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|It's the beginning of a tale, I may nt write any more, I will but I may not upload it *grins* Enjoy if you will||
At the age of fourteen, I knew that this was my house. My father had died of some kind of new disease brought about by the new folk who had travelled from the other side to "aid us" with gifts and knowledge. No one believed them; they brought too many people. They arrived in caravans full of children and families, demanding to share homes with us until they could move on or build there own.
I can remember the day they arrived, the dust billowed up from the mountain range, a huge storm of hazy air, the smell of sweat and dirt blowing across bringing impurity and tainted air. Then the wind changed and blew it back at them, the fresh air seeping across our faces, our men folk gathering arms and building temporary defences, ready to defend our home, our special place from this new menace. The caravans themselves were brightly coloured, reds and yellows, black strange writing marking the sides, they reminded us all of danger, like the spider and the wasp, deadly vermin which needed to be killed.
We did at first, they were no match for us, we shot them down, taking pot shots one after the other and then they started singing this quiet soulful singing, which soothed the hearts of many of the villages. Perhaps I’m different, I grabbed my Daddy’s gun and kept shooting, violently shooting at the loudest, not caring if I killed parent or child, trying to make the wailing stop. I killed forty before they reached us, changing bullets every five minutes, I miss and injured twelve, but I killed forty. I counted their bodies, watched them all fall to the ground, a strange needy desire to kill; to make them stop, and they didn’t, they kept coming. My shooting more dangerous as I panicked, flying off at all angles, I barely missed one of our own, a tiny girl who had started toddling forward. Her little body jerking as it ambled forward, drawn to the ugly creatures like the flame to a wick.
Then they arrived, the caravans drawing to a halt in front of me, my hands trembling as I lock and loaded for a last time, the rifle aiming straight at the neck of the leader, his hair like corn, golden and wavy. His face was broad and smooth, his lips thick and set in a soft smile. He couldn’t be trusted, he was different from us, he was evil, nothing about him was right. Perhaps if we’d been more educated about his sort we’d have kept shooting, but they stopped me. They took my gun away; they took it before I could shoot again. Forcing the barrel out of my hands, the hot metal burning, marking me with ice blue burns. I screamed loudly, clasping hands to chest, glaring in rage and confusion at my peers, my friends and family who had hurt me so.
He didn’t have a tail, how could they trust him, his derriere was smooth and flat, rounded like a bubble, his yellow trous were tight, clinging to his calves, thin lean muscles rippling as he moved. He moved like a predator, for all his singing, all his soft smiles, he was a predator, and no one could deny it if they saw. But they didn’t, they just saw the look of "love" in his eyes, the pleasant acrid scent of lying scumble, which clung to the air, tainting it to my nose. I couldn’t stop the gagging reflex as he moved close to me, his beady eyes narrowing to tiny black pinpricks, pinning me down with evil intent. And then he smiled again, showing blunt teeth, white and pristine. The corners of his nasty mouth curling, dimpling the cheeks, his hairy chin twitching.
I ducked as he reached out t touch my face, my father smacked me round the head, making my ears ring with pain, the blood gushing to my eyes and face, the bruising effect kicking in. And then I left, running off back home, home to safety. Whimpering in pain at the burns and the bruises. These people were bad news, but no one believed me, so I’d leave them. Leave them to be turned into fancy coats, stripped f tails and horns, I would be safe, safe at home. I’d lock the doors, keep them barred, not even let father in. He was already a danger, defending the man; the species of chaos try and touch me. He’d castrated the last male who had tried it; the hardened skin balls still hung from the doorway, a warning to anyone who entered the house. The male had been a friend as well. And yet he hadn’t batted an eyelash when scum had tried it.
