Sunday, 17 January 2010

The night of the Lemurs

Ok, this week might be a little odd. You might notice on the side of this page my Twitter feed. You will also notice that I am asking some stranger from the internet if I can take up some challenge she posted to some other stranger from the internet. (If you two are reading this, you’re not strangers, you are both awesome.)

Anyway, the challenge is to “evaluate the statement ‘one day, the lemurs shall evolve and rule us all’. Give your response.” My evaluation is that the concept of Lemurs evolving and ruling us all would make for a pretty entertaining short story. This then is my response:

The couple walked down the rain soaked path through the park. The dark blanket of night was falling, leaving only that dim half-light; the fading memory of day. The lampposts formed pools of yellowy-orange light every ten yards or so. The trees that lined the path blocked part of the moonlight that fell from the clear sky. The trees rustled slightly in the wind, making the moonlight dance on those parts of the path not drenched in the light of the lampposts. The breeze made it a chill night, so the couple hugged each other close, part out of a desire for warmth, part out of affection.

They paused their slow walk briefly and inexplicably. James looked up at the moon and smiled a half smile. His head turned from the sky and down to Eleanor and his half-smile turned into a broad grin the exploded over her face at the same time as it did his. The leant together and kissed. James closed his eyes and held her close for no reason other than that he could. Over the quite buzz of the city enveloping the park, the trees rustled. Louder than before, as if blown by a stronger gust of wind. The moonlight danced around the embracing coupled.

But there was no stronger gust of wind. The couple did not notice this inconsistency however, nor did the notice the light thud behind them as the loved ones, continuing their walk, holding each other closer now that before. They had no reason to notice. The park was full of strange noises; nocturnal animals waking as the human world put itself to bed. This was no different of course; these gentle nocturnal animals were just waking up, hungry for a spot of breakfast. And breakfast was there, blissfully unaware as they wandered through the park, lost in each other’s company.

“We should get back.” James said, not turning to look at Eleanor, or slowing, or changing direction. “It’s getting dark.”

“Mmm” it was neither and agreement nor a disagreement. “Not getting tired I hope.” She looked up at him, smiling a coy smile.

He looked down and bent slightly to kiss her again. “Come on, let’s go.” She drew him into a fuller, more passionate kiss before making towards the nearest exit. They walked with a little more purpose now, their hands clasped together.

They reached the rusting Iron Gate that always stood open, welcoming walkers to the quite park. The barrier between the quite world of the park, trying in vein to emulate the beauty of the countryside, and the loud, polluted world of the city, constantly encroaching on the paradise within its bounds was guarded tonight by two small furry creatures.

James went down onto his haunches, straining to get a better look at them. “Hello little fella” he said in a soft, patronising tone. “What are you guys doing out here eh?” He smiled and looked closer at the creatures, trying to work out exactly what they were.

He rose to his feet again. “Do they look like any breed of dog that you know of? You’re into that sort of thing.”

Eleanor shrugged. She was about to respond but was interrupted by a sharp, high pitched bark from one of the creatures. The two flinched back at the alien sound. The looked down at the small creature who had made the ear piercing sound. It was more aggressive now, snarling and pacing towards them. Although it was only small it painted a vicious picture in the fading light.

James laughed nervously. “I think we should try a different exit. Leave the strays in peace.”

“Ye. I’m not sure they’re dogs James. They look more like monkeys to me.”

“Monkeys?” James snorted. “This isn’t a zoo dear.” He pulled her into a reassuring hug nonetheless. There was another bark from the creature, angrier this time. “Well whatever it is we ought to leave it be. Come on.” He turned and was confronted by another of the creatures. He stopped half turn.

“Look at that tail!” Eleanor exclaimed. “There’s no way that’s a dog.”

James smiled. “Whatever they are they’re very cute.”

“I think they’re more angry than cute.” There was a fear in her voice as she looked at the creatures prowling around them.

“Probably because they want us to leave them alone and get on with whatever it is that monkeys do around here. Come on, let’s get out of here.” The monkey-like creatures did not make any effort to stop them moving past and further into the park, now covered in darkness but for the occasional circle of light below the lampposts. They seemed further apart now, and the air seemed colder. The moon has disappeared behind a cloud. The animals kept their wide eyes focused on the two. James had not noticed how huge their eyes were until now. It troubled him that he recognised them, but could not place what they were.

They walked faster now, hurrying to get home and put the strange creatures from their minds. They tried not to pay any attention to the fact that they followed from the shadows, more of them, racing on all fours. From the rustling of the trees it was clear that they were swinging from the tree tops as well, easily keeping up with the couple. Monkeys indeed. The ominous sounds of tiny feet urged them on to greater speed.

Suddenly Eleanor stopped. “Lemurs!” she exclaimed out of the blue.


“Yes, the creatures, that’s what they were; Lemurs. I saw a documentary on TV about them.”

“I thought they lived in Madagascar”

“Yes they do.”

“Then why-“

He was cut of by the soft thud. They both looked up to see one of them, standing on two legs, rising up almost as tall as Eleanor. It snarled and they noticed the sharp, off-white teeth. They turned to go in the opposite direction to be faced with another such creature. It hopped like a kangaroo. It was almost comical in its ungainliness. Nonetheless they jumped backwards and Eleanor let out a yelp in fright. All around them Lemurs of all sizes closed in around them. They spun, searching for an escape, but there was none. They both turned to see the first Lemur, standing toe to toe with them. Although it was shorter than both of them, it’s large eyes and bared teeth more than made up for the deficiency.

The couple’s eye met for the last time and love danced with fear in their gaze. The Lemur jumped at the couple and breakfast began.

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