Chapter One – an excerpt

Our story begins in the forests of Miwinia with the hot day sun beating down on the sleeping creatures of this land. They speckle the hillsides; their orange, red, yellow and occasional purple flowers open to the sun, with tiny primitive flies buzzing about in the air around them. Their roots are planted firmly in the soil, with their long leafy branches spread out to absorb the light. The older ones are large and woody, while the young are bright and green like small saplings – spindly but supple.

Miwinien spend their days asleep in the sun and their nights in the forest, moving about in family groups to cultivate tasty, nutritious soils – the favourite pastime of their creed. The untold delicacies of the earth are far beyond our understanding as humans, for according to the amunzas, there are 1,734 known varieties of soil in the miwinien index, and once in a while, when a rare delicacy is found, there is great cause for celebration.

But today is a special day when more muplunts are ready to release and more miwinien are about to be born. As the sun sets over the horizon, and the night sky starts to reveal itself, Ominum Verecca and her clan are waking up and gathering for the time when Lusithlaad and his siblings will be welcomed into the world.

They sing as they congregate. It is an ancient buzzing; a low whistling harmony passed down through the ages. They steadily shake their big floral eyes, causing the small brittle leaves to rub together while the tiny seed pods ring like bells on the back of their heads. The muplunts from which the babies will be born are tall, dark green trunks with large round pods attached to the end. Originally the muplunts grew straight out of the ground, but now they strain from the weight of the pods and bend completely over so they hang just above the ground. Some are single trunks, while others have up to four trunks radiating out of the one spot, each spawning a single pod.

The first to come down tonight will be Lusithlaad, and over the next few nights many more will be delivered to the earth, for this is the birthing season that comes every three years.

Lusithlaad’s pod hangs down on its trunk, just a couple of feet from the ground, and as the miwinien surround it, they buzz and sing as they stroke the husk with their leafy hands.

Slowly the pod begins to vibrate, and they all back away. Verecca is the only one that stays, for she is the leader of their clan, and she moves in closer to receive the youngling.

With a sudden crack the pod breaks open and the two husks fall apart releasing a small, glistening, green child that almost glows in the moonlight. It hangs there for a moment, still attached by the fine root-like fibres that grow from its branches and stem. It is tightly folded around on itself, having been encased in its mother cocoon for just under a year. As it starts to wriggle and loosen its branches, the fibres brake away from the mother plant and the young miwinien falls straight into the arms of Verecca. The muplunt whips up into the air with a sharp violence, straightening itself to stand tall again, though still somewhat bent over. It has served its purpose and given life, so now it can die in peace. Eventually it will become dry and break down until it falls and joins the earth from whence it came.

All crowd around as Verecca lowers the small creature to the ground. For a moment the youngling lies motionless, its execlintian eye closed over, though by instinct its root begins to extend and find its way into the earth. With a little help from Verecca it slowly stands up and opens its branches to the world for the first time. She takes hold of the sapling’s stem, inspecting it for a few moments and causing a soft vibration to run through its skin, while a faint odour permeates from her flower. The vibration and perfume are just some of the components of her language that says:

“You are Lusithlaad. This is your first night. Be strong!”

© Michael Hole, 2020


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