Wood is stronger than most people realize. That was evident in the giant ruin that lay just east of the village. It was a great rusted behemoth, shaped vaguely like a person, and protruding from its chest was a huge old oak tree. The steel panels had been shoved aside, twisted with the slow, unyielding pressure of life growing up through them.
The children enjoyed climbing over the thing, though their parents all warned them against it for fear that they might cut themselves on the old jagged edges. More than one villager had been lost after getting a cut on their hands or legs, which always seemed minor when it happened, but then about a week later they began to seize up, turning stiff as boards. It was an ugly death, and all the parents feared their children getting cuts on the steel monster, though there was little they could do to stop them playing where they wanted when no one was watching.
Orris had been warned multiple times by his father that playing on the ruin was dangerous, and he took these warnings to heart. That’s why he always made sure to wear thick gloves and heavy pants when he snuck away from the village with his friends. The ruins were just too fascinating to leave alone, after all.
The head in particular was amazing. A great glass panel had apparently covered the face at some point in the past, but in the time between this creature walking like a god across the Earth and its present state as a grand, glorified planter, the glass had been shattered. Shards of it stuck in their fittings, while larger pieces glittered in the sunlight at the bottom of some kind of cavity in the head. No one had ever tried to get inside to look around, because there were too many sharp edges. Today, though, Orris had a plan.
He’d brought with him a hammer that he’d managed to fashion out of a hefty stick, a stone, and some twine that he’d been making in his spare time. The glass was dangerous, but he thought he might be able to break it off and give himself a safe place to try to climb inside.
With the help of Myrtle, Linden, and Rowan, Orris secured some rope to a bent panel, and used it to rappel down into the head. Inside he found a room that was about the size of his father’s hut, though turned on its side. A large, padded chair sat vacant, bolted to the middle of the wall.
Orris clambered onto the seat, which was awkward since it was sideways, and in his scuffling, he knocked a switch on the armrest.
A display lit up, and strange images flashed across it. A huge wooden creature lurched towards the camera, its body overrun with vines and dotted with patches of thick, bright moss.
A voice erupted from a small speaker next to the display. “All options are exhausted. The beam cannon was absorbed as solar energy; my bayonets can’t cut through the creature’s thick hide. I’m running on reserve power now as I record this final message. We need to evacuate. There’s no stopping this thing.”
The creature on the screen reared back a massive arm and slammed it forward. The camera didn’t capture what the monster hit, but the view lurched backwards, and then gradually it turned upward, falling back into the ground. As the speaker erupted with a crash of rending metal and splintering wood, the last image was of the plant monster towering overhead, it’s arm broken off at the elbow, before the screen went black.
Orris craned his head to look up out the broken window and saw that the great old oak tree loomed above him in just the same position as the monster from the video.
So, I was definitely thinking a little bit of Pacific Rim and a bit of Final Fantasy VII when I was writing this piece. I thought it turned out okay, but any feedback’s always appreciated.
As always, this piece was based on i09‘s Concept Art Writing Prompt for the week. Follow the link to check out stories that other folks wrote based on this piece of art.