Sometimes little children will go out and meet in the woods with the great, shambling beasts left over from the old days. Only yesterday, in fact, a little boy was shambled to bits a mere thirty feet from my doorstep in the middle of the night. You never hear them scream, but the beasts tend to let out slow, low victory howls which make it clear there’s been a shambling. Now, if you don’t come from around these parts, you might be getting the wrong idea about shambling. You may think it similar to a mauling or a shredding, but believe me when I say the word “shambling” is better fitted to its use than it may seem.

But, come now, we’ve got plenty of time to kill—let’s draw it out a little. I’ll tell you a story from my childhood: the time I saw my first beast. I guess I was 8 or 9, and I’d gotten a little drunk. That’s what I thought, at least. I’d had at least 3 root beers before I stopped counting, and at 10 pm I was feeling awful funny and kinda sick, so I thought This is being drunk. This is it. I clambered out my window and repeated the little rhyme to myself. “Get drunk.” Well, that was taken care of. I peered about me with exaggerated care, acting the part. I could see a few lights on in the houses to my left, so I marched off in the other direction. “Go ramble.” I wasn’t absolutely sure about that part, but I got the impression it just meant walking about without much intention or direction. I knew exactly where I was headed, but I meandered this way and that a bit just to fit the verse.

“Kerplunk!” I was pretty sure that bit was just in there to rhyme with “drunk”, but what did I know? Maybe there was a pool I was supposed to jump in or something. It was a cold night, and I didn’t want to have to do too much explaining to my parents, so I decided it was just there to rhyme. As the moon disappeared and I walked among the gruesome, up-stretching pines, I shivered a little and said the final clause aloud, “Get shambled.” And the whole thing once again:

“Get drunk. Go ramble.
Kerplunk! Get shambled.”

It chilled me that “Get shambled” was always said in a reverent whisper instead of the climactic roar I assumed it deserved. But the time for children’s rhymes was over—I was in the woods and the woods were a quiet place. I started to truly ramble then, paying no attention to where I was going or where I’d come from, until I heard a low moan of neither pain nor pleasure, but of recognition. It’s long neck extended, the beast shambled towards me and smelled me deeply. I wanted to close my eyes, but I couldn’t. I tried to relax and let it happen, but my mind was throbbing with the fact that what was happening was really happening. But what was happening was not what I thought, and after a few minutes the beast turned and shambled away, leaving me breathless and disheartened.

Ahaha, I suppose that didn’t explain much at all did it? I have plenty more stories that could shed some light on the situation, I’m sure, but I’m afraid it’s almost time for my nap. You can come back tomorrow, if you’d like. I have plenty of time.

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