Read an Excerpt
A RED-BROWN SKY EASED through the hush of a galaxy of independents, a place of chameleon stars that changed shape and color.
The sky roared, and broke silence. Sound became tri-color: lemon, plum and sapphire. The moon was spherical. Far different from the usual banana moon that shone night or day in a world that held many colors of the spectrum.
Ivory-eyed folk with ankle-length amethyst hair watched this full moon that dazzled until a mushroom wisp blackened the horizon. Strange smoke dimmed the lunar glow, ahead of a chase of cloud red as port.
Together, cloud and mushroom carried in a long wind. They swept a wave of destruction past an olive field, a dirt road, and a golden meadow on the other side of the road. The monstrous swirl tugged delicate rays from purple and white anemones, pushed licorice scent from vibrant yellow azaleas, squeezed mint off perennial Peruvian lilies, pressed yellow/green off aloe cacti, and red blush off hybrid magnolias with dramatic pointers.
Mama Pebble, an ancient woman struck by a bunjip's curse, straightened her curling bones. Listless eyes rose half-blind to the phenomenon in the sky. She nodded unfazed, with little comprehension and no personal reason to nod, and lowered albino eyes almost at once to the ground, to a woven rug carrying variant twirls of sun-dried witchetty grub. The whirling cloud weaved past her ramshackle fenceway eaten by white ants, and tornadoed towards the Sacred Land of Dreaming.
Purple haired twin boys trapped in childhood paused from twiddling and tossing boomerangs, parrying with shields in hallowed ground at the far corner flatbed where cheeta peas grew. Theywatched a tumble of mushroom cloud in petrified silence, and remembered a beast that had reared its head and hissed. A cloud that became jaws. An ash man who sprinkled acrid dust to their toes, dust that oozed a stench of char grill and rot, before it brought madness to their mother, Mama Pebble.
But now, instead of soaring and bellowing above them as it had done eons ago, the thing from the skies tumbled with the aid of a gusty northerly wind towards wilderness. It pulled reeds and pebbles with it, knocking trunks off their stumps. The boys glanced at each other, once, twice, and with unspoken words: "Did? You? See?"; leapt and chased the destruction. They ran outwards towards the end of the world, yelling in half-formed voices trapped in adolescence.
By now the moon had fully dimmed. Total darkness cloaked the twins. They fell to their knees at the edge of the galaxy and watched the swirling blitz half a world away. There, in the distance, it swept inside the moon's orbit to the neighboring land of Que, land of the back-footed people.
Parched from its protracted trek, the bunjip in quest of a sibling, a lost twin caught in void, flitted here and there. From northern shores to easterly tips; never here, never there. It soared in a loose arc above tree lines and forest borders, sometimes needing fine winds to lift it higher. Finally, it swooped into a village. It slipped with tepid air past a steepled tower with a cracked window and a belfry. It lunged for a cluster of limestone cottages with crumbling walls. Veered and zeroed on one unfinished construction with a half-built timber frame and, through a wide open upper window, plunged. It caught, in a flutter, the sound of an unsuspecting couple straining in feverish abandon against each other.
The woman saw it first. Her alarmed cry came simultaneous with her climax, as the man neared his peak. When she stilled, he thought she had collapsed with pleasure. A sudden intense force behind him stalled him. A horrible stench filled his nostrils. He looked over his shoulder too late. Something ripped into him, clawed through his abdomen, and gave rise to excruciating pain. He smelled blood before he saw the ribboned mess that was once his torso. He convulsed as his heart splashed open. The beat in it died before he could cry out.
A surge of slaughter carried through tribes of Spartan Visio. It traveled to translucent Amalgo who circumcised women. Finally, bewildered at not finding its twin, the mystical creature abandoned the galaxies.
The killings stopped.
And Muntu descended to Earth.