A small group of haggard barbarian hunters awkwardly wince, awestruck and shaken, before the behemoth source of primeval light that confronts them, its blinding brightness so hostile they must protect their vulnerable eyes with their shields and outstretched hands, actively arching their bodies away from the fulgent antagonist in a futile attempt to ameliorate its impending luminescent aggression. When their eyes adjust, they warily crawl towards the linear wall of intense palpitating illumination standing militantly before them, the demarcation between themselves—vulnerable in the gray shadowy vestiges of a waning violent storm—and an overtly penetrating tranquility, which fills the compass of the expanse that stretches out ahead of them, a pulsing fluorescent boundary, a formidable, thick glass wall extending infinitely both vertically and horizontally, separating the storm-battered, wearied warriors from the endless field of golden corn eagerly reaching for the expansive blue, cloudless sky and its auriferous sun.
Within the twenty-foot thick vitreous wall, giant web-like metallic cables support the colossal structure with geometric precision, and on the other side of the glass barrier is the endless field of glowing, ray-drenched corn the mammalian herd covets. Corn as far as their red eyes can see, tasseled ears slightly swaying in homogenous golden sunlight while on their side of the monolithic glass wall, dingy, brooding storm clouds hang above the heads of the hungry hunters in the disinterested crepuscular dusk. The beasts stare, agape, at the luminous curiosity, wondering how they can penetrate the wall and enter Eden.
The leader of the hunting group looks apprehensively back at his followers and then nods to them assuredly before he turns back and faces the wall. He then tentatively touches his forefinger to the glass barrier. A loud, fulgurous blast instantly electrocutes the beast―intense heat scorches the mammal’s fur as a deafening shockwave sends the creature flying, arching over rain-pummeled plants and glistening minerals; its golden mane waving with air currents that bristle against it; its seven-foot tail snapping frenetically through the flight; its long arms turgid against its sides; its red eyes extinguished; and it lands with a dull thud upon a large, pliable, carnivorous plant that voraciously consumes it, almost silently save the initial crunch of bones.
Erupting into raging violence, the attendant beasts rush for their primitive weapons and attack the plant, rendering it and their former leader a collective mush that produces the harsh, wafting odor of sulfur and burnt almonds. The beasts wail in anger at the sky, roaring collective pain to their gods a radish-screaming displeasure at the injustice of Life. Turning toward the gigantic, gleaming, corn-taunting glass structure, the tallest beast runs for a large stone and throws it at its luminous nemesis. With a dull thud, the stone innocuously bounces off the structure and splats the moistened ground as a laser ray from within the wall blasts the beast into oblivion immediately followed by a more devastating explosion that instantly kills every plant and animal within a fifty-mile radius of the explosion, a semi-circle of fuligenous death that stains the burnt ground away from the undamaged transparent wall that protects and endless waving sea of golden corn harbored safely behind the redoubtable glass wall, mocking the outside devastation with deafening silence.
֍ ֍ ֍ ֍
On a distant continent of the storm-ravished planet, another tribe of nomadic beasts finds temporary shelter in a cave recently carved out by terrestrial wind, rain, and fire. The auburn sun slips unnoticed into the horizon as mild winds and leaden precipitation block sunset’s nocturnal pageantry, engulfing it into a velvet gray fog. Evening always brings a sense of highly anticipated relief to the tribe of atavistic human betas whose name translates to They Who Are Heavily Burdened. Midas, the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece sits regally upon his throne, a huge boulder deep within the cave of his people, a stoned fortress that shields his tribe from the fatalistic weather patterns that harrow earth’s surface with intense electrical storms that sporadically flash red fingers of lightning across the dark lavender sky or produce swirling orange-yellow funnel clouds that burrow ditches miles-wide into the dark, red-crusted landscape, callously raping its botanical population.
