Author Topic: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]  (Read 5112 times)

Offline 510bhan

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Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« on: December 15, 2011, 06:27:00 PM »
And They Say They Have No Backbone

The threat came every year, a way of life that brought dread nonetheless. When the time came, they fled under cover of darkness. Organised in caravans, they followed a well-travelled route, covering ten miles a day through jungles and rocky outcrops. Leaders set the pace to give them best advantage and, ever vigilant in this hostile terrain, each individual watched the back of the one in front of them. Stragglers faced the greatest danger. While on the move, the whole party kept lookout for the terrifying Triggers and when alerted to a potential attack, the group circled for protection. Sand underfoot created a dusty curtain in the scramble to assume to their defence. If they could distract them and get to the hollows they would be safe.

This journey however, forced by a storm, lacked planning. Young and old gathered haphazardly, dependent on instinct and natural defences to see them through to their destination.

Further and further they went, leaving behind those who fell victim to their pursuers. Nothing could be done. Still, it took denial and determination to continue on, when behind, others were being eaten alive. Only the young were foolish enough to look back and see their comrades ripped of their limbs as The Triggers feasted. When attacks like this happened, there was no chance of regeneration. With an autonomic nervous system that induced a state of shock when harmed, pain continued until the nervous system was completely destroyed.

Life was hard enough growing up in the colony. Customary self-mutilation accommodated growth spurts. Youngsters grew so fast they became blasé about the procedure. No one liked to see another while they molted. After deliberate self-denial, shrinking their muscles in preparation for removing their innards, they unpicked their body seams and secreted enzymes to aid pulling their insides out. This was the way. Vulnerable until a new protective layer formed, feeding after such deprivation was essential to regain strength. With food sources limited, many voraciously consumed what they had just discarded to replenish nutrients. The taste wasn’t so bad and it justified the cannibalism that took place when overcrowding posed problems.

During the annual trek into the darker, safe recesses, staying close provided the best protection. Onwards they marched, eyes on stalks moving constantly to watch out for enemies. Like an army driven, refusing to be distracted from their course, the caravan of thousands continued.

Most of them reached the warm depths of the Gulf of Mexico, where they returned to more regular activities despite preference for shallow coastal and shoal waters by the shore. Now the battle was to avoid the traps set so they wouldn’t become lobster bisque.

Offline bowmore bill

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Re: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 03:55:50 PM »
Hi 510..Got the bit about the invertribates. But am mystified about the triggers.

Offline 510bhan

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Offline heidi52

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Re: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 04:30:32 PM »
Glad Bill brought this to the top, somehow I completely missed it.

Fun read, well done.  ;D

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 04:41:54 PM »
Cheers Heidi. ;)

Offline Don

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Re: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2011, 02:10:15 PM »
In my next life, I'm coming back as a triggerfish.  ;D
I have a motto: when in doubt, go for the cheap laugh.

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2011, 02:30:29 PM »
But, but Don . . . they don't have guns! :D

Offline SparkyDashforth

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Re: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 05:44:34 PM »
I just got lost and my mouse found this site.
I don't usually read pros (too busy writing my own}, but was emboldened by the only 450 words tag.
Good read duckie.  Nice surprise ending.
Gonna get me some surf and turf tomorrow.




Offline 510bhan

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Re: Short Story: And They Say They Have No Backbone [450 words]
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 06:01:24 PM »
Thank you for looking Sparky. Enjoy your crustaceans tomorrow! ;D