Unfinished Tales
Author: Polaris Zark

Chapter 1
The Dragons of Zamkazia

A young man hugged his mother. “Be careful, Vorkaxe,” she repeated for the seventh time. Vorkaxe didn’t care, he was leaving. Leaving his mother alone with no one there, he thought, guilt beginning to ebb into his mind. But he was leaving for a good cause: to fight for Earth. And he’d always wanted to go. He’d always wanted to leave this boring old farm, with nothing to do but shovel rabbit crap into the compost and feed the ocelot.  Now he was getting out. He was doing something. He was becoming someone who would be recognised and hailed. He would be the one responsible for the habitation of the new planet.

Guy, the ocelot rubbed up against Vorkaxe’s leg. Vorkaxe had other things on his mind. He wouldn’t see his mother, or Guy, for a while. He may never see them again. The previous night’s supper began to twist and turn in his gut. He had never thought that he might die. He always thought he’d be the one who survived…

Vorkaxe shook the thoughts out of his mind. He wanted to leave on a high. He took a last look around the house and breathed in the familiar smell. Guy padded off, disgruntled. He was being ignored.

                 Vorkaxe lifted the heavy rucksack onto his back, said goodbye to his mother, and then got outside. Stepping out of the door the wind brushed his dark brown hair. His whole family on his mother’s side had that hair. They also had the same grey eyes and ripe pink face.

As he walked along the hard mud of the footpath Vorkaxe gazed at the rabbits and the cows in the fields either side of him. They were grazing on the lush grass with not a care in the world. A few were dozing in the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun.

The rabbits made him think of a few years back, when he’d had his last history lesson. His teacher, the dark haired Mr Johnson had made him study the history of rabbits. ‘Why Rabbits?’ he’d thought. Then after doing a little research, he realised why. One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, rabbits had been about two feet long. That was such a big difference from nowadays. How could they grow to be the size of fat cows in that many years? That was the time when there was a great leak of methabolitite. Everyone knew the story; the consumption of the new found fossil fuel was producing a gas that was undetected at first. It changed the rabbits, so they grew bigger at a great rate. But also, though their size grew to be an advantage, they lost many abilities most importantly their jumping ability.

Not only had the rabbits changed, he later learnt, but two of the mollusc family had gone through even greater change. A snail’s shell had become almost as hard as rock and it had developed an exoskeleton, which was as hard as bark. But the slugs had developed thin gills, an even harder exoskeleton than the snail’s, and immunity to most poisons. These had become big pests. The humans thought that the animals would go back to their old selves when they were able to reverse the global warming, but the animals had stayed in the same state.

Vorkaxe was 20 now. It was the year 2189. He didn’t need school anymore. He was going to do something much better. He was going to tackle the problem of population on earth. More people were being born by the second.

He reached the gravel spot by the road where his car was parked. It was a big blue electric 4 wheel drive. He opened the boot and dumped his bag in there, then got into the driver’s seat, started the engine, and began his long journey to Brecon Beacons, in Wales. He was going to join the army.

 

After driving through England and some of the mountainous region of Wales, Vorkaxe really needed the toilet. He was just passing into the national park now. He stopped at a dull looking building.  It was a visitor center with white gravel walls, and a small car park. The only decorations were a map on a green board nailed to a wooden fence post, and a wooden sign which said: Croeso i Canolfan Ymwelwyr y Bannau Brycheiniog Welcome to the Brecon Beacons visitor center. It had a few Welsh council logos and things stuck to it.

Vorkaxe stepped through the automatic doors. The place was full of leaflets, maps and key rings. In one corner were soft Welsh dragon toys in a basket, and various mugs on the shelf above. They were painted with sheep or dragons, talking about how much they enjoyed the Brecon Beacons National Park. In the other corner, detailed maps of the area were tightly packed together in the racks. They were all from different brands, but none of them seemed to have been touched. On the wall either side of the exit door were racks of numerous green leaflets advertising activities in the area. They didn’t seem to have been touched either.

Vorkaxe walked to the desk. Behind it, an old man with grey hair, a red face and a fleecy black jumper was reading a newspaper on his ebook, and drinking tea. The Guardian it read. Vorkaxe joyfully looked at the date on top of the paper. 1/6/89 was the date written on the newspaper, and the date he left home. He’d been looking forward to it for a long time.

“Can I help you, sir?” asked the old man. To Vorkaxe’s surprise, the guy had a posh English accent, not a Welsh one. He’d thought that everyone here would be Welsh.

“Err, yes. Where’s the toilet?” he asked. The man eyed him like he’d done something wrong. He pointed to a dull grey door, which Vorkaxe hadn’t noticed because it blended so well with the dull grey walls. On the door was a sign saying Toilet. Under that sign was another with the Welsh translation, which seemed unnecessary to Vorkaxe because they were so alike.

It was only after he’d come out he’d noticed what an old fashioned place this was. They didn’t even have automatic hand washing and drying systems. All it was, was a sink, two taps and a bar of soap, then a large box nailed to the wall which had a fan inside, and you’d put your hands under to make it work. Very 21st century, he thought.

As he walked through the door, the posh man he’d seen before was talking to an old woman. She too had a posh voice. Vorkaxe couldn’t hear what they were saying. As he made for the door, the man spoke. “What do you say?” he asked, as if Vorkaxe was a child.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, and then he continued to walk towards the door. But the old man then turned to the woman and said “Bloody army folk,” matter-of-factly. Vorkaxe stopped and walked up to the counter. “Show some respect. You’re not the one training to save the population! You’re just sitting on your arse and reading about The Zamkazia System in your newspaper, while I’m training to fight it!” he shouted. That didn’t leave the man speechless.

“Who do you think you are? You march into my shop and demand access to the lavatory without even saying ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. Now get out of my shop or I’ll call the police!”

Vorkaxe would not be treated like this. He stood for a moment, glaring into the old man’s eyes.  He didn’t want a quarrel with the police on his first day, but he was too arrogant to ignore the old man’s insults. “What is it? Would you prefer a different system?” Vorkaxe sneered. “So would I actually. I think all the old people like you, all the selfish idiots, should be sent to concentration camps. That would save a lot of trouble.” Vorkaxe stormed out, knocking over a stand. Maps, postcards and leaflets spilled out onto the floor. The potted plant was kicked and it flew across the road into a hedge as the engine revved.

The old woman rushed to the door, tears welling up in the corner of her eyes. The present from her late friend was lying on the road, while the pot that kept it in place was at the roots of the hedge in pieces. Another car zoomed past, and before the plant could be blown away, the tire went over it, squashing the soil into the road and pressing the flower to the concrete. She saw no hope and began to pick up the postcards. “Darling,” the old man said. “Don’t worry, let me.” He got up and picked up the heavy stand before coughing and spluttering.

“Martin, are you okay?” the woman said, her voice quivering. Martin seemed to ignore her but grabbed his chest. “Martin!?”



**********THANKS FOR READING THIS. RATINGS AND FEEDBACK ARE MUCH APPRECIATED. This was the first thing I ever posted of Worthy of Publishing. It'd be great to know if people want to see more of this story or any of the other unfinished stories I post. Thanks.***********

 

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