Friday, August 13, 2010

The Ride to Otherwhere - Part 1 - Time to Go

This is the first installment in a four-part short story (4000 words) I wrote while considering my blogpost for the Blog Chain at ChristianWriters. Hope you enjoy it. I'll be posting one of these sections each day for the next four days.

The world was shrinking. Kor could sense it as he fought past his teeming brothers and sisters. There was little room left in the shallow backwater of the tiny ditch. There didn't seem to be anything left to eat in the brackish water - every mosquito flipper had been speared. It had been days since he had seen any. The passage through the shallows to deeper water was gone now, as the sky slowly descended under the warmth of the summer sun.

Rain was what was needed now, and a fresh batch of mosquitos, to keep his kind from eating each other in their voracious appetites. But rain had not been seen on the sky for many days. And meanwhile, the world was shrinking.

Hunger drove him on as he searched frantically for one more meal before his ascent through the sky. Instinct told him that the time of transformation was upon him, and he refused to eat his siblings, even though they seemed to be the only meat in the world.

He thrust aside a crowd of youngers, thin and wasting away. He was headed to the passage. He would go there, even if he had to pierce the sky to get there. Several tried to bite him in their hunger, but he thrashed one so severely that he broke in pieces, and his siblings turned on him in a sickening feeding frenzy.

"Wait up, Kor." It was Xana. She was the only creature in the pond he would wait for. Her time was upon her, too. She felt the need to get out. He could sense it in the tenseness of her motions as she struggled through the crowd of youngers.

He paused. He didn't have to look back. Without turning his head, he could see everywhere. "What is it?" he asked tersely. "I'm in a hurry."

"Where are you going?" she asked as she swam up.

"Nowhere, in this pond." He sighed, a current of water exuding from his spiracles.

Another younger came after him. he smashed it aside with his tail. "It's time to go." He moved on to the end of the backwater, Xana keeping up beside him.

"We will go together," said Xana. "We must search for a new pond with room for youngers."

Kor grabbed a shaft of green with all six legs, and then waved one of them behind him. "These youngers are dead," he said bitterly. "They cannot migrate to a new pond. They are breathing, but they have no chance. Soon there will be few in the pond, if the pond is still here."

"If the lord of the sky doesn't send rain, there will be no pond in ten cycles of the sun." Xana looked at the sky above them. "No ripples in the sky. No darkness at day. Nothing but heat and mist beyond the sky."

"Come with me, Xana," offered Kor. "All that is left for you here is to eat your own kind in a slow death with them."

Xana grabbed onto a neighboring stem. "Why do you think I was following you?" She climbed upwards. "It is time for both of us to pierce the sky, and you know it."

Kor hastened to keep up with her as she climbed. He saw movement behind him, and swivelled his head around so that his mouth was facing backwards. His mouth mask fell away, exposing a huge gaping maw lined with voracious teeth. "Yes!" he roared at the approaching older. "Come feed me with your flesh!"

Though he was hungry, he didn't really want to eat his brother. Nikko stopped in the water. "I wasn't coming to eat you, Kor," he said, hurt and somewhat apprehensive. "I came to say good-bye."

"Ah." Kor paused, shaking his head once, and running a limb over his huge bulbous eyes. "Well, then, good-bye. Perhaps I shall see you beyond the sky."

Nikko kept his mask closed to hide his mandibles. "One can hope we shall meet again in the beyond. But I have a message from Nitaria, who came back to the pond to lay eggs."

Kor stopped. "Eggs laid here will do no good. What was Nitaria thinking, bringing her eggs here in our already overcrowded puddle?" He closed his mask again, hiding his mandibles as well. "What message might one from beyond have for me?"

"Watch your back," said Nikko. "Climb high above the sky or the youngers will try to get you when you transform."

Kor thought about this. "Good advice," he said finally. "You can't fight when you are transforming." He looked past Nikko to the teeming crowd of youngers eyeing them both from a distance. "And now I have some advice for you."

Nikko swam in a circle. "What advice is that?"

"Grow up fast."

1 comment:

  1. Cool start to your story, Chris! I take it this was inspired by the visitor to your windshield the other day.

    Can't wait to read the rest. :)