Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Children of Oya (Flash fiction, ~1000 words in 1 hour max!)

Given the sheer cosmic vastness it was amazing we made it so long.  It was an evening like any other, the sun set and the night began its usual routine of hooting, whooping and shrieking.  My jungled valley echoed with the cacophony of nightfall, then fell silent.  Oya hit, all ten thousand billion tonnes of her, slammed into the dusty savannah of east Africa.  The great rift valley cleaved open, tsunamis of unfathomable scale swept across the Indian Ocean, vast plumes of dust filled the atmosphere and I felt a quake the like of which I’ll never forget.  
It was probably because of where she hit that humanity was so complacent.  When the scientists did their calculations we breathed a collective sigh of relief that Oya wasn’t going to destroy a great city, or the heart of some so called ‘civilised’ nation.  How stupid.  How quickly we unravelled and humanities’ inner darkness was laid bare.
I’m one of the lucky ones I suppose, being from one of those expendable, ‘uncivilised’ countries.  I’ve escaped the notice of the new regime.  So far.  Finally we have achieved a grand unification of all Earths’ peoples, just a shame its under the yoke of the worst dictator the world has ever seen.  He and his party, The Children of Oya.  They scour the lands, reaching out into the vast dark winter taking what they want from whomever they find.  I know this because I saw it.  Years back, when I was young and stupid.  I trekked for days, far to the north in search of something, someone, anything.  All I found was misery, endless gloom and freezing death.  A world abandoned, I cried for the echoes of the past.  Once lush and green the lands of Central America were lifeless and barren.  
Then one day I heard them.  A band of jolly travellers I assumed, how naive.  I was ready to greet them but paused when I heard the screams.  Blood curdling sounds of horrified women and children filled the air.  I cursed myself for cowardice as I hid, hunkered low in the dark beneath a rotting tree.  I’m ashamed I did nothing but wait for the misery to end.  
I skulked back home to the south, to my valley.  And here I have been since and would remain forever but for the news.  Two boys from the village have gone missing, two more said they saw them being taken.  The Children of Oya are coming.  What we have is meagre, but so far has sustained us.  Our small collective has survived on good will and good fortune but now a threat looms before us, both are in short supply.  Last night my spare blanket was stolen, I heard the intruder but did nothing, I was warm enough and assumed a fellow villager was cold.  But instead of a twig or a stone to symbolise who had borrowed it, there was nothing.  Inevitable I suppose, we must fend for ourselves.
As I survey the morning, the enfeebled sun illuminates the world to the point just beyond monochrome. Feint colours betray the line of people clanking and shuffling away to the south.  I see my red blanket pulled tight around a pair of shoulders.  Good luck to them, they are sensible and unwilling to risk the approaching hoard.  I however, have nothing left to lose, I lost my own family to the quake, my dignity and spirit that night I hid in the dark and now I suppose I will lose my life.  I’m not sure I really care either, which is odd but…
How can they be here already?  A group of men dressed in various versions of military uniforms from the time before burst into the village square.  Among them I see Enrique and Tobias, the missing boys, frightened and tired.  
“You there, which hut is your store?”  A huge man with a red beard and piercing blue eyes demands.
I motion to the store, a hut on the opposite of the square to mine.  Enrique looks up at me, his bloodshot eyes pleading.  I risk a look to the south where seconds before my red blanked stood out bright against the bleak greyness of the world.  Gone, thank god.  I need to make sure I stall the men long enough for them to get away.  The men thankfully miss my glance.  Sharp Enrique does not, he looks ready to burst but catches my slight shake of the head.  Not yet boy.  I will him to hear my thoughts, he’s a clever one and holds himself back.  Tobias looks ready to collapse, I catch his eye and force a smile that I hope looks comforting.  He grimaces bravely in reply.
“Where’s everyone?”  The large bearded man asks, yellow teeth flash and saliva sprays onto my face.  I flinch, men laugh.
“There is no one.” I say, willing Enrique and Tobias not to speak “There hasn’t been for some time.” 
“Liar! The boys are from here.” He strikes me hard across the face, I do not falter.
“Not here, somewhere else.”  This really angers him and I am hit so hard I fall backwards, thankfully towards my hut.  I just have to reach inside and I can get my knife.
“Where are you going old man?”  A boot follows and my ribs burn.  But I get purchase and my knife feels good in my hand,  I roll over and stand.  The boys look at me, faces contorted in surprise and concern.
“Last chance.”
I draw in a deep breath, fix Enrique with a hard stare, the boy clasps Tobias’ hand.  In a flash I strike and bury my knife to the hilt in the mans neck.  Hot sickly blood engulfs my hand, I yank the knife free and whirl to strike the next man.  The last thing I see is the boys racing across the square, I hear rather than feel my bones crack as my last breath wheezes from my body.

                                         ~~~~ ############## ~~~~~

Thank you for reading.  If you enjoyed this, you might want to check out my full length novel.  DRYAD - a dystopian novel set in a future Earth, ravaged by climate disaster and ruled by tyrannical corporations.  A sinister force however, is pulling the strings - with an agenda darker and more twisted than anyone could possibly imagine....  

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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this. The language is imaginative and highly evocative. Well done. A great short story.


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