of her pocket. She began to hum a little tune. She put the pocket watch on her arm. She admired it for a minute, then did a little dance.
“This is a dance that birds do to attract mates,” said Anne Daggerpond. She tore her shawl. She stared dreamily at Sir Beetle. Her dreamy expression made Sir Beetle think of what it had been like to love, to love someone who didn’t love you back. He remembered pretty girls who he wanted to marry. He remembered a particularly pretty girl who didn’t want to marry him.
Sir Beetle had felt like a crumpled up piece of paper. The 85th girl who Sir Beetle had asked to marry him had rejected his marriage proposal. He was sobbing so hard that his shoulders shook.
“If no one recognizes greatness such as I, life is not worth living,” he had cried.
“And I do not think anyone ever will recognize my greatness. They are too dumb.”
He did not think a girl would ever like him. Not even his servants agreed to marry him, and before they started working for him he told them that if they rejected his marriage proposal, he would fire them. He stopped his crying briefly. Then, he howled loudly and began to sob more loudly than he had been before. He had now confirmed that no one would ever like him. Sir Beetle had felt miserable. And now, as he stared into Anne Dagerpond’s eyes, he remembered love. He remembered life before he had felt obliged to kill. Sir Beetle just wanted to kiss Anne. He knew he would soon be killed, and before that happened, he wanted to kiss someone who might, just might, kiss him back. Anne walked towards Sir Beetle, and as she did, the crowd parted.
“I am a widow,” said Anne now. “I would love someone to kiss, and I think you are the perfect person for me to kiss.”
And so Anne kissed Sir Beetle. It is a wonderful feeling to get kissed after people have hated you all your life. But the nobles were not really impressed that Anne had kissed a criminal.
“This is no place for lovebirds!” said Eleanor of Antique.
“Get out of here, please,” she said briskly to Anne.
“Now, it is so sad that a rich, formerly honorable man must be killed, and I hope this sort of thing won’t happen again. But now, this criminal must be killed.”
And so the executor picked up his ax. The crowd of nobles held their breath. Rain was making everyone absolutely drenched. Thunder was so loud that no one could hear anything. Sir Beetle knew that soon his life would end. He wondered what it felt like to die.
And before he knew what had happened, he was dead.
Sir Beetle felt as if he had fallen onto a brick floor. He saw color swirling around him. He saw everything that he had ever seen spin by so fast that it was a blur. He was feeling a strange feeling. He felt as if something was leaving his body. It was life, he thought. It had to be life. He felt a pounding feeling in his heart. He felt like he would see Anne again. And now, he felt as though life was slipping through his fingers. He had to hold on, he had to…
A tall figure stood before Sir Beetle. He had a long, flowing beard. It was pure white, and just looking at it made Sir Beetle shiver. He had gigantic wings sprouting from his back. They were as white as his beard.
“I am Saint Peter,” said the tall, winged, bearded figure. He smiled. “One might call me the Santa Claus of eternity.” He chuckled. However, his smile quickly vanished.
“I will determine if you will go to heaven or hell by using the Glass Ball Of Fate.”
He vanished for a few seconds, then reappeared holding a golden spector and a glass ball. He tapped the glass ball with the golden spector and screamed, “Sir Beetle!” at it. The glass ball turned blood red and started to scream. The sound was deafening. Saint Peter frowned and tapped the glass ball with his golden spector. The yelling stopped, and the ball turned clear again.
“Hell for you,” said Saint Peter said sadly.
But then the ball turned a bright shade of blue. Harp music came from the glass ball. And then, from the Glass Ball of Fate, came Anne Daggerpond’s voice.
“He’s not that bad,” it said. “He’s really not such a bad man… ”
The voice and the harp music gradually died out. The bright shade of blue faded. Saint Peter’s frown turned into a smile. Sir Beetle wished that Anne was right next to him. Saint Peter looked a bit confused.
“Well, well, well, what will I do with you?” said Saint Peter.
“I don’t know,” said Sir Beetle.
“Well, I could use an assistant,” said Saint Peter. “I need someone who can guard the Gates of Heaven when I’m not. I need someone who will help me in old age. Would you like to be my assistant?”
“I don’t think I’m worthy.”
“Then there is one more option: reincarnation.”
“Yes, I can take you back to Earth and turn you into an animal of your choice.“
“I like that idea.”
“What animal would you like to be?”
Sir Beetle’s response was instant: “A beetle!”
“Very well, come with me.”
Saint Peter and Sir Beetle dived down to Earth. They dived through clouds. At last, they landed on Earth. Saint Peter pointed his spector at Sir Beetle.
“SCARABÉE!” he roared. There was a blast of light, a rush of sound, and Sir Beetle was a beetle. He turned his head to thank Saint Peter, but by then Saint Peter had vanished.
An incredibly imaginative story! Dark and sad. Lots of unexpected twists with vivid descriptions, especially of dying. I liked to the description of the executioners – “like two giant nutcrackers”. Keep writing. Pop pop