Beneath the moon, the shrouded light
Enveloped motion in the fight,
And Gandolina grew in size
About four times before the eyes
Of one lamenting mother’s chance.
She dropped her sword to circumstance.
A roll, a duck, and then retrieved
The weapon, ere her heartache grieved.
For all the woman felt within
Unleashed upon the wicked grin
That Gandolina wore to scare
The children still left crying there.
Their voices echoed, “Save us, please!”
But soon they both were on their knees,
For Gandolina’s odor sent
A crippling fear each place she went.
In moments like the current phase,
Her pheromones burst like a haze,
And all about the woman’s shape
The mist-like product seemed to drape.
Excruciating pain ensued,
And thus she stopped what she pursued.
Within the distance, voices heard,
A cackle and a hissing word,
Began to grow in volume’s tow
Until they brought the bones to show
The women trembling on her knees.
She cried aloud as through the trees
The remnants of her husband dropped.
All bloody bones and metal cropped,
The only things of his to see.
And Gandolina, filled with glee,
Reduced herself to human size
To finalize her prey’s demise.
About her were the things of night;
A serpent with malicious spite;
A pack of wargs intent to bite;
And other hosts of wicked fright.
The woman bowed her head to die,
But Gandolina’s eerie cry
Bespoke of something much, much worse-
An ancient incantation’s curse
And as the words continued on,
The woman, brave and bold, was gone.
Before the creatures something stood;
A horror in the darkened wood.
Extended limbs; a double jaw-
Her hair a twisted serpent maw,
And skin the colors blue and green.
The woman now looked serpentine.
As Gandolina turned about,
The children gave a fearful shout,
But with a finger’s pointing wave,
She sent them to an early grave.
No other evil could compare.
The feral woman’s snakelike hair
Enraptured both the kids and then
It pulled them to her scaly skin.
The other creatures looked in fear,
For this had brought the greatest cheer
As Gandolina sensed the way
The former mother cared by day.
Her wickedness, it knew no bounds,
And as they listened to the sounds
Of bodies snapping; bones and such,
The witch reached out a hand to touch
Her new creation, firm and bold.
“I welcome you within my fold.”
Said Gandolina, dripping blood.
The bodies strewn about, a flood
Of flesh and organs shared by all.
And then the witch let out a call
Encircling every monster there,
Removing them beyond the care
Of wood and forest all around
To place them on familiar ground
As back before her siblings’ land
The creatures came with news at hand.
A power unbeknownst to them
Within their sister bolstered, grim
And dark, a magic power swept,
But Gandolina’s secret kept
From Gistolon and Grindylin
Intruded on their bond as kin.
As Ganther met with Grundel’s son,
A new division had begun.
Although the family ties were strong,
The power hungry witch’s throng
Became a substitute for those
She left to venture in her pose.
The evil that they shared was broad,
But of the four, she hated God
With passion deeper than the rest.
Her hatred roused her inner best.
For Gandolina to relate,
She used her power to create,
A feat which none had done before,
But she had now unlocked the door
To greater knowledge giving lift,
Inspired within her darkest gift.
The former mortal, now remade
Into a monster, bent and frayed
Became a tool for ruling aim;
A pawn in Gandolina’s game.
The monsters spoke of Midgard’s state
But never knew the daunting fate
That Gandolina burned to build,
And thus amassed her horror guild …
James Matthew Byers resides in Wellington, Alabama with his wife, kids, a dog named after an elf, and two tortoises. He has been published in poetry journals and through Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL, where he received his Master’s in 2010. His epic poem, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, is coming soon from Stitched Smile Publications, LLC.