The Great Feast
by Duncan Jones
A long time ago, perhaps the longest time ago …
Back even before the grasses or the jungle had any law or rules, back when all life looked the same, before the first of the herds or the packs or the horns or the wings …
There was a great feast.
For time saw in all life the potential to be beautiful, and powerful, and possess great ability. The wind, ever so excited to be the host, raced across the land, inviting all. And so they came …
Naturally some arrived before the others, and upon arrival they saw that before them lay a great feast indeed! And their eyes grew big!
And for the first time they felt hungry! And the wind danced and raced around delightedly, “Well go ahead!!!! This is a celebration! But remember, I have invited many … and some are not yet here. Do save some for them!”
But before the wind had finished speaking all had begun eating. And they ate so quickly! And they ate so loudly! And they did not hear the wind’s last wish, but the wind was delighted!! It swirled and giggled and danced all around, over and over, “I have invited many … and some are not yet here!”
Just as the many were eating though, there had been one who listened. And as she listened her ears began to grow, for any part put to good use will grow stronger and more useful. Just a little at first, but then more and more as the sound of the feast grew louder. And if she cocked her head she could hear the wind swirling and laughing.
And the others kept eating.
Soon parts of the feast had been consumed completely! And some turned to new places to continue, for it was so wonderful! “How delightful!” screamed the wind! And for the first time there was bumping and shoving. And for the first time there were threats and displays. And so a new feeling spread …
And just as this new feeling was born on the wind it raced far, far and away, out over the hills, fast through the night until it came upon the others, those who were still making their way. And of course the wind swirled and danced, laughing and howling loudly, “Hurry! Hurry! For the competitions have begun! And I do want you all to enjoy it so! For this is a celebration!!!!”
And so those on their way began to run even faster, and they too began to bump and shove. And sooner yet they had their own threats and displays, all barreling forth toward the feast!
And just as the one who listened grew ears, as they raced over the land some began to turn the color of the summer grass. Others began to turn the color of the shadows and the night. And some ran faster and faster so as to reach the feast even sooner! And some grew mouths that could take bigger and bigger bites, bites even as big as another feast entirely! And some grew feet that could slash and grab anything, and certainly hold their place when they arrived.
“How delightful!!” howled the wind as they climbed over the hills, and for the first time a howl came back across the land!
“How wonderful!” laughed and giggled the wind as they raced through the jungle, and for the first time a laughter came from far across the land!
“HOW EXCITING!!!!” roared the wind as they tore across grass in the night, and for the first time a ROAR came from out of the night.
And for the first time fear was loosed into the darkness.
Back at the feast though the noise of the crowd had risen to a roar as well. So none of them heard a thing.
During the passing of such marvelous happenings the one who listened had in this time begun to grow slender and lean, for she had not yet had a single bite. Wherever she moved to have a taste one would turn on her and snap, “NO! MINE!”
So it was not long before she grew light feet, and she walked quietly and treaded ever so carefully so as to reach between them. She took a few small bites here … a few small bites there … all the while listening from every direction with her new ears, which were now large and upright, and the wind spoke softly, “I have invited many … and some are not yet here!”
Not any time after, heads began to lift, for the feast was almost gone! And they called to the wind demanding more! More! MORE!
And the wind spoke so softly, and moved so quickly! “How delightful! You have enjoyed it so!”
But they could not hear the wind. “More! MORE!” They cried! “Oh yes giggled the wind! There will be more!
But only the slender one who had listened could sense a thing, and now even she had trouble hearing. In fact, the wind spoke so softly that she could not hear at all … but rather for the first time amid the newest of the shouting and the latest of the eating and the silence of the wind she felt a new sense entirely! As she stood still in the night with the feast roaring behind her she could barely catch the scent of new guests, guests that she could not see, guests that also had not yet had a bite to eat.
She looked out over the land, and though she could not see them, she saw the grass move in new and strange ways. And she could feel with her light feet that there were bigger feet very near. And for the first time she could understand the slashing claws and the long tongues of the great packs and the fear that had been loosed into the darkness. And she no longer desired to lower her head to the feast.
“HOW DELIGHTFUL” screamed the wind, so loudly once again! “You have enjoyed it so! Soon there will be more to eat! So soon I promise! Look at you all! How wonderful!” And the wind swirled and danced and giggled and laughed. And the crowd bumped and shoved. And there were more threats and displays. And the feast had turned into complete madness. Until finally the wind spoke so each could hear very clearly …
And as they listened, most for the first time, they looked up to see that all around them now stood the new guests. “Now! It is time! Let the great feast continue!” And oh how the feast continued indeed!
The wind screamed and shouted with delight. And for the first time screaming and shouting rushed out across the land! And the slender one darted and danced, feeling light and fast, bolting out into the night …
Once free she saw others like her, those she did not know had been in attendance! And she saw others not like her … the first wings rising high above the land! The first arms climbing high into the trees! The first patterns hiding into the ground! And she looked all around, and saw others like her, all running faster and faster and FASTER!
And the long grass swished as she flew, and the night was alive with those fleeing the madness of the feast, hundreds, thousands! All who had listened to the wind.
They ran through the night for what might have been forever until finally …
They reached something new! For before them lay the great and winding river! And their eyes grew big! And for the first time they felt thirsty! And the wind danced and raced around delightedly, “Well go ahead!!!! This is a celebration! But remember, I have invited many …”