Fandango's One Word Challenge (FOWC) · fiction · short story

Flood

crone

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The drought in the small village on the plain had been five years long. Many decided to leave and seek a better chance at survival elsewhere. Those weak or otherwise infirm slowly faded away to the next plane. Only the hardiest humans and livestock held on. Family pets stayed close to home as things were getting desperate.

As the sixth year began, the leaders of the village gathered and talked about a course of action. Should the remaining inhabitants stay or should they try to find a new place to settle in. As the drought was across the whole region, there was no sense in relocating to another drought-stricken nightmare.

The oldest person left, a crone at least 107 years old, cleared her throat. The others revered her and she never spoke unless the content had weight. Silence gave her the space to speak.

Let us consult the old one who lives near the tree in the River Land. She’s been on my mind these past few days and it means she has a message for us.”

Two of the healthiest in the village set out for River Land, which was fourteen days walk. They were each given a skin of precious water and some dried jerky and headed for River Land. When they arrived, they were aghast to see that the river itself had dried up. Like their village, the population was greatly reduced from what it was before the drought. They asked someone where they could find the old one. His face drooped as he said she was at the healer’s hut and was thought not to have much time left on this plane.

They were gained admittance to the healer’s hut and approached a pallet in the northeast corner. They had never seen the old one before but they were left speechless at how withered and wrinkled she was. As desiccated as her body was, her eyes shone like bright green jewels as she regarded the two young ones.

Come closer,” she said.

They approached and kneeled beside the rough pallet.

Please, a cup of your water.”

After quenching her thirst, “Please, help me to sit up.”

You’ve come from your village to find out what you need to do next. I’ve had visions for three nights now. You will have to trust the Great Spirit on this one if you hope your village will survive. You must go home now and start building boats. It will rain for a moon’s cycle. Without the boats you will all perish.”

The young ones took the message back to their village about the coming flood. They built boats, as did those in the old one’s village. Many died in the building, but many lived.

And then the rains came.

FOWC — flood

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