Midas’ seven-foot frame is lean and menacing to his followers, and when he raises his hairy arms, he appears as tall as the trees. He is covered in soft fur from his head to his tail, a prehensile appendage with a ball of fluffy fur on its tip that trails behind him six feet when he’s not using it to swat away insectile aggression. Midas claims the highest part of the cave in which he and his followers pass time when the weather is so horrific that no one can venture safely outside.
The following morning is relatively calm, and although the wind is fierce, there are no ominous black and red streaked clouds heavily spackled against a pink sky, the customary flocculent harbingers of violent atmospheric clashes that portend danger and encourage all tribal members to huddle together safely within the security of the cave’s stoned walls. The opportunity for a relatively calm hunting expedition is as apparent as the elongated dark purple shadows that casually creep towards the sunrise peeking its luminous eye over the horizon, and as the solar miracle teasingly presents itself to full grandeur, the tribe splits to fulfill respective duties. Bundled up tightly against the wind, two groups separate, the stronger in search of wild game while the distaff tend to more domestic responsibilities.
After trekking a few miles north of their cave, the hunters spot tracks of the mutant wild boar. They are all aware of the animal’s serrated teeth, and their nerves quicken as they focus on the present task, moving slowly through lush vegetation with the precision of ants assiduously picking the exoskeleton of an giant mutant horned beetle until nothing is left but a fragile carapace. The men silently stalk their hidden prey with the focus of an atheistic praying mantis trying to reject its religious dogma.
A thundering grunt echoes through the valley, and a large porcine mutant charges a pubescent boy on his first hunt. The guttural explosion from the charging pig frightens the boy who drops his weapon and stares wide-eyed-red at the raging animal. Within seconds, the large incisors of the genetically altered razorback tear through the boys leg, spewing blood, fan-like, out and away from his body in radial pageantry, a beautiful sanguine web stretching until the strands evanesce into infinitesimally smaller crimson beads that splatter lush, verdant, almost blue leaves that shade the tropical floor like short, wide umbrellas. The boy screams, and while the other males scramble after the fleeing game, Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary, tends to the hapless victim.
While the stronger group hunts, the second group of the mammalian herd spreads out to pick fruits and berries, not traveling very far from the cave. Sunflower Blossom carries her bundled infant child, and she softly hums as the other women spread out and search for edible flora. Very briefly, the wind stops. The pale-green sun’s rays bathe the fruitpickers with all-embracing warmth; everyone looks to the heavens and smiles. Sunflower Blossom lays the child on its back in the dense vegetation, and the giggling, gurgling infant makes the mother smile, a mutual mother-to-child expression of complete joy. The warmth of the sun is so unexpected and pleasurable that Sunflower Blossom starts to dance, twirling around and around in an ecstatic dervish, her child’s cooing and the birds’ chirping encouraging her to lose inhibition and to continue her aggressive spinning, a kaleidoscopic reverie of bodiless enthusiasm, and she dances with frenetic undulation until she stumbles and trips, lunging forward in wild abandon toward a laughing oak. She tries desperately to catch her balance, stretching her legs in front of her as far as possible as she runs in a semi-circle until the force of gravity finally brings her down to earth in a single, riotously hysterical thud.
She lands on her child, killing her instantly.
֍ ֍ ֍ ֍
Midas leads his group of warriors back to the cave: an array of men fatigued from the hunt but gregariously content with their success, even numbers of men marching in front of and behind the blood-dripping game hanging upside down by its legs from a pole that is carried on the shoulders of two warriors. The young victim of feral aggression is bandaged with blood-soaked leaves and towed on a makeshift gurney, and he’s singing; the two warriors pulling him along smile at the pubescent warrior’s merriment—a hallucinogenic reaction to certain medicinal herbs Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary gave the victim to ease trauma. The hunt has been successful, but as the hunting party enters the cave of violently depressed women wailing in emotional rage, an inescapable, sullen uneasiness presses down upon the warriors like a dense, heavy fog, extinguishing vestigial energy until all physical expressions are spent and only inexpressible emotion remains, an abysmal empty yearning for something unattainable, a shattering desire for yesterday and harsh realization of what is lost forever.