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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest · #2275313
"...they had mouths that housed voids and can consume anything."
Grandmother once told me a story why death lost to a stalk of wheat.

A long time ago, a great darkness fell upon the land. Shadows emerged from cracks in the ground. Innumerable, and the size of giant trees, they had mouths that housed voids and can consume anything. With infinite legs they crawled, hungering for life.

The people were not idle. Before the darkness, they had prepared. Men, women, and children cut down every tree and tore down houses for lumber. Only light can repel the devourers, this they thought.

Hour by hour they consumed their fuel and the darkness was held at bay. But they knew it would not last forever. The darkness knew that too, and it was patient.

Slowly, the fire was dying. Those too slow to stay within the light were snatched and screams could be heard amidst the cracking of bones and the smacking of hidden teeth.

The villagers prayed, but the gods were silent. The wise men said they had died long ago from starvation, for men had consumed everything and left nothing. Since man had consumed, they too shall be consumed.

The men despaired. Some could not bear it and jumped into the darkness. Others took one last opportunity to consume themselves.

Before the last ember died, a small girl prayed. Not for herself, but for her pet bird. This, at least, shall live, she decided, for the creatures had legs but no wings. Giving her bird a stalk of wheat for food, she bid the bird away.

Out of reach from the darkness, the bird flew into the horizon and planted the wheat into the dormant sun. The wheat rose, and stalks of light fell upon the dark land.

Death had retreated, for only life can stand against death.

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