Our house was large, it’s rooms were big and airy, a light wood was what lined the inside, the interior all clean and airy, the rooms were never warm, nor were they freezing, but a happy medium. The house was a delight to come into under the harsh sunlight, or when the gales raged outside, kicking up dust and snow. The grey brick that was hidden by paint work and plants held the house strong into the dirt. We’d built it ourselves, I can remember laying the first couple f bricks all those years ago when we first came to this place. Our pleasant town, a little village of calm. Civilised and sweet, nothing bad laid in the graveyards; the occasional ghosts were lain to rest like everything else, quietly, no rush, and no hardship.
We had a white picket fence, like they did in the books that lined the library, a small veranda, and a hammock, that hung between posts. If we had a Grandma you could see her rocking on the pine rocking chair, but instead there was a patchwork cushion, and a small sampler, the needle sticking out of a "o" the pale blue thread hanging down, as if the work had been put down to be finished at a later date. I’d started it when Father mentioned that all young females sewed, like they did in the books, and they all spoke as if they had something in their mouth. The plum effect I think it is, although we couldn’t find a plum, he used to place a small egg in my mouth and encourage me to talk to him like that. Sometimes I had the egg in my mouth for days; I wasn’t allowed to remove it for anything, not to eat. And eggs were my favourite. There was something special about the golden yellow centre. The promise that maybe some day you’d get a chick instead of its mush beginning. Only once did that happen, and when the tiny bones crunched between my teeth, it was pure pleasure.
We couldn’t afford to keep buying chickens, we used them to breed eggs to eat and sell to neighbours, and chickens just didn’t come in as high priority. Occasionally Dad would let me raise a batch of new hens, to replace the old ones, normally round the holidays, when the people celebrated. That all ended the day the caravans came. Everything ended when the caravans came.
Our house was the strongest in the area, we had the biggest plot of land, all fertile stuff, but Daddy couldn’t afford to keep on anyone, it was a shame, but that was the price we paid for living in civilisation. If we'’ moved closer to the populated areas perhaps we could have been rulers, but it was too dangerous round them parts. Nothing was safe. We had created a safe haven. We were subsistent; the locality was self-sufficient. Sending the men out once the reached maturity, we were self sufficient but not stupid, we didn’t inbreed, well, we couldn’t, hadn’t had enough time to, only three generations had past and I was still only fourteen.
When the big gales came the towns’ folk, the villagers all hurried to our land, we had a huge underground cellar, and the house itself was sturdy. Not once had it blown away, unlike the rest of the homes. As fast as they built them up, the wind blew them down. Perhaps we should have offered our brick, but that would have weakened our home. We arrived first; we laboured for three years, endlessly searching for rock, for sand, for anything that could be turned into building materials that would last. We used the metal from the pods to add extra protection, welding them into curved walls able to withstand earth tremors and houses being built over them.
Only one pod remained in its correct form, for when they found us. For when the uncivilised found us. It was packed ready; food that wouldn’t expire lined the inner sanctum, enough water to last a year, and an oxidiser. It would save one of us, all we needed. There was no chance he would live for a year in a small pod; he hadn’t the stamina for it.
I can remember glancing up at the sky, waiting in the attic of our house, watching the pale grey clouds scurry across the orange sky, watching as the colours clashed a horrendous mirage of light spectrums. I can remember hefting the gun, not a phase gun, nor a gun with bullets, but a simple nuclear device, ready to blow the whole damn place up if they brought back my fathers corpse. They could rot in hell for all I cared. I loved my house, but they could die a painful terrible death. The bunker was locked; I’d kicked the latch on as I’d entered the plot. My dress swinging round my legs in anger, the massive bustle getting in my way as I’d tried to squeeze through into the cubby-hole. My cubby hole. Father knew nothing of it; we’d made a deal, if anything should happen, we’d not tell each other about the special places that we might need in times of emergency. But we both knew that if any of the civilised citizens of our fair town were to stumble into our home and find some of the deadly devices that was where we would go.
|Cat's in the Cradle-part one||Epilogue|
|Sarah||Lila : part three|