Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)
TITLE: Wind of Death
By Shelley Ledfors
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We didn’t listen, of course. Not only did we dismiss their prophecies, we made fun of those who tried to tell us about the dangers.
Nimali, especially, could do a perfect tottering old fool impression. He’d purse his lips and speak with a slight whistle like an oldster without teeth.
“You young ‘uns need to listen! There are dangers out there you know nothing about. Death! Disaster! They’re all around. Beware!!!” He would end the performance by stumbling about as he waved improvised canes--much to the delight of the raucous crowd.
Arthro and the rest of us would add our jokes and witty commentary. We had a grand time. But no one believed the elder’s apocalyptic pronouncements. …At least not until they began to come true.
First, it was the fog.
I entered the food pod one morning to find everyone all abuzz. Secta had just returned from his semi-annual trek to the equine center and he had news.
“You know that killer fog the old folks yammered on about? It’s true! I barely escaped. It swept in from the back and filled the whole place in a matter of seconds. It seeped through the cracks; it penetrated everything. I tell you, it was like something out of one of those Stephen King stories in the ancient archives!”
“How did you escape?” Pretty little Ptera asked, her voice trembling with emotion.
“I was by the front door, so I dashed out. But even though I got outside fast, the fog affected me, too. I could hardly breathe or move or even think. It’s a miracle I got away. But the others…”
He buried his head in his hands. When he finally looked up his face contorted in a grimace. Tears reflected in his eyes, making them appear even larger than normal. He looked around at each of us, shuddered and drew a ragged breath. “It was just horrible. They didn’t have a chance. They were dropping like…well, you know…” His voice trailed off and he succumbed to sobs.
It got worse.
One morning during chore time, I made my way to the refuse disposal module. Everything seemed normal, at first. Then I heard voices. Only a couple, and those were thin and weak. But their message was unmistakable.
It took me a while to find the source of the whispers. I looked all around, but saw nothing.
Then I looked up.
What I saw sent a shudder of terror right through to my abdomen. They were hanging. Dozens of them. Most were already gone. The few who still had breath to put to voice called out their weak warnings.
“Is there anything I can do?”
“No! No…there’s nothing,” Muscid answered. “Most of us are here because we tried to help the others, and we ended up just like them. Please…go…save yourself.”
I hesitated, drew as close as I dared and saluted; then I left.
I called an emergency meeting of the Musca Domestic Council. It was time to listen to the elders.
Old Linneaeus was the senior council member. I had to help her to the podium. “I know things look bad, now. But I have to tell you--the worst is yet to come. ”
Several in the crowd shouted out similar questions. “What could be worse than the fog? Or the hangings?”
“The wind of death. The green wind of death,” she rasped. “There are many such winds--all life-threatening, but none as powerful as the green. I barely escaped it when I was a girl. It took my mother, my father--my whole family. But then it left. There was no sign of the green wind for a long time. We hoped it had been destroyed. But it wasn’t. I saw it again this very morning.”
So began one of the darkest times in our history. The wind took many, but a few of us lived to tell the tale. Now we’re the old timers. Now it’s our turn to warn the others. About the fog. About the hangings. But most of all, about the green wind of death.
“Hey! Look what I found last week. I thought this was gone for good.” The object was brandished rapidly. It made a whoosh with every pass. “The green one! I don’t know what it is. We have a bunch of flyswatters around here, but the green one works best of all.”
Author’s Note-- Animals (insects) were harmed in the development of this story. Names are based on the following: The housefly---Kingdom-Animalia; Phylum-Arthropoda; Class-Insecta; Order-Diptera; Family-Muscidae; Genus-Musca; Species-Musca Domestica Linnaeus.
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