Heiress Evita Evangeline Elga grunted as a pirate behind her shoved her once more. “Barbarian!” she spat over her shoulder. She received another shove in response. She winced at the thought of dirty hand prints on her formal dress. She’d never expected to be kidnapped during a wedding party. If she had, she wouldn’t have worn her beautiful lavender dress. “Grubby!” she called to the lead pirate walking ahead of her. “I must protest your men laying hands upon me. Have you no control over your animals?”
The lead pirate slowed and walked beside her. “I’ve told you many times, it’s Hal’Aliki. Sheik Hal’Aliki!” His scarred grey eye glared from his sun-shriveled features.
“Whatever, Grubby. I’ve met sheiks before.” She gestured at his worn, coarse clothing. “You’re not one of them.”
Angrily, he pointed to the eight men behind him. “I am a sheik! When we seize control from my uncle no one will question this. You must never doubt it.” He spat on the ground. “On my planet no woman speaks to man like you do.” He thrust his finger in her face. “Perhaps I won’t ransom you off after all. I’ll keep you on Al Kavarak where you’ll learn a woman’s place. It is better to live there anyway. Not so cold like this planet.”
During his diatribe, Evita nodded to a chirping bird in low branches. Having received her acknowledgment, it flew off. When Grubby turned back to her, Evita gestured at the trees around them and the soft loam on the trail. “It’s not cold. It’s a season called, ‘Fall.'” She pointed at the barren trees. “Come Spring these trees will burst with leaves, fruit, and singing birds. It’s not lifeless like that desert world of yours.”
“You mean these weeds?” scowled Grubby. “They get in the way. You can hardly see the sky. And there is much life on Al Kavarak.” He pointed at his lizard skin cloak. “There is no finer hunting in all of Human space.”
“You hunt?” Evita grimaced. “How could you? Whatever for?”
“For food, of course, and adventure.”
“How awful! On Aterides our animals are highly intelligent. Though wild, the animals communicate with us and we live in harmony.”
“Bah! Animals are meant to be hunted and eaten. Your people are confused about animals and women. You’ve learned everything backwards!”
Evita nodded to a hooting owl on her right. Everything was in place. “You wouldn’t say that if you met the Fluffies.”
“Fluffies?” scoffed Grubby.
“Immensely intelligent creatures. Gentle guardians of the peace between wildlife and humans on our world.”
Grubby flipped his cloak away to reveal the flechette pistol on his hip. “Are they intelligent enough to stop hypersonic bullets?”
In a smooth motion, Evita snatched the pistol and ran ahead of the group. Her long dress hindered her, and her attempt at a sprint only drew guffaws from Grubby. “Where are you running to, princess?” he called. “You can’t escape in the middle of the woods.” He trotted casually behind her, not caring that she opened thirty yards between them.
He pulled up as a massive barn owl, its wings spread 14 feet across, fluttered down beside Evita. It stood behind her and she leaned her back into the soft fluffy feathers of the giant bird. She carefully kept herself between it and the pirates, knowing they wouldn’t shoot because hitting her would spoil their chance at a ransom.
Grubby laughed uproariously once more. “So this is a Fluffy? Do you think for an instant we couldn’t kill that animal?”
Evita grinned. “Oh, this isn’t a Fluffy, though he’s quite intelligent.” She pointed past the pirates as the ground began to rumble. “Those are Fluffies.”
Grubby spun about in time to see three four-ton animals roaring towards them on the path. Green and blue glittered on the chitinous scales of the reptiles. Their four-foot, tooth-lined maws spread wide as the pirates began firing. Grubby dropped to his knees in shock as the pirate bullets ricocheted off the hides of Aterides’ native dragons.
“We call them Fluffies because of their feather-light touch with telepathy,” commented Evita. “…And they breathe fire. Did I fail to mention that?”
The giant owl lifted Evita into the sky as the Fluffies spat a sea of liquid flames across the pirates. The pirates screamed and began to cavort grotesquely as flames consumed their flesh.
Evita flew above the burning men in the gentle clutch of the owl. “Is my planet hot enough for you now?”
This week, in the Grammar Ghoul Press, the word prompt is: cavort. The media prompt is the painting at the top of this post. I intended something science fictioney this week, but the painting media prompt had other ideas about what story it wanted told. I added different planets an hypersonic bullets at least. Look here for more stories based upon the week’s prompts: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-14-open/