Lost and Found
by: Ken Williams
Carl Kones did not want to be on the water that day. His wife’s birthday was coming close and he wanted to prepare. This salvage operation was pointless. New Humane probably wouldn’t buy anything from a ship in Black Atular waters. They were hoping to snag artifacts or money or whatever their lost ships had. Carl looked out his window and scratched a reddening spot on his green hand. “Damn mosquitoes” he commented and looked until he saw something. He bolted out of his cabin and had the crew pull it up. It was a body. The salt water had bleached her skin. Most of her black hair had withered. She only had one hand, and the hand that remained was missing two fingers. She had some rot on her and her legs were broken.
Carl turned to the captain and asked what they should do with her. The captain inspected the body, trying to discern her identity.
“Clearly a noblewoman. The clothing is silk, imported from Selcre. She probably was pushed off a balcony by an abusive husband. She fell into the water and drowned. The river carried her out here.”
“Should we take her to Ebon Atul to be buried?” a crewman asked.
“No. They wouldn’t take her like this. There’s a tomb on the outskirts of New Humane we can take her to. It hasn’t been opened in thousands of years, but she deserves proper internment.”
The crew nodded. They put her body in a crate and shortly after set sail, having found no flotsam to indicate anything worth salvaging. Eventually the crew started to bore of the plain travels and broke into song. Lundley, a bald, squat man and notorious drunk, started the song.
“Oh my land, my land, my dear sweet human land I lost you and now you’re naught but sand. Why are you gone? Was it my song?
Or was it the green-skinned bomb?”
Then the crew joined in for the chorus.
“The bomb, the bomb, our best mistake
Our lives and land did take Once I was black and you were white But now we’re green so stop the fight!”
The crew had started to use the wood of the ship as percussion instruments for their folkish tune.
“I tell you true, for lies I rue, why the bomb was dropped.
A war we fought, a war forgot, but somehow burned the lot.
A king got mad, his people sad, and we called some humans bad. When it ended, the smoke descended, and dust was all we had.”
The singing grew louder. Carl found it odd that a song from the most horrible part of humanity’s past filled people with such joy.
“The bomb, the bomb, our best mistake Our lives and land did take
Once I was black, and you were white, But now we’re green, so why the fight?”
The crew sang until they reached New Humane. It was an island a mile off the coast of Kak Zuron, the home of the Zuron Kakurl. Since humans colonized the island, the humans had conflict with the Kakurl and a Gaian society to the southeast. Human ships that ventured to the east only came back half the time. Even though there were rough areas, this was their promised land. Gaians didn’t raid like they do on Humane. New Humane had no nuclear stockpile. Over time, some humans had seemed to lose some nuclear mutation. Most hadn’t.
Carl got off the boat and returned home. It was dusk and he wanted to see his wife before she fell asleep. The other crew members would open the tomb to inter the Black Atular noblewoman into her resting place. When Carl entered his house, he noticed his wife was not home. He assumed that she was out with friends so he laid in
bed and drifted into sleep with the television playing in the background. In his sleep he saw odd scenes. He saw a mushroom cloud pillowing over some land, most likely his people’s homeworld. He saw an Atular with spiky black hair hugging a Kakurl affectionately, and then a Hydrosian came up to them and patted them on the back, and yelled something he couldn’t understand. Then he saw Humane being destroyed by Gaians and Kakurl and creatures made of ice. The scene dissolved into a female Atular’s face. One of her eyes was green and another red. Her hair was black on one side and blue on another. She smiled sadistically. Carl could feel that something was terribly wrong. He woke up with a word that had been burned into his brain.
“Dobrahadra!” he screamed. Something felt horribly wrong around him, as if a dark power was taking hold there. Carl ran downstairs and saw his village seemingly empty. What was once a bustling urban landscape was now an empty land devoid of life. Carl looked around, hoping to find another human being, and he did. Someone was leaning against a wall. Carl inched closer to him or her, but was shocked when it looked up with soulless green eyes. It stood up and Carl could see that its neck had been slashed. Carl wondered how long he had been asleep and decided to make a break for the port. He had seen enough zombie movies that there was no way he could fight them like this. He ran to the docks and tried to get a lifeboat from his ship. He pulled out his knife and cut it down. Just when he was about to jump, something hit him in the back of the head.