Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Excerpt: The More Things Change

The More Things Change is another of my ebook shorts. This one might be termed a novelette. The promo blurb runs,

Griblich and his family are happily ensconced in the Village, a settlement of The People, who are offshoots of The Founders. Their lives are peaceful and pastoral as they hunt and gather and play beneath their lovely red sun and green skies, and love and sleep by the light of their moons. But as Griblich is fond of saying, "Wait awhile, and everything will change."

And it always does...

So sit back and enjoy.

-Stephanie Osborn


Chapter 1 ―The Beginning

Griblich was pleased. He watched as the children he had with his wife Bihune gamboled about the yard in the red of the sunshine, and saw how strong and lithe they were.

"Oh, for the energy of youth!" he told his wife with a half-smile quirking one corner of his mouth.

"Hush that," Bihune smacked him with one ofher front limbs, retracting her claws lest she hurt him. "Here, eat." She handed him a plate of greens. "Children, meal time!" she called, and their offspring galloped toward them, their stubby little eight legs taking them as fast as they could go. "Besides," she added to Griblich, "you know better, and I know better. You hardly lacked energy last night." She threw him a broad grin, all three lips parting wide to show her teeth as her multiply-faceted eyes sparkled. She waved her sensory bristles at him suggestively. He chuckled in return, and waved his own bristles right back at her.

"Well, I do have the most beautiful wife in the Village," he proclaimed as their six children gathered around to eat. He surveyed the lavish spread before them. "You did wellin gathering today, love. That looks delicious. Maybe tomorrow we can make a fresh kill together and have something to eat besides salad."

"Salad is good, Daddy," little Biblich murmured around a mouthful of food. "I like salad."

"There's my baby girl." Bihune smiled again. "But knowing Birglah, he wants meat."

"Well, salad is okay," Birglah decided, chewing thoughtfully. "But a nice fresh steak is better."

"You know Daddy's saying," Loblich interjected. "'If you just wait long enough, everything changes.'"

They all laughed.

* * *

And it did. Some days the hunt was good, and The People had steak with their salad, and fresh,
clean water from the nearby sacred Spring around which the Village was situated. Other days the hunt was less so, and fresh salad was the order of the day. But the plants along the Spring, near which Griblich's home was situated, were lush and plentiful and varied, and no one ever went hungry or became malnourished. And the children grew.

Until the rains stopped.
* * *

As the drought deepened, the temperatures rose. The normally pale green skies turned a hard orange and grew hazy as dust rose into the air. The herds that provided part of the Village's food migrated elsewhere. Unfortunately, no one knew where "elsewhere" was.

But worse, theSpring's output began to decrease, and as it did, the vegetation around it wilted, then turned brown and died. Finally the flow stopped altogether, and the pools and puddles left behind began to dry up.

"I'm hungry, Father," Biblich murmured. "No food today, either."

"Yeah," Burglah agreed. "I'd take a salad today, for sure."

"I'm sorry, children," Griblich told his brood with a heavy heart. "Your mother and I ranged even farther afield than you did, and could find nothing."

"Are we going to die?" Loblich,their youngest, wondered, afraid.

"No, no," Griblich protested, soothing his little one. "No fear of that. Wait long enough and everything changes. But I am beginning to think the Elders are right..." He waved his bristles in deep thought.

"Time to oversleep, you mean?" Bihune wondered, waving her own in sympathetic vibrations.

"Yes. Yes, I think so," Griblich decided. "Come, children. Let us go to the cave."

"Yes, Father..."
* * *

So, deep inside their shelter, in oversleep, neither Griblich's family, nor the rest of The People of the
Village ever knew when the wildfire swept through and obliterated what was left of the Village itself, taking their homes with it. The skies went from orange to black with smoke in its aftermath.

But when the rains began, and the water started to drip from the ceiling of their cave, the entire family awoke. Griblich stretched, then hobbled stiffly over to the cave entrance.

"Dear?" Bihune asked, as all the children looked on, bristles quivering in anxiety. Griblich took his time surveying their surroundings.

"There has been a fire," he noted calmly. "We shall likely have to rebuild. But things are greening up. The Spring is running again, and the herds have returned. Let's go," he declared.

They went out in search of their friends and neighbors, ravenously grabbing a bite here and there from edible plants along the way.


Thus ends Chapter 1 of The More Things Change. Currently it is only available for Kindle, but it can be purchased here.

-Stephanie Osborn

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