(reading time: 1 hour)
Begumisa the Trespasser
“Yes, I went into your tower Queen Nkoro. I know what my soldiers would say: my scar pulled me there. Since I’m contaminated the only thing I ever could’ve wanted was a throne of my own. There was one at the center of a dead city, unguarded. So I went in, alone, to see what I could claim. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 18 minutes)
“What do you mean I can’t go in? It’s the grove; it belongs to all of us.” Mr. Jon-Luc didn’t have the energy for a more spirited argument. His back was bent from a day of walking, the sun was already behind the spire, and he needed a place to sleep for the night. The cherry grove seemed perfect. The crickets could sing him to sleep and he could curl up under a blanket of leaves. The thought of it was heavenly, rolling his weary eyes up into his head, but they were pulled back when the argument continued. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 12 minutes)
One Queen to Another
The harvesters seemed to have necks made of leather. Day after day they went out into the blazing sun and picked cherries, counting on nothing but the leaves to shade them. Only the elders ever wore hats, and that was more so they could see than be protected from the burning heat. This meant that Keikogile had no way to conceal the glowing cracks on the side of her neck without drawing stares. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 34 minutes)
The deep crocodile pen was drained and abandoned. Mister Koulsy walked around on the bottom of it, his boots squishing the water plants into the shallow puddles of water and mud left behind. He lifted their stalks with one foot, checking under them for any stragglers. The animals had ranged in size from only fifteen centimeters long to just over nine meters, yet none had been left behind in their exodus. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 28 minutes)
The skull of nutcracker man was on the move for the first time in a long while. His services were needed by the Science Authority, needed by the head of it in fact, so a young scholar had been sent to fetch the ancient cranium from its cozy museum home near the bones of queens. He was wheeled, safe within his glass box, through the corridors and down to the lower levels of the spire. It was in an elevator that the young scholar first spoke to him. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 26 minutes)
Banished to the Basement
Commander Begumisa returned to the grass-comber at the very edge of the order she’d given Genomon. Just five minutes more and they would’ve returned without her, assuming her death. She came back with her hound stick and no physical clues to Laetoli’s fate. The whole of the expeditionary force watched her slow walk across the barrens. When she got to the grass she sat on the edge of the comber without a word, simply snapping her fingers until someone gave her a canteen. She took two large swigs and then poured a third over the back of her hung head. Eventually they could not wait any longer. Continue reading
(reading time: 1 hour, 24 minutes)
Omen of Laetoli
Seventy men and women in brown uniforms moved across the grasslands, now far outside Colduvai. No warfare had been seen in decades, so the military style of the clothing was only cosmetic. The fabric was soft and breathable; it was easy to fold back a sleeve or a leg and turn it into something more casual. Colduvai hadn’t required a shaved head for the Peace Authority in generations, so most of them couldn’t wear the tiny hats that came with the uniform, instead using them to gather nuts from any trees the grass-comber passed. Continue reading
As time plodded along the artifices of man crumbled, leaving only one city. Colduvai, still standing in a region of Africa near human genesis, survives because of the might and devastating beauty of Queen Magthwi. She stands as the center of the world.
Something lurks, not daring to show its face to her, but it eats at her kingdom nonetheless. Citizens are disappearing, or worse, giving up, even dying from the anxiety of sitting in their own homes.
The queendom resists, but it does not appear they can hold out against the mysterious scourge. The diplomatic envoy doesn’t return. The zookeeper goes mad and unleashes his flock. A traitorous girl dabbles in the royal fluids, engineered by generations long past, and seeks a throne of her own. Still the queen stands and does her best to cradle a thrashing people until the end.
(reading time: 1 hour, 7 minutes) (reading time for entire novel: 10 hours, 30 minutes)
Collapse of Colduvai
The greatest mistake life ever made was convincing itself that only parts of the Earth were home. It grew bodies that could only swim, crawl, or fly. Already the error was made, the Earth split into the three kingdoms of land, sea, and air. Life had missed Earth as medium, as separate only from the empty cold of space. Continue reading