Mother of the Oasis (Short Story)

Image courtesy from roberthood.net

The air was thick with the spice of joy. As the celebrating members of the Shahud tribe were gathering their hunt tribute around the mother of trees. The organic edifice was beheld with honor. The various offerings of the oasis dwellers were piling up at the slender legs of their frozen goddess.

The statue had preserved her angry grin. A beast of long lost millennia was watching her worshipers. By such devotion, one could only guess she harbored the greatest pride.

As the legend has it, she offered her pectoral nectar to the wandering warrior from the desert. What the lone warrior lost of blood, she restored with her motherly love. A thousand years had passed since that incident. And ever since, the Shahud tribe was granted the chance to thrive in this miniature oasis. A green enclave within the flaming golden desert. For generations, they fed on her glorious secretions. The goddess had petrified in time, but the fountain of grace from between her forelimbs was a source of nourishment and remedy to all.

So I thought.

The high-speaker of the shelled mother did not spare a night without preach. Telling the foray of faithful tribe members how graceful the mother beast was to her brood. He dreamed of her words and dazzled the audience with songs of the insect mother.

As of me, I was the outcast in this love story. My first mischief was when I crashed on this forsaken planet. In the following days, I was robbed of my bodily fluids, the charring heat of the desert had backed my skin brown. Since my ship fell from the pink sky, the only notion my weary mind could hold, was that craved gulp of water.
My second and greater mischief was when I found the flourishing oasis.
As I walked among the contemptuous eyes, I pleaded and begged for the smallest scrap of generosity. I offered all that I had of value for one taste of that sweet water they held dear. They answered me with clubbing and a cage of filth.

I screamed and shouted for an act of mercy. I begged for a swift death. My cries fell on quixotic faces. Nobody understood my vile tongue.

As the night moved on, I licked my hands and gathered the sweat into my mouth; Degrading myself further for a chance to survive.

As the millennial ceremony carried on, I watched these savages and their nocturnal doltish rites. However, on the third night when the three moons were high and full, the party became more interesting.
I was watching since I couldn’t offer or do anything else. Was I kept as a meal for later, or would I be left in the desert with my belligerent fate?

The dances slowly started to lose the usual rhythm I got accustomed to.

Then screeches and sporadic screams were heard all over. The first who screamed were removed from the dancing throng for their rude annoyance. The number of those who fell with ache and agony escalated rapidly, soon enough almost all of the tribe turned to a sweaty pile of squirming beasts. With the frozen Goddess standing on top of her sickened children.
My mind was invigorated with this new puzzling development, at least for once I could focus on something other than my torment. But my intrigue changed to spine-frosting terror. All the tribe was now on the ground; dead mounds of flesh.
In the midst of that silence, something else expressed signs of life. The statue of the creature was not a statue anymore. The gray ash covering the segmented bulk started to crumble. Within hours, the grunting monster had been fully reanimated and swaddled from its position and prowled around her dead audience. It lowered its tall neck, and her jaws began devouring its dead children. From its ravenous consumption, one can understand the built up hunger from centuries of hibernation. I hid in the darkest corner of my cage, praying that its black eyes would not glance a living meal.

But the dreadful night had more to feed my nightmares.
Some bodies were starting to show signs of arrhythmic movements. I say small bony limbs with rope antlers crawling out of the scattered cadavers. Some rushed to the insect mother, others remained with their surrogates, only to feast on what remained. By the first break of dawn, there was a new mutant tribe of arthropods. And their queen didn’t seem to have its full of human flesh.
I thought my fate was decided; how merciful were the arms of the desert. And I ignorantly had refused their generous death.

Surprisingly, some divine presence had seemed to feel pity for my worthless soul. As the feast ended, the swarm of giant chitin monsters left me be. They left the oasis and headed to tho open expanse of yellow dunes. And never to be seen again.

Nature created such oddities. What a peculiar deceiving cycle of life.

Now I could allow thirst and hunger to take me from this world where monsters roam free.

This is my last entry in my audio recorder; And from the look of it, I will greet you with my heap of bones.

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