The Great Beast Society pervades everyday life. It slavers and slobbers on all personal matters, political, social, and economical aspects and expects unlimited obedience and servitude. At the very least consideration. It cannot tolerate any other creature’s independence from itself. It survives on the deference paid it. It eats free will and smashes originality. It expunges its own trends, fads, and bandwagons and attracts victims like bees. Society is upheld because of a fear circulated by those afraid of it. Were the population to collectively stop feeding it by obedience, it would die, but the population thinks that it in itself is Society, and cannot see the Beast because of their own short-sightedness.
The Great Beast Society sat on its throne in the center of the town. Its slavering jaws were munching on the latest Good Idea someone had carelessly let loose in the city. The Beast didn’t really like Good Ideas; they tasted tangy, and far too original, but devouring them was the quickest of destroying them. Much safer than letting them die out on their own; there was always the slimmest chance they would take seed and actually grow. Sickening thought.
The Beast looked around; it had a good view of most of the town from the high throne. It was classical in construction, with great fluted columns. The domed top where the Beast reposed stood some twenty feet above the rest of the buildings. From this angle, the smoking tops of the town looked like chimneys set into granite, with a velvety expanse of grass spreading out around it. Only the very best were allowed to live in this haven of uniformity. Good breeding and money, that was the ticket to good Society. Of course, good breeding and extreme wealth naturally excluded anything like brains and intelligence, which was exactly why the Beast allowed them.
The Beast licked its jaws and fwapped its long tail against the edge of the dome. There had been a disturbance lately, in the form of a man named Eugene Neeque. This Neeque was a commoner who had risen to wealth from an invention the Beast didn’t care to investigate. It was only concerned with squashing this interloper as quickly as possible. It might have even been his Good Idea the Beast had been chomping on.
Hopping down from its great perch, it lumbered off in the direction of a dinner party, hosted by the family of this Neeque man. Of course, the Neeque family members were seen as dangerous outlanders by the rest of the town, and the idiotic mayor had leveled up to his very important friends about the danger of such an intrusive commoner.
“May disrupt all of our circles,” he’d blustered distractedly, walking about in his shiny leather shoes. “Must keep an eye on him. It won’t do to have him giving ideas to the common folk about moving up in life. Won’t do at all.”
The Beast quite agreed. It could only feed itself when there were a good number of ignorant people obeying it. And Good Ideas tended to move against Society. Positively outrageous.
Unaware of the idiotic mayor’s sentiments, or indeed of the presence of the Beast at all, Eugene Neeque was sitting in the corner of his living room, quietly watching his party go on without him. He was very tired, having sat up all night tweaking his latest invention, and knew the party could go on splendidly without his involvement. His sister Amelia was having a grand time lauding his accomplishments, of which she was basically unaware, and expounding upon his inventions, of which she had no intimacy. Eugene left her to it, preferring to mull over the gears and pulley systems in his head.
“But are they really so useful?” The voice drifted to him above the din. He couldn’t see who it was, but his ear caught the rest of the conversation.
“I mean, they’re very good, aren’t they? But how much use can we put them to? Will they make work easier? Hardly. I wonder…”
Eugene rubbed his eyes. Of course, these doubts had plagued him ever since he’d started on his ideas. It seemed almost as if they had been sent to him as soon as inspiration had struck. They’d nearly defeated him once or twice, when the oppressive fears of failure had been greatest.
Watching from a distance, the Great Beast preened in delight. Its ornate and ridiculous doubt birds were sitting happily on the Neeque man’s shoulders, whispering in his ears. Their long, brightly colored tails were wrapped around his neck. It also saw several sitting on the backs of his family members. The Beast purred in satisfaction. It knew it had been right to send them after the man, as soon as the first whiffs of imagination had reached its nostrils.
Giving him up as a soon to be hopeless case, (one of many; the former inventors were scattered about the under city, living in holes and begging for their bread) the Beast returned to the main center of town, watching the idiotic mayor happily.
Unfortunately for the Beast, it did not know of the outside forces governing a man’s life. Especially of a man like Neeque. Progress, Ambition, and Success were mighty forces indeed, mightier even than the Beast, though not as loud and certainly not as swift in gathering forces. However, they worked quietly and steadily away, and were not about to let a man like Neeque go without a fight.
That night, the three winds of Creativity crept into Eugene’s dreams, filling his head with all the possibilities before him. They even recruited Duty and Honor to add to their cause, reminding Neeque of his poor relations and how they depended on him. But Ambition was most influential, feeding his imagination with all sorts of wonderful new Ideas.
Away on its throne, the Beast raised his nose and sniffed, its great teeth bared. The smells of Progress, Ambition and Success were dire, wafting as they were from the direction of Neeque’s house.
The Beast leapt to its feet with a dreadful howl, scattering its doubt birds as it pelted towards the north end where Eugene lived. The decorated birds flew along with it, shrieking wildly and batting it with their wings. The Beast bit at them as it ran, loping along the streets.
It arrived just as the winds of Creativity, along with the songs of Duty and Honor were leaving. They taunted the Beast as it circled and snarled, but blew away, laughing, their work done.
The Beast pushed itself into the Neeque man’s room, looming over his bed while he slept. In his dreams, Eugene saw the Beast, surrounding by circling birds like carrion crows, advancing threateningly down upon his Ideas, mouth agape, reading to devour them.
But Eugene, armed with Ambition and the others, brought up a lance of Determination, sparkling with a keen edge, and beat the Beast back, back towards the window, back out into the night. The Beast howled and retreated, but not before Eugene had destroyed most of the birds.
Then the Beast tucked tail and ran, yowling and crying, back to its high throne. Eugene Neeque lay back down, tucking his Determination away, and slept on in peace.
Licking its wounds, the Beast hummed mournfully. It could not be killed, not really, because there would always be people who would cater to it, feeding it through devotion and sacrifice. But this man Neeque was too strong for him, and he would never again stand in his way.