Kali’s Story (fiction)

Kali was getting frustrated.  Usually, Daisy was a very solid plow animal, but today she seemed nervous and jittery.  Kali scanned the surrounding landscape for any signs of predators.  Large three-horned lizards like Daisy usually ignored all but the largest lizard-kind predators or the ones that traveled in packs, but Kali couldn’t see or hear any signs of them.  In fact, it seemed unusually quiet; he didn’t hear the usual chirping of birds, or the chattering of monkeys.  The skies were blue, with only a few clouds on the horizon, so it didn’t seem to be an impending storm that was causing Daisy to act so strangely.

A lot of things had been rather strange around the village in the shallow valley below Kali’s farm lately.  That crazy old man had finally finished building his enormous boat.  It was almost two hundred paces long, and seven or eight times as tall as he was.  The nutty old geezer who built it was probably six hundred years old, and he’d been building that boat and preaching about God’s judgment for over a hundred years.  In fact, the very field Kali was attempting to plow had been cleared of trees about fifty years earlier in order to provide lumber for the old man.  What a crazy old coot, he thought.  There wasn’t a body of water large enough to float that monstrosity within five days travel from here!

The really weird thing was the animals.  Over the last few weeks, thousands of animals had been seen wandering across the countryside, heading straight for the old man’s boat.  Most were common animals Kali had seen before, like bears, cattle, long-necked behemoths, and elephants.  However, there were also many that he’d never seen, that came up from the swamps by the sea, down out of the hills, or from the forests in the regions beyond.  Kali thought it was odd that all of the animals were young, barely at the breeding age, and were always seen in pairs, one male, and one female.  They walked right to the boat, up the ramp, and through the single door at the top of the ramp.  He also thought it was peculiar that the door was always open; the old man never closed it, even when the mobs were surrounding the structure, threatening to take the boat by force and kill the old man’s entire family.

The old man and his family had been buying up all the grain and other foods they could get their hands on, and loading it on the boat.  The reason Kali was replanting so early in the season was because he’d sold everything he’d grown to the man’s sons.  He’d gotten them to pay a lot more than the usual price, too.  They tried to convince Kali to come aboard the ship, telling him that a great flood was coming, and that God was going to judge the world for their wickedness.  Kali shook his head and laughed out loud.  What a bunch of idiots!  They were over a week’s travel from the sea; how could there possibly be a flood?  And why would God destroy him?  He wasn’t like those really evil men that went around burning fields, stealing, and killing villagers.  Sure, he’d done many bad things during his life, like the old man preached, but no worse than anyone else; and in fact he did a lot less bad things than most.  At least he’d left the old man alone, rather than trying to kill him, like the mob in the village had tried to do again last month.  Kali had really thought they’d finally get him this time, but something – some kind of wind, maybe – had kept them from setting the boat on fire, along with the old man and his family inside.

Kali continued to try to get Daisy to settle down.  Three-horned lizards were usually much steadier than cattle as plow animals, and much stronger, but Daisy was definitely very uneasy about something.  Suddenly, Kali couldn’t control her any longer.  She broke free of the plow, and bolted across the field, faster than Kali had ever seen a three-horn run before, in the direction of the hills.  Before he could take chase, he suddenly felt the ground begin to shake, the wind began to blow, and he heard a low rumbling sound in the distance behind him.

Turning toward the sound, he stared at the horizon, trying to make sense of the scene he now saw.  Dark, thick storm clouds were quickly rising in the distance, moving rapidly in his direction.  Kali had never seen clouds move so fast.  There was what appeared to be a wall of something – he couldn’t make it out – also moving toward him.  As the ground began to shake more violently, and the wind became stronger, Kali struggled to remain on his feet.  What was happening?  As the sky darkened all around him, and the rain began to fall, Kali scrutinized the village and the old man’s boat below him.  Another mob surrounded the boat, but this time, the door of the boat appeared to be closed.  Instead of sounding angry, the mob sounded – terrified?  And what was that wall of – something – that moved ever so much closer?

Kali stumbled to the ground.  The earth continued to shake, and the rain began to fall in sheets harder than Kali had ever seen before.  He could no longer see the village through the rain.  He wanted to run for shelter, but the ground shook so violently, and the wind was blowing so hard, that there was no way he could go anywhere.  The sound became deafening.

Then it happened.

A wall of water, higher than Kali could see, swept over him.  As he bobbed to the surface, Kali gasped for air.  The last thing he saw before losing consciousness was the old man’s enormous boat, just a few yards away, but hopelessly impossible to enter.

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