The attack on Heorot

In the depths of the darkness, a terrifying noise deafened mother nature herself: Grendel was crawling through the night. His black, scaly skin pulsed with maggots and snakes that feasted on his rotten flesh. Amongst the great scales were smudges of crimson blood and beside them were war scars and marks left by swords and arrows. Greasy, green hair coated his head which was filled with awful things: bones, body parts, eyes, snakes and, worst of all, the most gruesome thing you could possibly think of … real human bodies… corpses. Sneakily, Grendel crept across the forest. Every step brought him closer to his next meal. This fiend lumbered forward growling at the music he could hear, and, with every step, he dreamed of shredding the Geats with his talons. It was a dream for him but for them… it was a nightmare.

As he hauled his mud-clotted tail on the floor, he could hear the trapped souls screaming to him and grinned an evil grin. Often he would drag people from their beds and feast upon them just for fun; he would grab them with his tail and shake them as he walked. His stench alone killed them. Gnarled knuckles clung to his withered fingers and blood-stained talons gripped the ends of them. Although his mouth was almost toothless and most of his teeth were crimson red, the remaining ones were rotten and brown. Cockroaches crawled amongst his teeth and over his gums. They made holes in his tongue and in his teeth.

Then, he lumbered off, ready for a snack of Geats.

A huge grin spread across his face: Grendel’s first victim had been selected. Silently, he crept out from the undergrowth and galloped towards the mead-hall. Grendel slipped along beside the hall completely unaware of mighty Beowulf who was waiting for him to strike. Suddenly, Grendel pounced. He began to tear layers of soft flesh from Handscio’s body. Again and again, he reached into the carcass until he had reached the poor man’s heart. Then he held it up and threw it into his toothless mouth. Grinning, he gulped down the rest, bones and all. When he was finished, he swerved round (blood dripping from his lips) to search for his next feast.

All of a sudden, he felt a terrible pain in his tail; it was as if someone had gripped it with the hands of God. Beowulf had grabbed his tail and was swinging him round and round. In agony, Grendel swiped the air. Again and again, he was swung round until he felt violently sick. He tried to crawl away but he was so dizzy that he collapsed. Smiling, Beowulf pulled his arm. Grendel was hauled into the middle of the town. Once again, Grendel struggled but he couldn’t get free. He struggled and struggled until he pulled so hard that his own arm came clean off. Pain filled his eyes. Angrily, he stumbled off – snagging his hair on twigs and low branches along the way.

That night, they had a huge celebration in the mead-hall and many people liked the new decoration: in the middle of the ceiling, Grendel’s arm (bound up by his hair) hung as a trophy to Beowulf.