The books were gone, except for a single copy each of the Bible (along with various disputed canonical texts and letters), Koran, Chinese Buddhist canonical text, letters of Ellen White, Donghak Scripture, Lebor Gabála Érenn, Book of the Dead, various Sutras, Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy, Fudoki, Odù Ifá, Daozang, and a Merriam-Webster dictionary; they were kept under lock and key at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, which was the last part of the great edifice still standing. Books had offended the creatures and had been destroyed when they took over the planet; theirs was an oral tradition since they had no eyes with which to peruse the lovely words. However, they respected the holy books and allowed them to be spared; the dictionary was thrown in so the people would never forget many of their words. The internet and computers were gone, along with paper and all writing instruments. The creatures were without number and were plenteous enough to move in with the people. At least two elvers* were placed in each home: theirs was a collective memory; they grew knowing their mission and duty. Conquest had been accomplished so easily and now the people were becoming the pets and pack animals.
The mistake had been electing a world leader; having only one person in charge of the planet had made the conquest even simpler. The emperor sat behind the great desk, weeping. There was nothing more he could do. He wanted to write his last address but without the now forbidden items it seemed hopeless. The creature sat in the center of the couch directly across from his desk, regarding him; even without eyes he could feel its amusement at his dismay. He gave it the finger and smiled, until it drew up to its full height; how it knew what he was doing was still a mystery. “That was offensive, emperor. Be careful,” it said as it lumbered toward the door. “I shall return.” They had quickly mastered the various languages of the planet but it still gave him chills to hear them speak; their skeletal structure made every language sound as though it was being spoken through a reverberating barrel of sludge. The creature was most likely going off to eat; they didn’t take their sustenance in front of people. Since they were usually in pairs, one would go eat while the other kept watch; it was rare that any person was left alone but the emperor had shown himself to be trustworthy. They had allowed him moments of privacy throughout the day, which had afforded him the opportunity to explore what might be hidden in his chambers. His focus today was on the desk, which he knew had been crafted with many hidden compartments and secrets. He slid the drawer out of the desk and found an envelope stuck to the bottom; he carefully opened it to find what must have been the last pen in the world and he then knew all was not lost.
A day of global conquest, in 500 words; what could be finer?
If you’d like more info on the various holy books mentioned, feel free to visit here.
*I also was seeking a different name for the creature’s offspring (“elvers”), and happened upon this very helpful site, which I’ll probably bookmark for future exploration.
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