El Aden (a short, short story)

El Aden

What if I told you this age has another name, an ancient name… that what we call the Year of the Puma is also the year “2612”? That over four hundred winters have passed since a great war between the mightiest peoples destroyed each other, and much of the world with them?
Few today know that thousands upon thousands of families once lived in the crumbling towers that fill the great wastelands where the very air and earth are poisoned. Today, the wastelands are home to the Cursed, those hideous creatures which common folk believe are demons guarding the arcane machines and untold treasures which fill every chamber, as death-bees guard their honey filled nests.  Yet would you believe if I told you the Cursed are really men, like you and I?  No? I did not expect you would.  None like to speak of the Cursed, it is as they say malswertay.
They do like to dream of the treasure, no?  As you know, not all treasures are hoarded by the Cursed… some are found buried deep in the ground, and some even appear in the faces of the hillsides after a storm, as a jewel in the crown of a king.
On the coast of a place the ancients called “Meheeko”, a great treasure was once revealed after terrible hurican which lasted seven suns.  Cruel are the gods, who by this storm destroyed the fishing village of Aden.  Doubly cruel are they for revealing to the young man Dyego, the sole survivor, the enormous treasure box after destroying his family and his life.  You see, this treasure had been buried beneath the sands of the very cove the village had stood for generations.  It is said this box was made entirely of metal, strong and clean, not brown and crumbling like we usually see.  This box, “shipping container” is what it was called, was even larger than the largest ship in Aden!  Inkreyiblay, no?
Dizkulpe let me continue.  Swinging open the large, heavy doors, Dyego found inside mucho trash and unrecognizable things.  There were however many small things that may have found some usefulness, so as any man would, he bundled things in a blanket, filled his shirt, his pockets and his arms and spent the day taking things out to the beach.  He did not stop to rest, fearful the gods would change their minds and pull the box beneath the sands at any time.
On his fifth trip, would you believe he found bags of clothes made of shining, soft materials with all the colores of the ocean sky at sun set?  Even the wealthiest nobleman could only dream of such ropas! Ez verdah!  Even the bags themselves were wonders to behold: thin as the leaves of a tree, strong as animal skin, and transparent as water!  Yet these were the least of the treasures to be found…
One such item was like a large helmet, light as soapstone, yet smooth and strong as river stones.  There were some clear jewels set into it, and it was padded inside as body armors are.  Dyego rubbed it clean and put it on his head to free his arms to carry more things.  Imagine his surprise to find those jewels began to glow with a fire that did not burn.  And more surprising was that this strange hat spoke to him as if it was a part of his own mind!

Do not laugh! There is more to this tale!
This voice introduced itself as “G-NEE, a Lamp Industries ‘G’ series Nanotech Empathic Entity”, that it was “online” and “awaiting command”.
“Who is there? Show yourself!” cried Dyego as he ran from the treasure box.  Suddenly, a spirit appeared in the shadows of the entryway!  She was glowing blue, and he could almost see through her… ghostlike she was, as is the thin smoke of a cook-fire.  “Awaiting command” she repeated.
Dyego, sure that this was all a dream (though a part of him dreaded the spirit would be angered by his impudence) stood up straight, macho, and said “then I command you to come forth, and bear these treasures for me!” Ha ha, I tell you his heart nearly stopped when two great rays of light came from the dark depths of the metal cave.  They were like the eyes of some god, bright as cold white sunshine, and slowly coming forward, crashing through the contents of the treasure box.  And the sound! It was the howl of wind and the growl of a jungle cat at the same time.  Yet it was no monster that came forth, but to Dyego’s surprise it looked like a wide, metal carpet- red as blood- floating above those cold fires.  As it came into the sunlight, the fires blew out, and the spirit girl disappeared.
She re-appeared standing on the flying carpet (which in the light of day looked more like a wide boat floating on air).  She was only as tall as a man’s forearm now, and asked him “shall we go for a ride?”

A fairy tale you say? How could I know these things you ask? I know this because I was there!
I am the last man of a destroyed fishing village.
I am the flyer of the red carpet.
I am the master of G-NEE of Lamp.
I am Dyego, though most know me as El Aden!

(copyright Louis A. Eliopoulos)

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