This is how I see my fantasy epic as prose. I wrote this as a part of a competition to write the first four pages of a novel, so this will end at an obscure point. My intention is to make it a parody, so this piece is more representative of the vision I originally created. “Issues” are what I am calling chapters.
The stars; every life-form, planet and celestial body’s fate is tied to them. Ultimately, they are the agents of our destiny. So few consider this in the course of their lives, and yet the dull and ignorant are as much a part of the great celestial ballet as the philosophers and astronomers who contemplate their place within it.
(Does that sound grandiose to you, or just predictable? I don’t want to sound like I’m churning out something hackneyed simply to draw you in. Oh OK, I’ll just get on with it.)
Nowhere in this universe or any other does a world’s history owe more to the stars than the world of Aurah. Outwardly it is little different from our own world; blue and green with ice caps at the poles, white clouds girdling the atmosphere and a single, barren moon.
However, in the night sky of this world is a large, bright star, with a peculiar greenish hue. This is Theta Proxima, the Forest Star, 200 light years away from the Aurah system. Every so often its surface flares, sending bursts of radiation winging towards Aurah. And when the flares reach Aurah, life on its surface changes in the most extraordinary way…
(Shall I go on and explain how? Nah, you’re right. No point wasting a chance to develop the plot. Just read on and find out for yourselves.)
The fifty-storey Buckson Building was an apartment block overlooking the eastern end of Midgreen Park. Across the park, the Grevy Building and the great central column of Exchange Towers thrust high above the rooftops of Havenburg, tallest and grandest city on Aurah. Its night time skyline was a view that could have the city council lobbying to change what distance a mile is, just so it could be called mile-high.
On floor 42 of the Buckson Building, a couple took advantage of their children being asleep by catching up with their favourite TV show. Little did they know that in a shadowy alcove outside their window, Havenburg’s most diligent protector was taking a rest.
Kay Pow was her name, and she was dressed in a black dojo robe with voluminous sleeves and leggings. Her head was concealed in a black cowl that covered all but her ears and eyes. A dark pink belt sat round her waist, holding the equipment she needed to fight crime.
As she waited, Kay caught some of what was coming from the nearby flat.
“It’s baddie-busting and crook-catching all the way tonight on… Supers!”
She heard a clang as the title exploded on screen, then the oh-so-familiar theme song.
“Crims and super-crims, think I better warn ya,
Supers gonna getcha just as sure as you’re born.”
Kay sighed to herself. Got to see if there’s a way to get myself on that show, she thought. Then the one who does all the work will get the credit.
A scuffle far below in a side street interrupted her contemplations. Kay whipped out her field glasses and studied the scene. It was time for action.
Putting the glasses back in her belt, she mentally calculated distances and angles, crouched low and leapt into the air. Her apparently suicidal fall was checked as gliding wings sprang up between her legs and arms. A rudder snapped open at the tip of her tail, allowing her to manoeuvre herself towards where the fight was taking place.
Too bad I was born a red squirrel rather than a flying squirrel, she thought. Still, either way, I don’t mind heights.
Meanwhile, half a mile away, the staff of the Havenburg Gem Exchange cowered in the corner of their office as a masked raccoon covered them with a shotgun. His three followers had shouldered their own guns and were working industriously, opening the strongboxes set into the wall and emptying their contents into the sacks they carried.
“One minute!” the leader bawled at the others. “No, you klutzes, leave the diamonds! Get the coloured stones, that’s where the real moolah is.”
One raccoon dutifully started unlocking the top row of strongboxes with the keys he had forced off the secretary. This did not go unnoticed by the young rabbit herself.
“Mr Fisher, they know where the coloured gems are,” she whispered to her manager.
“I know, Melanie,” muttered the old otter. “They must have inside information.”
“Shut it!” screamed the leader, waving his gun at them. “Thirty seconds! ‘Cmon, hurry, you lame-brains! They’re gonna find out that guard’s dead any moment.”
“Oh, ah don’t think y’need worry ‘bout the guards,” a deep voice drawled from the door of the office, “’S much as me.”
The four thieves spun round and saw a sight that made them wish they had been florists instead, or at least packed spare underwear. Leaning against the doorframe with arms folded, was a chestnut horse with a yellow mane, so tall and broad he looked like he would cause an eclipse if he went out in daylight. He wore a broad-brimmed hat, a brown eye-mask and baggy trousers. His tasselled buckskin waistcoat hung open, showing off a torso that would have doubled nicely as a cheese-grater.
“I-it’s Showdown!” stammered one of the gang.
“Blast him, blast him!” the leader yelled desperately.
The thieves raised their weapons to fire, but the horse merely straightened up and threw four punches in the space of a heartbeat. The air shuddered and the thieves stared helplessly as the shotguns exploded in their hands like firecrackers.
“Don’t ya know it’s dangerous to play with guns, boys?” the horse said sardonically.