Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Friday Fantasy ~~~ Number Three


Copyright, 2013, Alexander M Zoltai


The Island War

The Island was home to around 50,000 people—place of temperate weather—land of great fertility.

There were two smaller islands close-by—thirty minutes boat-trip-near—one rich in iron ore, to the North—one supplying an abundance of wood from many tree species, to the South.

Of course, all three islands were merely the tops of undersea mountains.

Life was easy on the main island but, naturally, there were the normal crises of occasional ill-health, the rare report of thievery (usually by an over-active youth), and, once in a great while, a physical accident that led to premature death—most folks dying in their sleep somewhere in their nineties.

Travel was by foot, though the roads and paths were all smooth and bordered by perennial flowers.

The social order was maintained by a loose Confederation of heads of families, some male, some female, varying in membership from 50 to 75 people, chosen at an annual gathering called Founders Day; though, the stories of the Founders had been nearly forgotten.

This particular Founders Day still had its archaic representations of Magura and Melophe—two of the oldest people, painted-up and dressed in ludicrous costume—ancient gods that were said to have called the Founders to the Island.

After the festivities reached a low ebb, Delmar stood up on the Founders Rock and hailed attention, claiming an important message—his words being carried to the farthest revelers by an invention of his own making—the wooden bowl called Booster.

“I bring you news of a device sure to establish greater productivity of our crops. I need agreement of the Confederation to increase mining of metal to produce what I call the Equalizer—making seed planting by hand a thing of the past.”

A woman near him raised her voice with: “Do you propose we eliminate the ways of Melophe and anger Magura?”

Delmar chuckled and many in the crowd echoed him. He responded:

“Surely, if we can plant more seed faster and even on land we have ignored in the past, we will still be following the Melophe tradition, trading our hands for the hands of the Equalizer. And, I just spoke with Magura. He says he’s very willing to let us take more metal ore.”

Many in the crowd burst into frenzied laughter.

The one who had questioned Delmar waited patiently till the uproar stopped, then, as she began to walk away, shouted, “When the gods curse us, I hope I’m dead!”

~~~

Melophe stirred within her undersea Mountain. She reached out to Magura with the question: “Why have you upset the balance?”

“There will be a new balance.”

“There is danger in acceding to some of their wishes; or, have you planted this wish in the mind of Delmar?”

“What if I did?”

“I caution you, Magura, do not upset our balance.”

“I caution you, Melophe, adjust to a new balance.”

~~~

The meeting of the Confederation to consider Delmar’s new invention had more than its share of discussion, spurred on by the oldest members.

After a particularly heated phase of disagreements, Delmar requested their attention. It took ten minutes for them to agree to let him speak:

“My dear friends, I completely understand why some of you hesitate to agree to my plans. Old myths die hard and, before some of you start another argument, let me say I find value in some of our traditions.”

There was a low rumble of comment.

“We must remember that the Rituals of Melophe have served us well, keeping us aware of the preciousness of our great good fortune to be living on land so willing to yield abundantly. All my invention will do is to permit a yet greater harvest, some of which can be stored in large sheds to help us even-out the somewhat slower seasons, letting us consume more, giving us greater strength, assuring us that we will never face a time like the one portrayed in our Myths—starvation induced by disagreements

After a slightly less energetic round of discussion, the Confederation reached a majority of yeas—those who still disagreed leaving abruptly.

~~~

Melophe stirred again, causing tremors in her mountain, sending the lumber workers scurrying for their boats.

“Magura, how dare you!”

“What now, sweet Melophe?”

“You influenced the vote on Delmar’s invention!”

“I did?”

“There is no doubt, I sensed dark thoughts in some minds of the Confederation—wishes for the death of those who support maintaining my Rituals.”

“And, what of my rituals?”

“You have no rituals with the people—it is our Agreement—Rituals for me and Impulses from you.”

“Correct. Delmar is merely acting out one of my Impulses

“An Impulse that will negate one of my Rituals!”

“So, give them a new Ritual. But make it a strong one because I am demanding from them a new Ritual—dedicated to Me!”

“You sunder our Agreement?”

“I strongly propose a new Agreement

“I have no recourse but to influence one of them as you have influenced Delmar.”

~~~

The woman who stood up to Delmar on Founders Day, Selkur, was wakened by the force of a dream. She hurried to her desk to write down the words she’d heard Melophe speak:

Insects will breed agressively.

There will be rot in the crops.

Delmar must be restrained and his invention destroyed.

My ways and the ways of Magura must remain in balance.

Warn the people!

~~~

Selkur took her mission very seriously. Only a few of the oldest islanders gave her full attention; yet, even they cautioned her against opposing Delmar.

Most folks laughed at the “predictions” she posted in every public building.

Laughed until they began to notice a few more insects than normal.

Still, they chuckled when she passed them, a scowl of determination on her face.

~~~

When the rotting of crops still in the ground began, Selkur petitioned the Confederation for an open debate between her and Delmar.

They refused.

~~~

The very next year was the saddest in the history of the island.

Twenty percent of the people died

~~~

Delmar had never had a dream till the night of the celebration of Melophe’s Miracle—an ancient Ritual practiced by only the very oldest members of the island society.

It was a dream of chaos—insects eating his body.

He woke in sweat-soaked sheets, rose to find Selkur staring at him through his window.

He screamed: “Vanish, you witch! Leave me in peace!!”

Selkur slowly retreated

~~~

Magura imperiously contacted Melophe:

“I shall put an end to your rebellion!”

“My rebellion? You are the one who started this war

“You are the one who is causing the people to die!”

“They are only people

~~~

Selkur now had many of the folk in her cause.

Some were brave enough to ruin some of the metal Equalizers in the fields.

This led to supporters of Delmar searching them out and killing them.

There was nothing the Conferation could do to stop the mayhem—both sides of the struggle taking revenge for the latest insult from the other side.

The day finally came when the last islander found themselves at the center of the island.

They sat on a rock—mourned the passing of the people—cried themselves to death

~~~

At the moment the last islander’s soul ascended, Melophe and Magura winked out of existence.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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4 responses to “Friday Fantasy ~~~ Number Three

  1. Jane Watson December 23, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I really enjoyed this story. The allegory with modern times in the Western world was compelling – I could not help thinking of the problems involved in large scale production of grain in modern times. The gods at play were fascinating and their end, as they ‘winked’ out of existence, was compelling and had so many subtexts. So far I believe this is my favourite in this series :-)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 23, 2013 at 8:27 am

      Well, Jane, as I think you may know, my gods in the story are meant to work like archetypes in the collective unconscious; so, possibly, they work beyond the realm of allegory (or, work with it) to represent powers that drive modern people as well?

      Like

  2. Angela Yuriko Smith December 24, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Very nice! I haven’t been able to keep up on my blog reading and visits this month and too bad – I have to go back and see what I’ve missed.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai December 24, 2013 at 2:25 am

      Well, Angela, I hope you can at least steal some time to read the Friday Fantasies :-)

      Like

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