[Fic]: The Haze-Beast

As you know, Singapore has been having quite bad smog days with the fall out from the slash-and-burn activities at Sumatra, Indonesia. The scene in my country is nothing short of apocalyptic: people panic-buying face masks, queuing up to buy more of the masks, pictures of smog-filled city-scape and suburbs all greyed out, and this distinct fear of not seeing the sun again, not feeling cool fresh breezes again. At the moment, the two governments are engaged in finger-pointing and pretty much a lot of hot air (pun not intended). Meanwhile, people from both countries are suffering. (Note: It’s apparently a confluence of factors: the dry season, strong winds and lack of rainfall – Singapore is also having a dengue epidemic)

The Haze-Beast is a flash piece. If such things were easily conquered…
(Note: As you have noticed, the story has grown longer…)


The Haze-Beast

“Damn,” I shouted. “It’s out again.”

Tian Jin dropped her cup of tie guan yin and flowed into her dragon form. Under the orange orb that was the sun, her silver scales glittered dully. I wished to see blue skies again.

“Wish they could stop whatever they are doing,” Tian Jin said in dragon-speech which I understood perfectly. I was her Companion, part of a pair of Guardians tasked to watch over our given regions.

“They can’t,” I shook my head and quickly tied my hair into a ponytail. I flexed my fingers, grimly pleased to see my talons appear. My nose twitched, partly due to sheer irritation and partly to pure joy. Hunting the haze-beast would be fun. Just hope that it would not break into different parts, like the hydra we encountered a month ago. That was fun. Our regional head had some choice words for me and Tian Jin.

“Let’s go,” I nodded and let myself transform.

With a cry, I sprang into the air, wings spread to catch the thermal.

~*~

Oh, it was there. Hovering above the cityscape like… a haze. A blanket of death-giving smoke.

And it had fangs and a leering wicked smile.

I couldn’t abide by this. The sight of the haze-beast stirred something primal inside me. I screeched an eagle’s challenge and headed towards its head… or its tail. I wanted to cause damage to it. I wanted to cause hurt to it.

Tian Jin was already in the thick of things, grabbing onto the haze-beast and biting into it. But like the cloud it pretended to be, the beast laughed and dissipated, only to appear again and swipe at Tian Jin. I heard something crack, a porcelain cup breaking into two, and Tian Jin cursed in all different Chinese dialects. Silver scales scattered in the wind like glittering petals. I winced. That was going to hurt for weeks. Regional head is so not going to be happy.

Bloody hell. The beast had to go.

I drew down the fire of the sun and sent a bolt towards the haze. Hit it where it hurt.

I called down the power of the wind and sent a wave toward the haze. Make it disappear.

I am garuda. I ride the wind. I am the wind. My claws are lightning. My wings are gales.

You die, haze-beast, you die.

Tian Jin headed towards the upper limits of the sky. Between her fore claws a pearl formed. With a snarl, she dropped it into the haze.

The haze-beast realized it was trapped and began withdrawing its tendril. Damn, it had tendrils?

“Follow the tendrils,” I said to Tian Jin and she nodded.

“We go for the roots,” Tian Jin said. “You ready, Yana?”

I flexed my talons and felt my feathers ruffle. “Yes.”

~*~

We followed the smoky tendril as it withdrew as fast as it could. The last time I saw similar behavior was at a tidal pool where my cousin was happily poking at a baby octopus. The thing we might end up meeting was not going to be as cute as the baby octopus.

Tian Jin burst through the cloud cover and swore loudly once more. The smell of burning forest hit my nostrils straight away, like some powerful fist. I choked, gagged and had to turn away quickly. The smoke was seeping into my lungs: I couldn’t breathe.

I saw…

I saw men clearing the forest. Men and women, hunched over, their faces covered and anonymous. I saw fires roaring their defiance into the sky. The ashes of trees, of animals and of broken dreams. The haze-beast was a product of this and yet, it fed on the miasma of shattered lives.

My skin crawled and I ruffled my feathers.

We swooped down, brandishing our weapons. The wounded haze-beast hovered over the men and women, its tendril curling back down like a miniature tornado touching ground. Even as I watched, it started feeding again.

The humans worked harder and harder, the fires growing hotter and brighter.

Tian Jin was already in the thick of it, biting the tendril as hard as she could. The link snapped. The men and women stared as if they just woke from a nightmare. They gazed up at us and started screaming. They dropped their parangs and knives, fleeing from us, their saviors.

Tian Jin and I were speechless. As we hung in the air, watching the humans flee and the haze-beast pulling away to find more victims, cold hard stones began to hit us. It was hail.

(The end?)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Throwback Thursday: The Haze-Beast | A Wolf's Tale

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