The Shepherd Boy
I present to you the strange tale of the Shepherd Boy lost to the world for all eternity.
Whether this story is true is irrelevant as this tale repeats itself every day countless times in countless locales.
Our boy was born in a tiny village at the edge of the Alps where life was simple and pure. He was a frail boy and his mother would look after him and protect him from all harm. He was a familiar sight in town, always overdressed and pale. Yet he was a happy boy, with not a care in the world. He’d tend to his small flock all morning and could often be heard whistling and singing in the emerald green fields dotted with the pure white sheep.
His afternoons were usually spent reading or frequenting the marketplace.
Just across the valley there was a dark, forbidding cliff. Atop the cliff precariously perched was an old abandoned castle. None of the townsfolk knew much of the origins nor who built the grey stone edifice. Since he was a small boy his mother warned him to stay away from that castle. He would often wonder standing in its long shadow, just what was there, but the sheeps soothing bleeting would pull him back to reality and he’d continue on.
One cool autumn morning he noticed some movement out of the corner of his eye while watching over his grazing flock. He could distinctly make out a human form climbing toward the castle. Something inside him woke up, something dangerous and thrilling. As if in a trance he left his sheep and his legs propelled him forward toward the dark cliff. His pale face coated with a thin sheen of sweat looking so small next to the towering palisade. With a burst of strength he started climbing from one rock to the second grabbing onto twigs and crevices dirtying his clean white hands. The wind was whipping his face and his usually perfect hair was a mess. He never felt so alive in his life. He finally reached the top and threw him self onto the ground exhausted.
As he lifted his face and eyes he caught his breath. Before him was the most magnificent looking structure he could imagine. His heart was pounding now as the boy stood up and approached the gate. He was greeted by a pack of terrifying black dogs barking and biting at the fence. He was shaking all over but instead of being frightened away he became more determined. Taking off his jacket he tossed it at the dog but they werent interested in cloth. He climbed the fence with a big stick in hand and jumped over with a primal yell three times his former decibel level record. But when he turned to face the dogs, eyes gleaming, they were gone. Breathing hard he dropped the stick and ran in the direction of the stone edifice. He lost both his shoes in the mud but didn’t care. He felt empowered. He suddenly found himself ripping his way through thick thorn filled shrubbery. The thorns were ripping his beautiful clothes to shreds and were leaving bloody cuts on his pale skin. He was relishing the feel of these sensations on his pale body. At last there was one last hurdle and he could already rest his eyes on the glamourous main entrance. Between our boy and the castle was a wide moat of flowing water. Removing the remains of his tattered clothes he jumped into the cold churning water. The rush of the cold on his skin was exhilirating and he allowed himself to get swept into the current. He slowly swam and fought his way across to the other side and at last pulled himelf out cold, wet and naked. Breathing heavily he crawled to the castle with his last ounce of energy. He was surprised to see it unlocked as he pushed the heavy door open. Peering in, adjusting to the dark he suddenly saw the dark shadowy figure disappear into a side hallway and he called after him. Running in his trail he found himself in a high ante room with 3 doors. He yelled HELLOOO but heard nothing in return. He tried one door and peered into a tiny room with a small table and on the table was a beautiful green apple, He slammed the door and tried the next and inside was a pure white sheep looking up at him he quickly slammed the door while covering himself with his hand. He reached for the last door and opened it slowly and peered into the largest room he had ever seen. He slowly walked in and it was dark, empty and cold. The only thing in the room was a large free standing mirror in the center of the room. He suddenly felt cold and lonely. Hs body was shaking and he started to cry. He didn’t recognize the sickly impression looking back at him. Feeling tired and weak he slinked down to the ground and passed out.
He opened his eyes and saw his mothers concerned face patting down his face with a warm towel. He averted her gaze, ashamed. He was somehow back in his room, in his big white bed. Besde his bed was his mother and the town doctor. He noticed a fresh set of warm clothing laying neatly on his chair. Closing his eyes he fell back asleep.
A few days later he was seen heading back to the dark cliffs.
He hasn’t been seen since.