Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Prompt: The Gardeners (or, hiding doesn’t always mean shy), Part 2

Thanks to Artur Rosa for permission to use his charmingly whimsical “The Gardeners”!

 …Continued from yesterday

Ksdfghjm and Mbvcduytr withdrew their eyestalks at the same time. But they would not leave their gardens unprotected. They wrapped their stalks around each other and pressed their eyes together for fastest communication.

“Agreed!” they both roared. Their eyestalks whipped back outside just as the steebaughs stampeded out of the forest into the graffala-covered clearing in front of the cave. They stopped cold at the sigh of the heavy egg sacs. One, a large male, bared his foretusks and speared a graffala stem. He tossed it high in surprise when it spurted purple liquid and screamed a high-pitched squeal. He shook his head, then ran toward another graffala. That seemed to signal the others to attack the garden too.

In their frenzy, the steebaughs did not see the orange eyestalks waving above the twin caves across the clearing. They did not see the large dark-orange pincers that emerged from the caves. The UV light immediately began to burn camouflage patterns into the chitinous shells of the pincers, so they became almost impossible to see as they swept through the steebaughs' frenzied herd. Soon graffalas' shrieks were matched by the dying cries of the steebaughs, and their purple fluid mixed with the steebaughs’ green ichor.

The burning pincers withdrew into the caves. Ksdfghjm and Mbvcduytr rested silently, in agony. But they dared not call for help, or risk further damage to their prize gardens. Finally, the sun set. Dark figures emerged from the caves, sqeezing out of holes usually left for eyestalks alone. Ksdfghjm surveyed the clearing, then dipped his pincer into a pool of green ichor.

“Oh, sweet relief,” he breathed. Mbvcduytr was busily doing the same. Once their wounds were treated, they began to pull away the steebaughs’ remains from the graffala garden. They worked in grim tandem, for once not competing with every breath. But as they slid back into the caverns, loaded with sweet steebaugh meat, Mbvcduytr pushed ahead, muttering, “I see your largest grafalla sacs were damaged. Too bad. Looks like I will have the better harvest again this sun.”

Ksdfghjm didn’t hesitate as his rear pincer lashed out of the cave and sliced across Mbvcduytr’s remaining sacs. He said nothing as they made their way into the cavern depths.

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle

Allegro Classical Fall 2011 Sampler

Time writing:
~45 minutes

September word count:

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