Inspired by ‘The Rabbits’ written by John Marsden and Shaun Tan
The fields are rugged, but beautiful. Trees dot the plains randomly, and they rise into the mountains to the East. Running down from the mountains was a great river, crystal clear, and full of life. An immense eagle caws overhead as it spots its meal. Falling like a golden dart, it pulls out of its dive with less than a metre to spare.
The place is quiet and peaceful as the sun sets across the mountains, casting an enthralling shadow which seems to stop time. That single moment lasts for hours, until suddenly the eagle squawks as it flees from the silence.
Time begins its incessant stride once again.
The shadows lengthen into the dusk, but the peace has left with the bird. There is a new anxiety about the land. The wind has a sharp chill, and the river turned grey. The wind beats the trees into a swagger, but they appear unwilling, as night falls, and the cold sets in.
Barely perceptible, a slow moan falls over the fields. Nothing can yet be seen, but a sound is approaching, growing clearer as it does. It soon becomes a churning thunder. Still nothing can be seen. The clunking becomes defined. The rolling of many feet stirring the land can be heard over the wind.
A sudden shout rings out and all sound grinds to a halt. Several shadows come into view at the far end of the valley, but they are unrecognisable. A shadow responds, and the marching resumes. The wind rises, wailing through the valley. It carries back the smell of oil and rust, though nothing can be seen except the figures in the distance. More shadows join them, and they march slowly into view.
The trees still struggle against the wind. The river still runs from the hills. The mountains still stand, impervious to it all, but nothing can ever prepare for the almost unexpected appearance of the giant war machines. Their power shakes the ground, crushing all life beneath them. Men fall in behind them; hundreds, even thousands of them. Four-legged monstrosities demolish the ground with every grinding step. Nothing can stand before them, nothing could ever hope to.
The army that marches behind is organised. Men of all sizes are armed to the teeth, but they are disciplined. Across the plain, the walkers shadow protectively, but even without these machines, the men would be unstoppable.
They begin to sing, keeping company in the dark of the strange new land. It is indistinguishable, this rowdy chorus of strange talk. Yet they sing with pride as they cross the field. The river proves little obstacle, the walkers forming bridges for the men. This should never have happened, but it is too late now. This was only a shard of the force. Their air-ships and vessels line the coasts. No resistance will meet them.
The men soon disappear into the trees, the walkers carving a path behind them.
The fields are rugged, ripped and churned. Trees are no longer scattered about, and smashed stumps cover the valley. Running down from the mountains is a once great river, now crippled, polluted with grease and rust. No life stirs in the land.
The place is silent and dead, and the sun cowers behind the mountains.
Time no longer matters here.