Imminent humans [Short story]
“They’re here! They’re here! The humans are here!”
The guard beaver was shaking his feet, head held high, tail bouncing.
“The humans have arrived! I repeat: the humans have arrived! Hide your babies! Close your dams! The apocalypse has begun!”
And with one huge slap of his tail upon the water, the guard dived, leaving a few oxygen bubbles to emerge in its place.
A huge commotion followed. All beavers, big and small, brownish and blackish, long-toothed and not so long-toothed jumped at once into the river; nearby birds started chirping, alarmed; and a surprised squirrel dropped his nuts, eyes opened wide, and climbed the first tree faster than lightning.
A long silence followed.
And went on.
Then finally, a young, Inquisitive Beaver raised his head above the surface, scanning the area with his moist, highly efficient nose.
He was a cute, fluffy beaver, not a suicidal one. No, not at all. He just wanted – out of sheer curiosity – to see, once and for all, these apocalyptic beings called humans that everybody had been talking about the past month.
Many legends about humans had been passed down through beaver generations. Grandmama Beaver used to say that human are huge, hairless demons that want, more than anything in the world, the oils from beaver butts – and that they’d kill any and all of them for that! How dreadful! How horrifying! Inquisitive Beaver remembered those chilly evenings when all family members would gather in the Big House on the dam, listening to Grandmama’s stories. Humans would kill! and chop! and eat! beavers. And then they’d cut! and dry! and wear! their furs. And finally they’d wreck! and break! and damage! their homes and their dams – all those months of hard work and effort from everybody!
Yet those were stories from many, many years ago, when their family used to live upstream, in a faraway land, where conflicts with human beings were quite frequent. Here there was peace and there was quiet and baby beavers could float with their belly side up, basking in the sun. What happiness! What bliss! What more could a beaver want?
But then happy times aren’t meant to last for long – or so Grandmama always said. And it was true. About a month ago, awful rumors started coming from the north, spread by traveling ducks and geese. According to them, humans were back in the forest. Tens, hundreds, thousands of them! Vicious, flesh eating, violent humans with their deadly tools and pointless killings! Traveling in packs, hunting together, using their cunning strategies! An imminent menace!
Every little bird, every little bug, every little beast was trembling with fear. The end of the world had come. Here. Now. Once and forever. Just like that. Nobody was powerful enough to fight against humans. Nobody. They were all doomed to become victims.
The young beaver watched, curious yet reserved. Two humans arrived. They weren’t wearing beaver furs, that’s for sure. They looked rather like the trees behind them. They didn’t make much sound, either. And they smelled of forest and sweat, not of beaver oils.
How strange. How peculiar.
The two humans seemed to be wandering around the bank, aimlessly. Suddenly, one pulled something from its hump and set it on the ground. It looked not so unlike the sticks that made up the primary structures of the dams. Were humans building a dam as well? Nah, humans weren’t smart enough to do that – who would be so silly to build a dam outside water?
Just look at them! Now the second human was setting something weird on top of those sticks. Something kind of like a black stone with a round shiny part. Could that be the ultimate death tool? Could it? Could it?
Once those humans set that up, they started waiting. And waiting. Clever beasts, the human beings. They were ambush predators.
But they wouldn’t catch them. Already, more pairs of eyes and nostrils were emerging from the water. All beavers were watching, ready to dash swimming at the slightest threat.
Yet nothing happened.
The black thing did make a few suspicious sounds, yes. But it didn’t move. Humans barely moved themselves. The Inquisitive Beaver was at a loss. What was wrong? Were these the ferocious demons from Grandmama’s stories? Was this the ultimate menace to their small, delicate universe?
Cautiously, he approached. Nobody dared stop him. Neither his mother, nor his siblings. He was on his own. He swam slowly towards the bank. He then got on the muddy ground. One step. Two steps. And then three.
And then there he was, smelling the shiny stone. It smelled of nothing. It made the same rhythmic sounds.
One of the humans, unable to hold it any longer, squealed. The Inquisitive Beaver was gone instantly. He daren’t cross the limit.
“We got it, Ted! We got the cover for the next issue of National Geographic magazine!”
And then, the humans left and never came back.
Many stories had been passed down through beaver generations. Among them, The Story or the Brave, Inquisitive Beaver was the most beloved. It told of a bold, young fellow who was courageous enough to manage to scare off humans, all by himself.
The ultimate menace was gone.
Uneori mai participam la mici concursuri de scriere în engleză pe DeviantArt.
Aici tema pentru prima runda era “Imminent menace” – am trimis lucrarea în ultimul moment din deadline, în februarie 2013 şi am trecut în runda următoare.
Imaginea e de pe http://www.clker.com/
(P.S. Nu mai ştiu de ce castori???)