Day of the Thueban

Day of the Thueban

Jasib sat peacefully beside the bar, a glass of cloudy water perched comfortably in his hands. The Ziggurat outpost was comfortable. At its centre was a rather impressive temple like structure made from rusting shipping containers, sections of scaffolding and corrugated steel. A circle of tents surrounded the central Ziggurat structure. Merodach watched over the community he was glad to call home with a cigarette in his mouth. He would blow tiny clouds of smoke as Jasib watched them vanish into thin air. "Quite a place isn't it?" Merodach asked cheerfully.
"Certainly is. Good community: a working well, nice people and good selection of goods.”
“I was always glad I grew up here. Obviously, we would have our problems with certain folk from the outside world but that’s to be expected. We were a place of hope for those to make it through the crawl. Ziggurat feels… special.”
“What do your parents do?” Jasib asked before taking another slurp of water through a plastic straw.
“They’re long gone I’m afraid. But everyone else here feels like family, what about your family bird man?”
“Don’t really have any for as long as I can remember. I came from a rough little town, Zubiya, quite some distance from here. You ever heard of it?”
“Can’t say I have. What’s it like?”
“Trading town – the usual market, a few factories, all the crime you could ever imagine. Lots of shady things happen in Zubiya. I’m glad to have left.”
“That bad eh?”
“That bad Mr. Merodach.” Jasib stood up and stretched his arms and legs, the broken chair he was sat on wasn’t the exact definition of comfort.

Abruptly the ground shook; a very light tremor. The decayed scaffolding creaked quietly with it; dried flakes of aged paint fell like snowflakes. Merodach pulled out his telescope, immediately examining the ground in the distance. Then he saw it. Climbing its way out of a large hole, the beastly Thueban. A Thueban was a strange and foul creature. For a head it had a single eyeball leering from behind two thick eyelids. Its body was a cross between a giant snake and a Komodo dragon with two times the legs. The colour of the Thueban’s scaly skin was only a few shades off the sand it called its home. Its mouth was concealed between it’s two front legs and resembled a vacuum cleaner more than an actual mouth, slurping up all the bits of flesh it could sniff out. “What it is?” Jasib asked.
“A monster…”
“What do you mean?” In silence Merodach handed Jasib his telescope. Jasib peered through the eyehole and looked at this hulking mass approaching the settlement. “You don’t see one of these every day, especially not in your parts. It’s a local nuisance. The type of thing the elders would tell us about to scare us to sleep.” You could hear the sadness in Merodach’s voice. He quickly pulled a whistle-like gadget out of his pocket and alarmed all those who hadn’t spotted the Thueban yet. Villagers of all ages hopped out their tents already armed with whatever was nearby. “You any good with firearms?” Merodach asked. Jasib hadn’t uttered a sound before Merodach had passed him a long-range rifle from behind the bar. “Start firing on it!” Merodach ordered as he began to climb down the Ziggurat’s structure. Jasib sighed, he would’ve answered a firm no to Merodach if he had an opportunity to answer. He peered through the rifle’s scope and aimed carefully at the creature. Slowly Jasib pulled back the trigger, the loud bang of gunpowder rang in his ears. He composed himself and fired again. The bullet seemed to bounce off the Thueban’s thick hide. “Damn blasted beast!” Jasib roared as he continued to fire a few more times. A small group of made up of the stronger Ziggurat settlers were approaching the Thueban with various weapons. Jasib Razin held his fire; the last thing he would want to do is accidentally murder a local. Merodach was there, he jumped onto the Thueban’s back and started to hack at it with a meat cleaver. The Thueban would violently shake anyone off its back and roar. One settler had a makeshift spear, she poked at the Thueban burrowing the spear into the monster’s flesh. Then the beast managed to knock a settler down, it quickly scurried over to the body and gobbled the man whole.

The settlers were far enough again for Jasib to make another shot. He aimed so the bullet would hit the Thueban right in the centre of its eye. It’d be like throwing a dart and getting a bullseye. He pulled the trigger and the bullet embedded itself into a corner of the Thueban’s pupil. It shook clearly stunned. Jasib quickly fired again but missed. Merodach approached the creature and crawled onto its back again, digging a dagger deep into the monster’s belly. The cries of the Thueban echoed across the land. It looked dead. Jasib began to scale down the Ziggurat, running across the desert towards the others. “You’re clearly an expert.” Merodach smiled.
“I’ve never really used a gun – that was a first. It could’ve all gone wrong.”
“I believed in you; the Ziggurat was at your side. I can’t believe we slaughtered a Thueban and made it out alive. We shall proudly display the rotting corpse of this nightmare. It’ll be part of the settlement’s legacy, it will be something to laugh at for the future generations, not something to fear like it was for my generation. A gag.”
“I think that’ll do the future generations well.”
“I want you to take this.” Merodach leaned over and cut off one of the claws off the Thueban’s foot. It was sharp, curved like a sickle. An excellent tool for both killing and digging. “You deserve it and the rifle too. I think you could benefit from it; you never know what’ll you’ll find out there.”
“Thank you.” Jasib smiled. Merodach and the other settlers all gripped the Thueban’s bloody body and began to carry it back to the Ziggurat. Jasib held the claw in his hand and looked over the locals struggle with their new trophy. He placed it in his bag, his own trophy from the terrifying day of the Thueban.

https://i.imgur.com/YlACXiW.png

'An Elder's Surprisingly Accurate Legendary Illustration of the Thueban'

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