Sunday writing 20150802 (#BayWriteClub): A (second) fantastical start, cont’d: The tower of babble

The aggressor called out: “Go into the fields, and grab the first stone you see larger than your fist, and bring it back here. Together, we shall build a mighty thing, a home that will not leak in rain or bluster in the wind! Together we shall make something permanent, something to keep, something that’s ours!”

The tribe cheered, and each person went about their labor, going out into the fields like they might have been gathering fruit in some other place. The eldest watched long as the tribe performed their work, watched as the stones collected, building a very shallow square. One, under further specific instruction from the aggressor, brought up sand from the nearby river and coated the stones in it, using his hands and a stick to build a level foundation upon which more rocks could be stacked.

The aggressor approached the eldest with a look of satisfaction. “You see? We have no need of caves here,” he said, “nor of manna. We shall care for ourselves.”

“But why?” asked the eldest. “What is the need for this?”

“Need?” scoffed the aggressor. “What need is there in your home? What need is there in eating?”

The eldest suddenly felt very sad and a little tired. “We must have shelter. We must have food. The sentiment must does not apply to what you’re doing here.”

“The sentiment must has no meaning here.” The aggressor looked away from the eldest with impatience, preferring to scan his laborers. “What we do here will be good for us all. We can travel with a little more security, knowing that there’s a stable home for us to reach. We can live in comfort, knowing that our shelter is better than whatever we stumbled across and managed to hold for the night. We will make the world for us rather than find our way in the world. You’ll see: There will be comfort, and we will share it with the world.”

Here was the crux, then. The eldest could sense it: his one opportunity to stop this gruesome folly. He started: “Yes, but—”

“No more!” the aggressor commanded. “I will have my house, I will have my people. We will do this. Begone from here if you cannot stand it.” And with that, the aggressor turned his back.

Confusion fell on the eldest then. He felt his mind darken, and everything that the aggressor had said became so much buzzing. In fear, he tenderly reach out his hand and placed it on the aggressor’s shoulder, but the aggressor grabbed the elder’s hand fiercely and with a sudden movement had twisted his arm around so that he fell to the ground on his stomach, and the aggressor mounted his back, screaming, twisting his arm violently so that a sharp strain bolted from his elbow up through his neck. The eldest screamed and tried to buck, but the aggressor was on him and twisting and was not satisfied until he heard a pop, and the pain changed from lightning to a fierce stabbing in his shoulder joint, and the eldest cried and went limp. The aggressor looked on him for a moment with a look of sheer disgust, and he leaned down face to face with the eldest, whispered some noises at him, and then tossed the limp arm to the side and shoved against the eldest to stand up. He then shouted at some members of his tribe who were closest, and pointed at the eldest and made some more noises, but the eldest could not comprehend him.

The tribesmembers didn’t seem to understand the aggressor any more, either. They stopped gathering to stand gawking at him, and a few looked at each other and mumbled. It began to dawn on them within a few seconds that the words they had spoken to each other before now failed them. No sound from any mouth made any sense, and panic set in.

But the aggressor, in his panic, only became more irate, and he barked to the closest member and pointed at the eldest and made a quick movement of his hand that could have been a motion to throw something away. When the member made no motion to move but remained frozen in place, the aggressor went to him and grabbed him by the shoulders and shoved him towards the eldest, and he herded another two in this fashion. He urged them with his movements and with him hands to get the eldest to his feet and to march him away from their building. And so the eldest found himself outcast, standing on the outskirts of the aggressor’s fields, struck dumb.


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