by Jon Moray
I became a leader in a land in desperate need of leadership. Our village supreme elder’s premonition of the impending apocalypse became a reality and only those fortunate enough to seek refuge in underground caves survived peril. I forced through the rock filled cavern opening and looked out into a world of twisted, deformed rubble.
It was understood by all, the first emerging survivor would alert the rest by sounding the ivory-tusked survival horn buried at the top of the Mountain of Waves. As I looked about the cluttered carnage in search of humanity, I realized the one to make the climb would be me. Me, a seventeen year old, groomed to be a warrior against the fist of slavery. My father would be proud.
Clad in formed rusted armor, I carefully stepped over the remains of a society corrupted by personal invasion. As I crept further, I saw the unimaginable, a trail of broken mirrors that belonged to all the young women of the villages in the region.
As I reached for one of the tainted mirrors, I realized Klutok, the evil warlock from Klublaland, unleashed his earth shattering spell during the slave extermination conflict. The discarded mirrors once contained the magic of holographic images of all the female descendents of these women. An unblemished mirror represented the natural beauty of its possessor. The mirrors were collected by the warlock’s sentries and disposed of at the foot of the village mountain, robbing the women of their alluring hereditary memorials. It was only a matter of time that these women would wilt away to dust.
At the foot of the Mountain of Waves, I looked back at the broken mirrors, and helplessly wondered if any of the women had survived. I turned and began my climb, snaking around swords and maces that belonged to the valiant fallen heroes.
I scaled further up and laying harmlessly on the dusty trail was my dad’s sword, distinct with the warrior leader crest of twin dragons etched on the golden handle. I grasped the weapon of honor, enemy blood visible on the ever sharp blade, and marveled at his heroic sacrifice, while tears welled my eyes. My dad, the Sentinel Warrior, fought until the “Spell Of Extinction” killed anyone who was devoid of shelter. Under my dad’s tutelage, I managed to escape captivity and survive in the cave.
I carried the sword and headed up the jagged terrain toward the apex, accepting the new role of warrior leader. I reached the top and was welcomed by an auburn sun that finally cleared the denseness of death scented ashes. I peered out at demolished lands, as a mixture of sadness, anger, and passionate perseverance dominated my emotions. I used the sword to dig at the spot where the horn was strategically buried by the first sergeant of battle. I knelt and dug further with my hands and uncovered the horn. I stood, drew a deep breath, blew into the alarm, and waited.
Through the royal blue dust appeared figures with zombie-like movements, encroaching closer up towards me. Most were the elders, since almost all non-adults were captured and left to suffer a torturous death. Old, tired eyes beckoned me for guidance, solutions and leadership. One of the wise elders, San Magi, pointed toward the sun and its symbol of hope. They knelt in silent meditation as I surveyed and pondered the tattered land.
And now, it was left to me to lead anew. Me, young, but well trained. Me, the warrior’s son, relied upon by the remaining villagers to lead them in post-apocalypse survival. If the surviving citizens were to live in peace, it would have to be led by me.
A scratchy disturbed gravel sound broke my trancelike thought process. I turned and was stunned by the sight of a beautiful woman, battle-scarred, but alert. Since the evil rulers enforced gender segregation to eliminate reproduction, I had never met her before. She stood motionless, her blond hair streaked of blood. She wore dried tears that appeared pasted onto her face. Her eyes were bloodshot, but focused. Her pink lips, cracked from the arid air, were pursed in determination. She was warrior-like in her stance and her attire. Her slight smile was welcoming, as she stepped inches from me. Her hand took mine and a sudden warmness enveloped me. Her other hand held her silver framed mirror, intact, and glowing of visions of her family of matriarchs.
Her eyes were locked on mine, frozen in time, and then she held up her mirror, reflecting our youthful images. She drew in and planted a soft kiss on my lips that loosened my grip on the sword. Suddenly, aqua liquid crystals emitted from her mirror like fireflies and gravitated towards the mound of broken mirrors. She whispered that our kiss reversed the evil warlock’s spell and would restore the mirrors and the women’s beauty back to prominence.
Together, we looked out onto the barren land. It was at that moment, I realized the mission to restore the villages was no longer left to me, but her and I, we.
Jon Moray has been writing short stories for almost five years and has been published in several online markets. His current writing goal is to publish fantasy styled short stories inspired by his dearly departed father's abstract paintings. When not working and being a devoted husband and father of two, he enjoys playing basketball and training for marathons.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'I Own My Dreams'