Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/09/16

“It took us two years to reconstruct this.” I waved what was left of my top right arm at the structure. “Two years to figure out how it all fit together.”

The Emperor butterflies stood on the tree limb, and studied the structure. “It looks incomplete.”

“We have no doubt it is.” The explanation would be complicated, I knew it, so did they. “All the parts we found were petrified wood, and stones. It was basically a pile of rubble.”

“How did we find the parts?”

There’d been a storm that dumped rain for days. “The rains caused flooding. The flooding washed away the dirt that covered it, and left part of it exposed.”

“Wouldn’t it have looked like some rocks?”

I’d wondered that myself. I hadn’t been who found it. A group of wandering crickets found it. They reported it to the ant colony nearby. The ants sent a research group to study the rocks. “What was exposed didn’t look like rocks at all. It was a handful of those rocks covering the top of the structure.”

Rocks that had clearly been manufactured in some way. They were uniform in size. And in shape. All with the same curve. All fit together.

“The ants reported the finding, and an archeological team was sent to investigate.” I’d been the leader of that team. I knew the uniform rocks were not natural. “We started an excavation, and found the rest.”

“And it took two years to reassemble?”

“Yes. Two years. We made many mistakes along the way.”

“Do we know who made it?”

“No, we don’t. We don’t know how old it is either. We do know it’s old. Ancient, in fact. What was left of the wooden posts in the original construction had become petrified. Turned to stone.”

The Emperors knew that took centuries. “Have we continued to excavate the site where it was found?”

“Yes. We have. We found a segment of a road, the same kind found at other sites. And we found a strange figure, made of stone. It’s got butterfly wings, but they are hundreds of times the size of ours. And it stands 70 monarchs tall. Other than the wings, we’ve never seen anything like it. It is bipedal, standing on two limbs, with two other limbs reaching to the sky.”

“Can we explore the reconstruction?”

“By all means. I should mention, however, the interior is mostly empty. We believe the interior was constructed of wood, most of which rotted away, and has long ago become dirt. But a few pieces of petrified wood remained, and they indicate the interior was separated into box shaped units connected by openings.”

“What do we think it is?”

“It’s hard to say, this being the first discovery of its kind. But, comparing it to the size of the roads, and the monoliths discovered elsewhere, and the few wheels we’ve found. We believe this was some kind of living facility. That something lived in this.”

One of the Emperors placed a hand on my shoulder, “You have done excellent work, as we knew you would. We do believe this is a living quarters for something. For the giant bipedal beings that once existed.”

“I wonder if we will ever find any fossil remains of those creatures.”

“Indeed. I hope someday we do. I hope someday we can piece together what happened to them, and why they no longer exist.”

569 words

This is written for Week 72 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.


2 thoughts on “Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/09/16

  1. You knew I would love this, didn’t you? It’s exactly the sort of thing that I love, viewing our species from another species – and that we are extinct. Terry Pratchett did this took in Strata, where they would build planets and had to stop some people burying dinosaur remains with placards reading ‘Stop Nuclear War’ as it would confuse the people that would evolve there. Nothing pleases me more than us remembering how insignificant we really are, in the great scheme of things.

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