All the measurements pointed to one conclusion: our island was sinking. And if I was correct, evacuation must start immediately. I had to warn the others. I just prayed they would listen?
I hurried along the paths, dodging vines and undergrowth. Around me, the normally active forest was silent. No birds scolded from the canopy. No rodents scurried out of my way.
The main gates to the compound stood wide, welcoming me to the festivities within. My people loved their celebrations. This island provided above and beyond our needs. The soil was rich. The weather: ideal. We had found paradise.
Laughter filled the square. Musicians played enchanting melodies and reed flutes and drums, instruments carved within the village. Young and old danced together. I hated to end the frivolity.
Standing in the center to the dancing ring, I pounded my staff on the ground. Everyone turned to me. “There is no time for merriment. Eden’s end is nigh.”
Someone snickered and the music began again.
How could they ignore my words? Wasn’t it my responsibility to warn them of the danger?
One of the leaders, Draes, placed a hand on my shoulder. “Come. Let’s discuss this somewhere quiet.”
I followed him to his dwelling.
He shut the door. “What is this about, Elion?”
“Have you noticed how the animals are fleeing the island?”
Draes rubbed his bald head. “I am sure there is a logical explanation.”
“There is. The island is sinking. If we wish to survive, we must escape as well. I had to warn everyone.”
“I would expect nothing less.” He blew out a breath as he paced the room. “This isn’t the first disaster you have foretold, Elion. The last three did not come to fruition. How do I know that you’re correct this time?”
He would mention those other times. “I was just doing what I thought was right.” Couldn’t he see the danger he was in? If he didn’t heed my warning, all would perish.
“What proof do you have?”
“I can show you the readings.” I opened my pack and pulled out the charts.
Draes shook his head. “I don’t know what any of this means.”
I started to explain, but he held up his hand.
“The details aren’t important. Thank you for brining this to me. Leave it with me to do what I think is right.” He rolled up the chart and tucked it under his arm. The look on his face concerned me. Did he understand the urgency? “And Elion, keep this to yourself for now.”
“Time is running out. We must leave.”
Draes simply nodded before ushering me out the door. He rejoined the dancers as if our conversation had never taken place.
I couldn’t sit still and watch everyone die. Despite Draes’ warning, I had to warn them. I climbed onto a table and called out to the others. “Eden’s end is nigh. Flee this island before you are consumed by the sea.” Over and over I yelled the words until Draes pulled me down.
“Did I not just warn you to keep quiet?” He dragged me away from the celebration. “I’ve sheltered you long enough. The Council of Elders will deal with you now.”
A meeting with the elders was a rare privilege. I knew I could convince these esteemed men. As Draes hurried me along, I began to formulate my plea. They would do something.
I never got the chance to speak.
Draes presented the Council with a list of my past follies. Perhaps I had been wrong those other times, but this was different. The animals were gone. The sea crawled further onto the land. The quakes were more frequent. Were they blind to the danger?
I tried to decipher the Council’s murmurs. Too soon, they returned with my verdict.
“Elion Takrian, for your frequent lies and imaginings of doom, you are hereby banished from the Isle of Eden. Speak to no one. You sail with the evening tide.”
“But…” Their ears were shut to my words. With a heavy heart I left the Council. A guard followed me to my dwelling. I had no doubt he would strike me down if I dared to speak.
As the sun set, I watched Eden shrink away. How much longer before the island disappeared? I’d never know.
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