OCT self entry #6, part 1: Kinda
"Of course the goddamn well is empty, the entire town has been drinking nothing else for four hundred years! We founded the town around it!"
"I have a feeling you're not going to add any constructive ideas to this."
"Yeah, i'm tapped, but jesus, couldn't we have gotten around to this BEFORE it dried up?"
"Yes, hindsight is 20/20. I think it's time for you to leave."
"Fine. Just remember that we still have a bit of water reserves, we have a couple of days to think it over before everyone dries up."
So I packed up and left the stupid town council. short-sighted pricks. in retrospect, though, they would have to be even to BUILD this town. I guess it's inherited.
Alright, so my name's Kinda. That's KIN-DA. not the word you use for "more or less". I, like everyone, have lived in this town all my life. Because of the sky-beasts. Nobody leaves! Or, not unless they leave in armored convoys filled with trade goods.
Perhaps I should explain. this town... it's fenced in. by a wall of logs. They keep out the sky-beasts. Or, more accurately, the INFANT sky-beasts. Adults are tame, and, as the name implies, they fly. The young ones, not so much. if i had to compare them to any of the animals that I am told USED to be around... i'd have to say that it bears the most resemblance to a cow. it's a very loose fit, though. They have insanely large heads... and instead of legs, they have about fifteen antennae on both sides. They have muscles in them, but they atrophy when they learn to fly.
Sky-beasts are voracious eaters. that's how they fly. They constantly eat creatures that fly in the air... they're not -birds- per se, they're more like butterflies made of glass. They can't survive in low altitudes, so they fly in incredible numbers in the sky. We don't really know much about them, but they somehow feed on something up there. Gases? I dunno. But they're preyed upon by the sky-beasts, and because they can eat so many, they can excrete roughly the same amount and it keeps them aloft. No, it's not as disgusting as it sounds. Sky-beasts rain. It's foul-tasting, but plants love the stuff. And it can also be filtered, but sky-beasts don't pass over our town regularly, so it's not a reliable water source.
Agh... anyway, the infant sky-beasts. when they're born, they come down to the ground. they're pretty light, so the fall doesn't kill them. once on the ground, they'll eat anything that they can digest. Yeah, humans too. which is why most people live in fenced-off towns. the infants are rather dim, and weak on their own, but you had better believe they come in numbers. You know what our defence against them is? Logs! Goddamn logs! But the damn things are scared SHITLESS of logs, so they leave them the hell alone. Won't touch em. Why? cause they hate splinters. They ever get a splinter that stays in em, it's fatal. their immunse system is so fucked up by living in the sky with no predators that they can't even get harmful things out of their bodies.
So, mankind is well equiped. why not kill the little bastards? Because that angers the BIG ones. you know, the ones that are a force of nature? Yeah, them. they EAT towns that piss em off. So we don't kill the little bastards that are waiting for a chance to devour you in two bites. (Yes, it is always two.) we just let em roam around like they're the dominant species. We build towns around natural resources and use em till they run out, then we raze the buildings and pick up the log wall with all the machinepower we can muster, and wander around hoping to find another spot to settle. Our town's history says we've done this twice already, and we lost a fourth of the population each time.
So our town's looking like it's gonna move again. We either solve the problem or move... so I guess it's up to me to tell everyone. Everyone NOT town council. And I have to wonder how we'll handle it... on my own. I can't think with people around. So, after a hearty course of "Hey, Kinda!" "What's up, Kinda?" and "What's with the spotted pink jacket?" I finally got to the edge of town. And the hell with people asking about my jacket, it's damn comfortable.
So, by the butt-ugly logs, I sat down to think. And I immediately noticed that this where there was a gap in the logs. patched-up gap, but still a gap. That, and it was about 3:00. this was when...
Domm came here every day. he stared at that patch, thinking something, then left. Sometimes he looked sad, other times, proud. Dunno what the hell it meant for him. Nice guy, though. He looks a bit different than the rest of us. Not that big of a problem, what with the sky-beasts, buuuut we wondered sometimes.
Uncomfortable silence. Bah. I need to get out of here.
"Kinda... the town's moving again, isn't it?"
Domm sighed. Oh, wait! I forgot to mention... he's the mayor's son. sorry. But anyway, he stared at the gap a bit more. I wanted to leave. And get something to eat.
Can't. Leave. Would be insensitive.
"I need a friend right now."
"You're... convenient. And I like you. Even though you try to avoid people."
No response to that.
"And, you're perceptive."
"That would be true, yeah."
Domm sighed again. "I'd like to tell you something."
"...Something that has a lot of meaning to you."
"I wasn't born here."
That surprised me a bit. Not too much, but a bit.
"I was taken here by my mother..."
"Who... died heroically?"
"It's hard enough to say this as is."
"Yes, she died heroically. right here."
So that's why.
"She was part of a trading caravan."
"One which went south, I take it."
"Yeah. And she ran up to the walls of this town. Can't lift the wall unless you have a caravan. No doors, obviously. So my mom sidled against the wall to avoid the sky-beasts looking for a way in."
"And she found this gap in the wall."
"And shoved me into it."
"And the mayor found you..."
"My mom was still there when the mayor came. Yelling for help. The mayor took me, and learned my name, and what happened to her... but they couldn't get her inside. not without letting the sky-beasts in. So... my mom died there."
"Do you feel better now, Domm?"
"I guess... I don't know why I kept it secret."
"Yeah. Not that big of a deal- well, to everyone else."
"Thanks for listening, Kinda."
"Not a problem... least, not that much of a problem."
"Heh. You've had enough of my stories. Go save the town."
"Now that... that i can do."
So I left him standing there. It was odd, really. I never really considered many people to be friends. I guess he was my friend. But I never really thought about him. Lots of people have quirks. I have my own damn quirks. And he really wasn't different from many other people. They all had stupid secrets. And probably some non-stupid ones too. I didn't care. I just had to make sure they all lived.
So I moved to another section of the wall, sat, and thought.
And it rained.
And i watched as the water ran down the walls.
And i had my answer.
The rain, of course, gave me a little extra time. people could filter it. but probably we would need a bit of luck to pull this next part off...
"Hey, short-sighted pricks. Got your answer."
"Yes, Kinda, what is it? And spare the language."
"Alright. So, in the end, we will have to move... but without anyone dying from thirst."
"How do you propose this?"
"We follow the sky-beasts. We follow them, and we can make some water-catching systems, and the sky-beasts are damn slow- sorry- so we keep under them for water. and there are plenty of them around, so even after we set down and sleep, we can find another. It'll keep us going until we can find another site for a well... or, better yet, a lake."
"Sounds like you've thought this over. what do we need to do?"
"Simple. Pack up our food and build some funnels onto the logs. That way we can collect water on the move."
"Thank you, Kinda. You've probably saved a great many of us."
"Heh, just doing what i have to in order to keep everybody alive."
So, we packed everything up, made the funnels, destroyed all of our buildings, gathered all of our caravans, and lifted up the wall and made for the nearest sky-beast.
Life went on.
And people kept their stupid secrets.