#digiwrimo My Novel in a Day Vignette

Well the Novel in a Day turned out to be an unqualified success! The goal was 50,000 words, and we ended up with around 42,000. You might not say that's a success, but remember that it contains quite a few pictures, and a picture is worth a thousand of them, isn't it?

Besides, some of those words are MY words, which are about 10 times better than those normally found in the English language.

And here they are! My contribution to #digiwrimo 's Novel in a Day.

Digi in the City

Ezeke and a hundred other men and women of his tribe had been travelling wearily for days upon days. The ground was hard and barren, with no sign of game or water for miles. In the day it scorched with the heat of a sun, and at night it steamed and cooled. But night was when the twinkling eyes of ferocious predators glinted hungrily at them from afar, their calls echoing into the night, daring the tribe to come out into the open so they can have an easy meal.

Ezeke gathered his people at dawn each day, when the ground was still cool enough to travel upon, and they walked until mid-morning, when it would get so hot that their sweat burst into steam the moment it landed. Shortly after mid-morning, the Giants invariably came, thundering across the wasteland, each of their footfalls promising death if Ezeke and his tribe got too close. The tribe hid when the Giants came, either in the wasteland's many ravines or, if they were very lucky, in the flora of the oases that the tribe found every few days. Had it not been for the oases, the tribe would have died out long ago.

In fact, the oases were the only part of this journey that could be considered positive. The scorching, punishing ground, ravenous, nocturnal predators, and rampaging, deadly Giants often made members of the tribe wonder what was so damned “Promised” about this place.

But Ezeke was their elder, and they followed him thusly. He had kept them out of harm's way as they made their journey, and he assured them in his demure voice that once they reached the Pillars, they will have become so hardened and capable that their lives from here on out would be just peachy.

Most members of the tribe had never so much as seen a peach, and were often lost when Ezeke spoke to them these ways.

The Pillars was their destination. It was their salvation. Their endpoint. Their lives, which were currently fragile and short and meaningless, would finally become whole. They just had to keep listening to Ezeke, and following him over the scorching, barren, hard, punishing desert. Most of them had been travelling so long that they no longer remember how bad it was back at home, or if it was worth this journey at all.

But after weeks of travel, their patience was rewarded. They had found an oasis, the largest of them all, and when they emerged, as if by a miracle, The Pillars were there.

They were tall, fat, and orange. They went all the way to the sky, and looked perfectly capable of holding it up. Beneath them was the most magnificent shadow that the tribe had ever seen. The oases had never come close to providing that much shade. The sun wouldn't be able to reach the ground and bake it. And they wouldn't need to be constantly cowering from the Giants, as it was foretold that the Holy Pillars could ward the Giants away.

When Ezeke came to the Holy Pillars, he dropped to his knees. The hot desert ground was starting to scorch, but he didn't mind. He cast away his canteen, his scarf, and his walking-stick, and held up his hands. There were tears sparkling in his eyes as he raised his face to the Pillars.

“It's here...” he said desperately. “It is here, where we will settle our tribe!”

The tribe cheered, throwing their scarves and their cloaks and their hats in the air in joy. Ezeke was right, he had lead them to The Pillars, and they wouldn't need to mutinously cast him out into the night to be devoured by nocturnal predators after all.

They crowded under the shade of the Pillars, laughing, crying, patting each other on the back and hugging. The Pillars had been their goal for these last miserable weeks, and they had reached it. Their tribe had limitless potential, but for now, there was only sleep.

Mid-morning was rolling around, and they sprinted to the shade of the Pillars. By the time the tribe had reached its comforting shade, the Giants were out their gargantuan steps shaking the earth with every stride.

But the Pillars held, and the Giants did not approach it.

The next day, the tribe began to make long-term plans. Even with the shade of the Pillars, they would need shelter, in case the desert decided to turn traitorous and wash them away with rain.

The nearby oasis was actually quite bountiful with building materials. The earth was healthy, and the foliage was green, but the real treasure lay just under the dirt surface. The tribesmen and tribeswomen dug, and almost immediately discovered a limitless supply of healthy, strong wood. The wood was also dripping with water, which was another resource they would no longer need to seek. Truly, the Pillars were the promised land after all.

The members of the tribe carved, thatched, and shaped their wood. They were still exhausted by their weeks of travel, but even though they had reached their destination, their journey was not over. There would be time enough to rest in their village, but not until after it was built.

“A school,” said one of the older women of the tribe. “We will need a school, if we're to survive as a tribe.”

“Cease your silly notions, woman,” countered one of Ezeke's most fervent supporters. “The first thing we'll need to build is a temple, to give thanks to the Pillars.”

“We'll still need a school,” the woman replied hotly. “If our children don't learn our techniques, how would our families live on after we are dead?”

“The children can get all the learning they need from the temple, once it is built,” said the man. “The Pillars will provide. What more is there for them to learn?”

“Let's ask Ezeke,” the woman replied.

When they came to Ezeke, they found him napping against one of the Pillars, his head lolling onto his shoulder and his snores rumbling across the shade.

Ezeke's supporter kicked him on the leg, though a little too hard for comfort “Ezeke,” he said. “We have a question for you.”

Ezeke woke, and opened an unhappy eye. “What do you need?” he asked. He scratched his long beard uncomfortably.

“Should we build a school first, or a temple?” the woman asked.

Ezeke looked between the two. “What's the difference?” he asked.

“A temple would provide adequate thanks to the Pillars,” said the man.

“A school would educate our children to carry on our deeds, so our tribe can carry on after we're gone.”

Ezeke scratched his beard in thought. “Well, the Pillars are more important than our children right now...” he said thoughtfully.

“But are children need somewhere to learn!” protested the woman.

The argument would have gone much further, but then a terrifying rumble came. The Pillars rocked and swayed unsteadily. Ezeke, the man, the woman, and the rest of the tribe stared at the source of the noise. W do

A Giant was right next to them, within spitting distance of the shade of the Pillars.

The man stared judgmentally at Ezeke. “You said the Pillars would ward off the Giants!”

Ezeke bolted to his feet, and swayed unsteadily on them. “They will!” he said. “This is... er, it's a test. It is said that there will be... a test.” He stared at the Giant, as if the power of his fear alone would cast him away.

“Just be patient,” Ezeke promised, though his voice quavered. “Soon, the Giant's curiosity will be sated, and-”

But that was not the case. The Giant leaned down and snatched The Pillars away. The tribe screamed as the punishing sun came down upon them, and their Holy Pillars were no longer there to keep it away.

* * *

Billy turned the toy duck over and over in his hands. Its  little orange feet pointed this way and that as the duck was examined and inspected.

“Why did you take that?” said Billy's friend Tommy. “That's not yours.”

“It's been sitting here for weeks,” said Billy. “It's just right here in the middle of the square, and people are just walking right by it.” He looked at the duck's cartoonish face. “Maybe it's because it has a dumb look on his face.”

“Or maybe it's because it's covered in ants,” Tommy suggested.

Billy dropped the toy duck, and it clattered away over the cracked, hot concrete. “Eww!” Billy said. He looked at the spot from which he had taken the duck, and indeed it was swarming with tiny black creatures. Some of them were retreating to the flower bush nearby, but most of them were just swarming this way and that with no particular direction.

Billy stepped on some of them in disgust. “Stupid ants,” he said. “C'mon, let's go.”

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