Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Greatest Thing I Ever Wrote (otherwise known as The Epic of Erica)

It was 2009, the home-stretch of my sophomore year of high school (my that dates me), and we were assigned to write an epic about ourselves.

Mind, illiterate modern-age child, an "epic" is the tale of a quest, not a dumb word people use to talk about cool things.

I hated having to write about myself, so I just used my name on a made up character. And the assignment irritated me, so I went crazy weird on it, which resulted in my favorite written work to date.

So, without further ado, completely unedited from its time of original composition, I present The Epic of Erica.


Long ago there lived a young lady named Erica. She was basically your average girl, but her chivalrous attitude often got her into trouble; odd as that may seem. Her teeny village was settled neatly in the crevice of two monstrous hills; it was a tasty, fertile plot of land.

But one year that fertile land didn’t seem too fertile at all. Nothing grew whatsoever; wheat was sparse, vegetables seemed nonexistent, and because of the faltering vegetation the animal population soon hit disintegration. No one was sure what to do, they couldn’t plant again so soon; it was almost out of season, nothing would have been able to grow.

As one the village compressed together and offered prayer and various offerings to Demeter, goddess of the Harvest. For days following the mass-offering of prayer and goods the town’s food supply dwindled into oblivion. Several days later there was no food to be found, the people were going to die and that would be the end of their humble valley village.

But then, in the early morning just as the sun caped the hill, a rumble broke through the stillness, sending villagers out of their beds and onto the floor. Bemused the people crowded the lowly streets, their brows furrowed and their eyes crusty from sleep.

“There!” Shouted one, pointing his hand at the dip between the two hills. From there emerged the source of the thunder; it was larger than the valley itself, fields and all. It was like a lemon, only elongated to a rounded oval in a peachy-orange color. It rolled lopsidedly through the hills and teetered to a stop. It was then the people became certain what it was.

A kumquat.

A massive kumquat.

And it was rolling right for them.

Screaming like mad, the little townspeople ran for the fields; houses regurgitating women and children and elderly cripples. Some barely made it to the fields when the kumquat tipped down into the valley, but it didn’t matter. No one could run from the kumquat.

The massive kumquat.

As it bulled through the smooth hillside the people stood panicking. There was nothing to be done. In exceeding fear several called out last minute prayers to the gods to save them from this fate. Apparently some gods took pity on them, for the kumquat slowed to a fraction of its original speed, and only destroyed half the town.

Stragglers were compressed beneath the kumquat’s fruity skin, houses wedging under it like a doorjamb only to be flattened by its doom. The kumquat soon came to a halt, its mutant skin having been peeled away in the chaos leaving a gooey trail of orange fruit-mush. The townspeople in the fields stood frozen, a breath away from kissing the kumquat.

(The massive kumquat.)

As the valley wound down the kumquat rattled. Swiftly it split into two, collapsing on the other half of the living population. Erica stood at the far end of the field, several inches from the hill. The ten people or so that had survived began frantically trying to help those with their limbs just poking out from under the massive kumquat.

Erica knew the kumquat was an answer to their consecutive prayers; that this had to be Demeter’s sick way of giving them food. She decided she needed the confront Demeter about this; her people were mostly dead or flat. She scooped up a handful of the citrus fruit and headed up the hillside.

***

Days had passed since the kumquat-slide, and Erica was still nowhere near Mt. Olympus. She wasn’t sure where else she could find Demeter, so she figured she would start there.

Erica was scrambling through the forests just as hungry as she’d been back home, when she came upon an abandoned barn.

“How very odd.” She said to herself, looking at the decaying shelter. “I wonder why there’s some random barn out of society’s way.”

“I wonder why there’s some random girl out of society’s way,” Came a squeaky, deep little voice from within the barn. Confused, Erica approached it.

A minuscule bat came flapping out of the barn. Erica shrieked in surprise.

“Oh it’s okay.” The bat said; speaking in the same squeaky, deep little voice she had heard before. “I am a fruit bat. I just eat fruit.”

“Okay…” Erica said, regaining her composure.  

“No I am not,” the bat protested. “We’ve had no fruit for days. My kin and I enjoy eating a lot, it mostly just goes right through us… but that’s not the point. We are starving.”

“Well my kin is starving too!” Erica explained; the bat frowned… if it’s even possible for bats to frown.

“That doesn’t make it any better does it?” He scoffed.

“No it doesn’t, but I was going to see Demeter about a massive kumquat…”

The bats beady eyes widened and his little mouth watered. “Kumquat?” He drooled.

“A massive kumquat.”

“I’ll accompany you on this quest malady. We will be fine.” The bat started flapping off, glancing back every so often make sure she was coming.

Days later they finally set foot and talon on Mt. Olympus. The bat turned to her and sighed.

“What now?”

“Now we find Demeter.”

They walked/flew around the mount several times, walked/flew up and down it awhile after that. Finally they stopped on the top and Erica just called out to Demeter, requesting a moment of her time.

Demeter was a lot busier than usual, so after a stack of paper work, a long wait, and a year’s worth of out-of-date magazines reception finally let her in.

“No… ‘Flying Foxes’ allowed.” The gum-snapping receptionist said. Erica frowned and the bat flew back to the overrated magazines.

“I’ll be fine.” He assured her. “Just fine.”

Erica took a deep breath and opened the door.

She found herself in the gods’ palace in the sky, a place she’d never even dreamed of being. Demeter was several kumquats away from her, mulling over some grain samples from Athens.

“Uh… Demeter… I uh… I live in that village that’s been praying to you a lot lately, and I thought it was probably you who sent us the massive kumquat…”

Demeter turned slowly, a thoughtful expression on her face. “Kumquat…” She muttered.

“A massive kumquat.” Erica corrected.

“No, I do not remember any massive kumquats. You’re thinking of the wrong goddess.” She smiled sweetly. “Is that all dear, I’m quite busy.”

“Oh no it’s not! Who else would send a massive kumquat to a famine-ridden town?”

Demeter’s smile twitched. “Young lady, as a goddess I think you owe me more respect.”

“Well you haven’t earned mine.” Erica retorted, crossing her arms.

Demeter was usually very calm, but Erica’s complete ignorance was starting to get on her nerves. Winter was drawing ever nearer and she was losing precious time with Persephone.  

Demeter tried to calmly tell Erica to quit her brown nosing when swarm of fruit bats swooped in and battered her up a bit. Erica’s jaw dropped as her faithful fruit bat companion came to a flutter next to her.

“I thought we might hit some sort of snare, so I sonared for backup.”

After emerging with her various scratches and nicks (all of which meant next to nothing of course, she is immortal after all) Demeter gave into their demands, agreeing to remove the massive kumquat from Erica’s town to the abandoned fruit bat barn and supply Erica’s people with a proper end to a famine. She also had them both taken home. She’d do anything to get them out of her hair so she could be at peace once more.

“I have to thank you.” The fruit bat said as he and Erica went to part.

“Why?” She asked, “I just did what needed to be done.”

“But if you hadn’t been so chivalrous my kin and I wouldn’t have a massive kumquat to fuel our hunger.”

“You’re welcome then little fruit bat.” She held out her pinky and they shook. Finger and talon.

Erica’s people never found out how the massive kumquat vanished, or how a lifesaving harvest arrived right before Persephone’s departure without them even planting anything. Some of the fruit bats never got the chunks of Demeter’s immortal flesh out from under their talons, which really didn’t matter because they only live five to ten years max; and Demeter’s gum-popping receptionist never learned that gum wouldn’t be invented until the late 1940’s (A.D.).

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! I love it so much! Definitely the greatest story ever!

    ReplyDelete