The Way of the Dodo

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Stephen Whiteside
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The Way of the Dodo

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:01 am

The Way of the Dodo

© Stephen Whiteside 23.01.2012

He crouched beside the fallen log, and considered his position. His bow was still in good condition, but his quiver was empty. He had his knife. And that was all. He could hear them coming, these super-beings.

He reflected on how it had come to this. Like most of homo sapiens, he had assumed that when a threat came it would be from Outer Space. Hostile aliens from another planet. Wasn't that what the movies had said? Yet looking back on it now, it was puzzling that they had not twigged earlier. Would it have made any difference? Probably not.

It had begun, so the history books now said, several hundred years earlier, with a small group that seemed to be outperforming all others, yet keeping apart. Some sort of strange super race that appeared to be self-contained. Then it was noticed that the increasingly rare couplings between members of this group and the rest of humanity were producing children that were barren. It took a while for the pattern to declare itself, but when it did, it was clear enough. A donkey can mate with a horse to produce a mule, but the mule is barren. Hybrids. The implications were enormous. A new species. This new enclave of super-being was a new species.

Then, about a hundred years ago, they made their move. The Great Extermination had begun. Homo sapiens was going the way of the dodo. They simply couldn't compete. All of their moves were anticipated. All of their technologies were superceded. All of their weapons were out-classed. Like a ripple in a pond, the super-beings extended their range, sweeping all before them.

And here, on the edge of the world, in the forest of south west Tasmania, he was one of the last survivors. His parents had retreated to the forest in desperation, taking all their children with them. He had been born in the forest, and his mother had died in the process. He had met his wife in the forest. They had had children not through any sense of a future or a plan, but simply because it was the natural way of things. Now they - his wife and children - were all gone, too. Hunted down and exterminated. He would gladly have sacrificed his life for theirs, but had never found himself in a position to do so. Only his brute strength and forest experience had kept him alive.

Indeed, he had no great wish to live - or, at least, in moments of quiet reflection, he did not believe that he did. He could not see that he had anything to live for. Yet, when crunch time came, as it did often, he found himself desperately fighting for his life with every sinew in his body. He had killed a few. They were smart, but they were soft. Unused to the hardships of forest life.

But now it was different. Some of them were becoming accustomed to life in the forest. They were not content to leave a few homo sapiens alive. The chances of their re-grouping and launching a retaliation were too great. No, they must all go. Be hunted down and killed. So extermination squads of super-beings were being trained specifically for the job. And they were very good at it, too.

He was a good bushman, he knew that. As good as any. Yet all his false trails had been brushed aside. All his traps had been harmlessly sprung. Yes, he had picked off a couple with his bow and arrow, but they just kept on coming. And now he was out of arrows, anyway. His knife? It might be good for one or two, but no more. He could hear them more clearly now. They were in large numbers, and had him surrounded. It wouldn't be long.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer


Re: The Way of the Dodo

Post by Rimeriter » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:14 pm



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