A Rare Species

Cyra of Melilla balled her fists and pummeled one massive woody rib along the column of thick branches that filled the whale-like sea giant’s trunk.  She had traveled incredible lengths in time and distance with death calmly lapping at her heels.  The firmament showing off its dominance, tossing tsunamis, firestorms, tornadoes, toxic dust in her path.  Cyra would have cried the sorrow song for her strange journey ending this way, but tears had vanquished in the time of her captivity by the Radicals.  She had traveled as their prisoner in some nameless war for over a hundred years.  An arduous journey that ended with white bones jutting out of a ground whose ecologic lifecycle could no longer adapt to the excesses of humankind’s nature. What a puzzle her ancestors were to her.  Hundreds of millions of years the planet existed, continually and exhaustively meeting the demands of this insatiable parasite.  

One vital element congealed among all species now, and that was survival.   She herself was a hybrid, an interconnection of land and air creature.  She thought with a human brain, but her body revised to meet the changing world.  Her long taloned toes kept her fed, helped her climb.  Her underskin, a beak-hard protein tough as the scales on a lizard, was covered by a layer of fine down feathers, keeping her warm and dry.  Her muscles were also much different.  In order to flap enormous wings for flight, the pectoral muscles and the entire range of back muscles needed to increase in size and strength, attributing 40 pounds to the 100 pounds she weighed, making her physical form look more prehistoric than evolutionary.

She had been heading toward the Bonin Islands, across the equator, when the creature, cresting in a dive hunt, uprooted her travels by grabbing and swallowing her.  She tumbled and rolled off a prickly wet tongue, hearing only the explosive slap of a tail thumping before being submerged in one fluid movement.  Though stunned, her only wound was her ego. How could she have been so absent in thought.  In the back of her head there was something familiar about this, some ancient story she’d heard told in her youth.  Well, no matter.

“I am not dinner yet, my friend.”  Cyra yelled out, her voice echoing back from the cavernous gullet.  The smell of rotting pulp was strong.  Her summation after looking around at her bleak surroundings was that this creature was in trouble.  She peeled back bark, exposing weak, painstakingly slow instead of dominant timber beats.  This subsurface gargantuan had stood the test of time, existing well before the first humans, and regardless of the situation…scratch that…especially because of the situation, she could not let it die.

Gaining solid footing was not easy, timing steps with swimming movements  as she ventured down into the sleek interior of the beast, sidelining deep pockets of  saltwater.  A shaft of light grew, aligning her path with the planted heartwood.  Bright golden flowers blossomed, giving off a pleasant smell.  She looked for the strongest wood, where the light of the inner bark establishes the link of earth and life.  Reaching in, she felt for the groove that held the tree spirit.  It should have incredible length, which was needed to promote growth and health throughout the entire being. The process should be that when the creature eats it gets needed energy and the waste product decays mature trees, providing nutrients for young saplings.  Instead, everything was laying waste inside the stomach.  

Cyra needed to resurrect the cycle.  In her pouch she carried an array of medicinal leaves, compact and often tangled together.  She looked for the ones with the glossy surface.  When dried, they transitioned to a much softer green, easier to differentiate.  

“I am helping you, my friend.  You are sick, and I am helping you.”  She talked loud.  Listening to the sound of her voice made her happy in her work as healer.  She pushed the leaves down deep and massaged. Sometimes this took days, not hours.  She hoped that was not going to be the case.  Being swallowed forced a bit of urgency to the situation.

The Bonin Trenches was where many of these whales, for lack of a better name for them, hid out, deep in the crevices formed by volcanic activity.  It was an area rich in magnesium oxide and silicon dioxide, both needed but potentially deadly to the hybridised earthen digestive system.  She worked with fervour, hearing a number of belches and bubbles as the colic cleared.  Convinced health would be restored, she waited for a good sized gas bubble and then jumped into it, rolling all over its silky interior as it followed the elimination path to the outside world and up to the surface.

Sun dried, she sat on the sea cliff watching the shoreline rebel against the robust movements of the whale.  I am indeed a rare species, she thought and smiled.