Word Count = 500 words
Estimated Reading Time = 2 minutes
Inside were musty old rooms stripped of all but dusty old books, peeling paint, and treasures under stretching old iron roof sheets baking in the African sun. But it was home and it had been for ages. It kept me away from them, away from those that hung by the rafters, building their hollow nests to impregnate my kingdom with their venomous spawn.
I could not hear them now, but I knew they were there, hidden somewhere beyond the security of the window putty. So I willed myself to gather the courage. I decided to face my unseen assailants and prepare myself for the inevitable. If I was to die, I might as well look my killers in the eye. I would not die a coward, locked up in my house of treasures. I would fight as all had fought before me in bravery, not in cowardice.
Sipping at the room’s musty air, I drew the curtains open, unlatched the silver window, and let the fresh country air wash over me, languid and cool. It was refreshing in spite of the searing knowledge of death at my doorstep. The sun had even set her steps right down to my garden as she cooked the earth till it dried of all its will to survive. The earth, like many things, had given up hope of fighting back. It was drained of the green and glowed in the baked ambiance of defeat.
This is what those creatures had done to my beautiful kingdom. They had ridden under the baby blue sky, in their treacherous hordes of midnight black, sounding like a hurricane and as destructive as one. They devoured the life from the earth’s bountiful bosom and left her barren and bare, naked and shamed. But wait, what was that I saw beyond the rusty iron walls? Yes, a butterfly upon a golden stalk of maize. Was fresh food really blooming on the other side? It cannot be. Yet there it was, as clear as day.
Beyond the measly weeds and ruined walls of my kingdom of treasures lay bustling life. The green banana leaves taunted my eyes and fresh mangoes dripped from Dwarven mango trees, teasing my watering mouth. There was a breeze in the Jacaranda trees unlike the deathly stillness in my kingdom. The breeze called to me; to the land beyond my ruined keep.
Come to us! Come and have your fill!
I thought to run, to abandon all hopelessness and scurry to the land beyond but then the buzzing began and my eyes lifted to the rafters above. There they were, sat above my window, three beautiful sentries; treacherous with their stings and venom. They bore the face of fair maidens, and their hair was as golden as the maize manes at harvest time. But they were not the sign of plenty. No! They signaled death and destruction, sent to destroy my beautiful kingdom. They were the daughters of the hurricane horde.