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GABRIEL

 

LEK

ASPIRING AUTHOR

The Race

This title is under the Peabody Collection

The Opening Line

It was out there. And again there was nothing he could do but crouch behind the long row of monkey puzzle trees adorning the mountainous north. What was that? How could it possibly come into being? An act of creation, made to destroy. He tried to recall the time it happened, the time the haunting flowed down the brook into an ever-present, never-yielding, murmur. But strange it was, a nebulous shadow that dangled behind, that weighed him down in the most surprising manner at every false step. He could not recall. The dark, deep-set eyes look askance as though he had done something wrong, as when a claw is placed beyond some invisible wall, against the rules of the universe to be judged by this cacodemon, the dark minster of Hell.

It came in four stages. It begins with the vocalized growl, usually witnessed in some vibrating mound of rock that reveals itself to the weary traveler as nothing more than an unassuming boulder hiding beneath a blanket of leaves, or snow. An invitation to rest lay extended, enthralling the victim with its sneaky head. Nibbler would sit, and peace and tranquility came. But he thought he felt something – a shake, a slight little tremor. No, it could not be. But time and experience forced him to act. With a querulous meow, the young paw fell off. Next came the stage of discovery. Like any cartoon begging to show the ridicule of extremes, the unveiling would first reveal something innocent, perhaps a big round eye that so captivates the victim’s attention. A nice play of subterfuge, a trick to reward the curious with a harmless tease. To come just a little bit closer, for sport.

When the little paw has inspected the foe to his satisfaction, sizing the eye to be no bigger than his foot, the great creature of imagination would coincidentally come to collect its prey. Rumbling a huge grin, the thing would arch its mouth upwards and turn its head ever so slightly to face the welcomed intruder. This is the third stage, where the victor enjoys the spectacle of timid frenzy and choking, tear-biting surprise. Next come the carefully calculated roar, timed to ensure a suitable distance between them before piercing the foe dead in its tracks with stone-chilling silence.

The run begins. A race of two voices between little rex and the tyrant – one squealing like a discombobulated ostrich catching its own neck while the other howling in an exhibition of balance – perhaps in some part as a way of doing an ethnography on the vulnerability of the whimpered, seeing that she has little experience in that one area. Many a time she caught up to the little pawprint, only to point her mouth lower and give a penetrating stare, with a pronounced, accusatory right eye. At other times she rather preferred to simply click the sides of her two prominent teeth, preferring to keep the goods private and leave it up to her captive’s wanderings.

He noticed it. Felt the raw, tough hide of tempered steel. He bowed down, not in grand consummation to the Design of philosophy, nor in revelation to the biblical arcana of divine intervention, but in response to the smirking tail flick of a certain self-proclaimed Creator Bitey. Where did the lofty ideals of martyrdom and devotion run to? Into the soil, perhaps, as Nibbler’s red-beaked face burrowed into the ground with her colorful feathers forming a crown of exotic ferns over a deceptively looking rock. She stared at the shivering abject, an accurate and more honest reflection of herself. But that only served to amuse, and she paraded round that fine specimen, an artifact so removed from the dictates of her own class. For a stark moment, all was still. Silence followed. A large dangling mouth crept. It encircled, with a playfully innocent glee not unlike that of a caricaturist’s scientifically whimsical drawings of a shark or mammal resembling a certain purple dinosaur. With every three heartbeat thuds she proceeded to put that dominant pulsating object of hers over the critter, nibbling the young thing with such tenderness one could wonder if it was not out of a purely generous heart or a wanton display of authority, particularly with her signature pouting stare with one eye larger than the other. Bitey proceeded to coax the youngling out of the hole with her teasing mouth, till the small eyes of Nibbler’s met the ballooning, bright, ones of her own.

He stared hard at the figure, a Praxitelean creation. 45 tonnes of weighted steel, each giving the heathen appearance to this movable stone machinery operating on two legs, dragging behind an idiotic tail that majestically destroys everything behind. He looked at the individual brick-like squares of wrought Brunswick skin leading down the neck to those tiny little arms…

Somehow at this odd act of impertinence, a chord struck within the alpha female. She fell, and collapsed into a heap, before splitting into a thousand black pieces, each dissipating into the air. The young one has endured it again. It was only an implantation, an idea generated by the collective imagination of a race desirous of improving their lot by judging others to be beneath their kind. A race of the fancy, where the fair world only required one to enter the egalitarian stage by virtue of its lesser relatives, and not the true word or distinction, however old the relations may be. Of course, it could only be possible through the human creation – a whimsical fancy. The race to run from a mistaken legacy thus sets its course, amid the million fold alterations destined to change its history. To make them appear more dangerous, fearful, in part to languish in their own assumed hearts of elegance, kindness, and generosity.

The lone nibbler raised his two feet up, and steadied his own little arms, raising his tail up to the level of his teeth. Soon he would grow to become a facsimile like the biter, at the other end of the extreme, in order to fulfill the divine prophecy of the forced dichotomy encountering any story. He had wondered about his colors, how they run the gamut from the gelatinous cloud of orange to the green and yellow pearls of bubblegum cyan across his feather tips. And that squeal he made that sounded so unnatural to his own species. He remembered the dilemma of having to eat, of having to stuff pot into his victim’s throat in hope of a painless death. How did he do it before? How did he go through the motions of his painful diurnal experience? He could not remember. At last, he gazed up the sky to face his Creator, where dark splashes of ink was beginning to rain the world. He looked down once more at his tiny little arms. But there were none. He too, was beginning to disappear.

Continued...

A battle between a fearsome creature and a ‘tiny’ pal. Who are they really running from?