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The Barbarian Barber

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A pair of stomping fur boots left puddles on the otherwise squeaky-shining floor. The sound outside was of nature, and it raged bloody war in the thundering skies and the convoluting spasmic trees, branches and leaves rattling like hungry snakes hiding in the grasslands, haunting the tundra. Once the door closed, those noises outside dampened.

The latest client in waiting sat on a bench by a rocky shelved wall, and he sat with a shrug. Three others, wide shoulders bulging from out of their open hide tunics, with layers upon layers of abs, their thighs like boars poked out of fur loincloths. They sat with arms crossed, shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh. Looked on, one over the other, at the newcomer with stern gazes.

But the newcomer took no heed of their glances, instead looked around; In the middle of the room there was a big chair; Near the ceiling upon a wall opposite there were two scimitars crossing each other; Below the decoration of the blades there hang a big reflective surface. Looking into it, he saw his own reflection as if in a lake. He turned his head, never letting his eyes stray from his own visage, following the movements of his droopy nose, square jaw and clefted chin. His focus was on his reflection, and not on the three brutes arguing next to him.

‘You here for cut, too?’ one sat furthest away asked.

‘No.’ the one in the middle of the three barfed out, ‘conditioner.’ and he caressed his long flowing hair.

‘You can go last then!’ the one next to the newcomer slapped the long-haired man out of his chair and with swift speed sat in his place, ‘I need cut too!’

‘Nobody pushes mighty Dvvum out of queue!’ the long-haired man threw off his tunic and took both scimitars from above the mirror.

The man that had done the pushing stood up and scoffed, ‘you so weak you need two swords to fight me?’

But the long-haired man threw one scimitar to him, ‘no, but Dvvum will cut that hair of yours for you.’

Then there was silence between the two, until—

‘ALONG WITH YOUR HEAD!’ screamed the long-haired man, swinging the scimitar at his opponent’s neck.

The other blocked, straining his free hand into a fist, punched Dvvum in his large nose. There was the cracking of bone, blood spurted out as if from a fountain. It created a pool of red mixing with the puddles from outside, the floor was sleek with water, blood, and bits of mucus. But Dvvum was not dazed, in fact he swung straight after, but the scimitar did not land in his opponent’s neck. The blade went through air with the full force of his slash until it met a force it could not move past. And when Dvvum saw what—who—then he shivered like a scared puppy.

‘Grothgarn!’ Dvvum cried out, ‘I’m sorry!’

The man wore a long leather loincloth, fur boots, bracers on his wrists and a dark iron circlet on his head preventing strands of his chestnut coloured hair from falling into his sea blue eyes. The blade hit his chest, one of his pecs, but it did not cut. It was as if the fair oily human flesh of Grothgarn was made of iron or stone itself. The other man dropped the scimitar and sat back down. All Dvvum could do was hold still, frozen, wide eyed. All Grothgarn did was stare at the door, and at the puddle prints on the floor, and at the lake of red forming by the bench. His breathing was slow. He pressed his lips inward protruding his chin slightly, then grabbed the backrest of the chair in the middle of the room, swivelling it around. He overpowered Dvvum into the seat, freed the scimitar from his grasp. Grothgarn swung his upper body towards the mirror, but his head faced deeper into the room.

‘Biusdonella! The floor needs a wiping again!’ he screamed and somewhere nearby a flock of seagulls flapped their wings and flew away with startling mews.

What strutted to Grothgarn’s side was a Goddess, a muse whose beautiful visage besieged all who laid eyes upon her. Skin of the leopard hung down from her hips, her flat stomach naked while a band of leather wrapped around her breasts left barely anything to the imagination. Illustrious orange curls flaring in the flickering gleam of nearby light of naked flame. And in her arms she held a mop.

Grothgarn uttered with disgust, almost spitting as Biusdonella mopped up the mess on the floor beside him, ‘What you want?’

‘Conditioner.’ Dvvum gargled a word from out between his lips.

Grothgarn stared down at his client’s thick lustrous stomp of hair, then looked into the mirror, into his reflection, saying:

‘Mirror, mirror, who the mightiest of them all, is?’

His hands moved by themselves, as if threaded, operated by some puppet master from up high. His hands snatched a bottle of orange liquid from somewhere, poured it on Dvvum’s head. Once those hands massaged the head with it, foam frothed into existence and covered the entire area—the whole head of Dvvum and the entire arms of Grothgarn. There was a whimper, a sudden cry from Dvvum, and the man raised both of his hands to cover his eyes. Afterwards there was a scream, and Grothgarn, wielding the twin scimitars, slashed both of Dvvum’s arms off. Then with all his might he cut and slashed into the foam, into the body, that it all became a mix of red and white and flesh. The pulp of meat and conditioner fell from the chair, he wiped off the excess foam from the seat.

‘Who next?’

He looked at the bench through the mirror, however aside from himself, Biusdonella and the bloody pulp on the floor, the room was empty.


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