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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Stormcastle: And Other Fun Games With Cards And Dice

Jeromy Henry
The Wizard's House

Jeromy Henry
Louisville's Silent Guardians

Michele Dutcher

The Ruler, The Princess, and the Last Two Beings

by Jessica Baumgartner

We traveled across the skies to this planet hoping to find intelligent life. The mission was simple: explore the colorful new world and make contact with any kind of cognitive beings. It was no secret that our journey would place us in an unknown time, the progress of the new world would accelerate as we drifted towards it.


But this, this is not what we imagined. I’m standing in a wasteland with my second in command.


“What happened here?” he asks astounded.


“Let’s find out,” I answer moving our team forward cautiously.


The entire landscape is a ruin. Toppled constructs surround us in a mass of grey, brown, and black. The remnants crunch under our feet as we slowly move over the piles of decay.


After walking farther with no change, I decide to take a new course and command, “The world we were promised has undergone some kind of crisis. I want you all to keep your protective gear fastened tight. It’s time we begin to excavate.”


My crew members aren’t exactly happy but encouraged with some kind of new task. As I go around conversing with each individual while they pull out their tools, I get a strange sense. Shaking it off, I break into the rubble first. It’s heavy and congealed but not immobile.


The dust kicks up and before we know it, the air is an engulfing grey cloud. I hear something perk my senses and look up to the hazy sky. Focusing my eyes, I spy some strange winged creature circling above us. It makes me feel uneasy as if the animal is watching me directly. I take a breath, thankful for the air circulating in my suit, and dig on.


“Captain I think I’ve found something,” I hear.


Heading over, I see a small skeletal structure but that’s not the main focus. This being’s hands clutch at some sort of writing. I gently recover the book and look at it. The language is indecipherable to me but the picture on the front is curious.


“Good work,” I say patting the man on the back. Then looking around I address everyone, “Alright, let’s keep digging. There may be more to tell the story of this place.”


While the rest continue on I call my second in command over and we flip through the pages of our new find.


“What is it?” he asks confused.


I chuckle, “Isn’t it obvious? This is some kind of history book. Look,” I point to one of the images, “that figure was the ruler of this land.”


“What strange creatures,” he responds in awe.


“Never mind that,” I say absorbing every picture, every page.


“It looks like the ruler fell and the people of this place moved on, in spirit as well as appearance.”


“Yes,” I agree deep in thought.


The men begin to grow weary so I call a break and take the book a ways off to study it in silence.


Back home literacy is a privilege for only the most brilliant capable minds. This is unlike any of the writings I have ever been rewarded enough to see. Marveling at the images I perceive a princess who grows more beautiful after finding a special fruit, but she takes too much and falls into the mercy of her servants for such greed.


Without the meaning behind the words I can only deride my conclusions from the images, but they are so clear I have no doubt as to the correctness of my perception. My mind fills with endless possibilities as I eagerly read on in the hopes of finding out what devastated this strange planet.


I find my answer all too soon, the continued evolution of these beings is shown more distinctly as the next tale begins. I absorb the depiction of two hairy beasts fighting until a third creature of much smaller stature but greater power comes and destroys everything except the two beasts with its abilities. We must find these beings, I determine hastening back to my crew.


“My second in command sees the determination on my face, “What do you need Captain?”


“Scan this and get it to linguistics. I want to find out where the last beings in this book are,” I say hoping they live as long as we do.


“Right away sir!” he dashes back to the ship with a couple of others, book in hand.


I busy myself in the job while pondering what I had seen. The loud calls of the flying animal haunt me and I peer up at it wondering if it is she, the princess from the book. There is definitely a resemblance. Nothing pulls me away from these thoughts; not even the discovery of three new skeletons.


When we finally call it a day, tired and sore, I lead the team back to my ship anxious for an answer from back home. As soon as I’m aboard, my second in command affirms my hopes.


“Well what did they find?” I eagerly await the answer.


“It was hard to decipher and they weren’t able to make out too much, but…”


“What did they find!” I impatiently demand.


“The ruler is titled Yertle the Turtle written of by the hand of a Dr. Seuss along with the other stories.”


“Dr. Seuss?” I question the strange name.


“Yes sir, he must have been a wise man to be honored with the gift of recording someone so great.”


All night long I envision this Yertle and his princess.  I can’t get enough of the book and marvel at its pages throughout the rest of our stay. No amount of exploring turns up anything else, but I consider our expedition a success.


As we pack up and prepare to leave this “Earth,” I smile proudly; eager to share our astounding findings with those back home.

2014-12-10 10:02:20
micheledutcher - Very funny. Artifacts without context can certainly be misconstrued. Yertle the Turtle is a fine fellow anyways. Good job.

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