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The Terrible Tragedy of Tukralu

The Fourth planet of the Eighty-Ninth Galaxy

By Kat ThornePublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
7
The Terrible Tragedy of Tukralu
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. A single scream, perhaps, what happens when an entire planet screams? Can a collective cacophony break through the oppressive laws of physics, or will their terror be forever muffled, encasing their legacy in a coffin of negative space?

The incredible distances and oppressive vacuums of space muffle each ecosystem in their own personal cocoon, protecting each microcosm from the knowledge of the tragedies that befall others. Too vast is the universe for every history to be heard and mourned – some simply vanish in the span of a blink, and the rest of the galaxy carries on.

Such was the story of the tiny haven of Tukralu, a dwarf planet tucked in the farthest corner of the smallest galaxy. Home to a mild-mannered agricultural people, screams rarely graced the airwaves of the planet's tranquil atmosphere. The echoes of all significant conflict had long sounded their final reverberations in the three centuries since the planet freed itself from the iron grip of the oppressive Sor Kvahn.

The Tukrali had won their sovereignty with a clever trade for the long-guarded secret of how their cattle’s sweet golden milk was flavored – slowly steeped in the morning dew collected off the pearly petals of the Syrenite Lily. The Kvahnites simply could not resist the recipe for the perfect complement to their beloved Jurje’a tea, and ever since the Tukrali people had been free to enjoy their simple lives in communal harmony and bliss.

The day of their society’s collapse began as any other. Gentle breezes swayed the wispy Gunamo trees as their three moons and sun danced in perfect harmony in the sky. Children’s laughter echoed as their Lingling ball in tore through the old, abandoned field; their hearts light with the enjoyment of the temporary freedom the Independence Day celebration gave them from the rigors of school.

The community garden was the first thing to go. Bubbly chrysanthemums and regal dahlias, juicy tomatoes and crisp carrots oft pirated by the rabbits on their nightly raids, vaporized as a fireball crashed directly in their midst.

The second blast was a perfect strike to center field – the ricocheting red ball burst into a thousand shredded fragments, which rained down of the corpses of the children who had surrounded it.

The Tukrali paused in stunned horror, as their simple minds struggled to process the scene playing out before their violet eyes. It wasn’t until the shadow from the ship cast dark across the flaming field that reality sunk in, and the screaming began.

Panicked Tukrali fled in all directions, but there was no hiding from the fate being forced upon them. No shelter could protect them from the bombs bursting all around.

A direct hit torched the tree perch Oshta had made for the nesting Rowana bird, her fifteen offspring dead before they could even lay eyes on the world beyond their shells, their budding chirps forever silenced.

Into flames burst the teddy little Kyata kissed each night before she fell asleep. A parting gift from her father before an unexpectedly brutal sea storm ended his life, his well-worn fuzz and stuffing quickly vaporized till all that remained were haunted ebony eyes.

The rapidly-growing inferno swallowed whole the log cabin Horshat had painstakingly constructed for his pregnant wife. Eight months of sweat and sixteen hour days, toiling through blizzards and heat waves and sideways rain, reduced to ashes in seconds flat.

The elegant eggshell trellis beneath which six hundred and eighty-two Tukrali couples had sworn the sacred vows of their mating ritual, intricately woven with flames of crimson roses and whimsical yellow honeysuckle, crumbled till glowing embers was all that remained of the decades-old symbol of love.

Korla’s screams of unfettered sorrow pierced through her agony as her skin succumbed to the flames. Her Independence Day crown of woven white lilies, the emblem of the rebirth of their people, eviscerated with a series of tiny pops, as the last life was squeezed from within it.

The bugle which had triumphantly trilled the proclamation of their freedom centuries before, melted back to the elements that forged it as fiercely proud memories of their hard-fought battles against the oppressive Sor Kvahn rendered flimsy in comparison with the hell currently raining down upon them.

Torbin snapped his toddler’s neck, unable to bear their agonized wails. For another four minutes and eighteen seconds he was forced to live with his despair, before the unrepentant tendrils of acrid smoke finally coagulated in his lungs and stole away his pain.

Thirteen minutes and fifty-two seconds. The amount of time it took for an entire civilization’s past, present, and promise of a future to be eviscerated in a fiery cloud.

The flames burned on till they could sustain themselves no longer, starved by the lack of further futures to consume, and soon all that remained was dark smoke gently blanketing the unrecognizable charred remains. Corpses of an entire ecosystem nestled below the cinders of the life they had built.

For nine days the lonely smoke billowed, clouding the scene of devastation and carnage from any passerby. A shield protecting the sanity of the other planets from the horrors that lay within.

The heat from the flames slowly dissipated, till the world was left cold and unfeeling. Just another empty, lifeless planet, in a galaxy that was rife with them.

But somewhere through the dust and ash, a lily defiantly opens its petals.

And a young boy’s fingers twitch.

************

Author's note: For those of you currently silently cussing me out for the lack of context for this massacre, companion pieces Mission 52 and The Last Tukrali will provide the backstory you're so desperately craving!

Sci Fi
7

About the Creator

Kat Thorne

Just muddling through life, trying to be the good sort of chaotic energy.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (7)

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  • John Cox3 months ago

    Destruction on a planetary scale made human. Very impressive and disturbing storytelling lest we forget the true cost of war.

  • Cathy holmes2 years ago

    This is fabulous. Visually descriptive, and I swear I could hear their screams. So well done.

  • G.B. Veen2 years ago

    Such a vivid story. Love the idea of all the inhabitants of the planet screaming ! Very unique perception. The ending gives hope and can't wait to find out more about the boy in chapter 2

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Valentina Savage2 years ago

    Wow! I invite you to read my stories :)

  • Made in DNA2 years ago

    Yikes! That was something.

  • Test2 years ago

    This is so well-written. The prose really makes the reader feel the devastation, and that cliffhanger is fantastic. Well done!

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