This is the eight story to be generated by the 'September Madness' post and is inspired by a prompt from Catherine Russell (aka @ganymeder).
Although September is long behind us, I'm still going to honour all the prompts that came in (which may take a while ). If you want to see the full list of prompts or check out the other stories from that post then click here.
When the first ones came, mankind was curious. Though not a new species per se, the sheer grandeur of Giraffa Superior made her an instant hit with scientists and journalists alike.
The gentle giants ambled across the earth and people made them welcome, organising great parades in their honour. The giraffe’s didn’t care, so long as there was plenty of food and no surprises.
During one of these parades, a young man called Billy Gorgon set off some fireworks to celebrate. The gesture sparked a stampede that destroyed cars, houses and killed ten people. Nobody blamed the giraffe’s however; their anger was reserved for Billy Gorgon, who quickly disappeared.
Afterwards, the traumatised giraffe steered clear of human settlements and could only be watched remotely. It was decided the best thing to do was give them time and space.
Then the trees came and they changed everything. It’s not clear if the giraffe brought new seeds with them or if their interactions with the ecosystem altered it in some way. Fierce debates raged between those that favoured the ‘seeder’ theory and advocates of the ‘fertiliser’ idea. Such things soon became irrelevant.
In the space of twelve months, new species of plant spread across the globe, growing faster and bigger than anything seen before. Trunks like iron punched up through roads and homes, ending mankind’s dominance with disturbing ease. Efforts to halt the advance were hampered by human indecision. Some wanted to preserve the new species, most wanted to destroy them but the majority were too busy scrabbling for resources and rioting to care either way.
Not long after, the giraffe came back, their numbers swollen beyond all predictions. Never alone, they moved en mass in packs no smaller than a hundred. These new mega-herds behaved differently to the smaller family units. They were organised and confident and had little time for human beings. People found themselves ejected from their homes and forced into designated zones. Any that resisted soon found the rough side of a giant hoof.
Ten years went by in relative peace and then a man stood up to be counted. While his fellows had become meek and pale he was hot faced, his hair wild, like a storm. Billy Gorgon had returned and he had brought fireworks, lots and lots of fireworks.
He parked himself firmly in one of the giraffe zones and declared that he was taking back mankind’s right to go where they bloody well liked. When the giraffe came to move him on, he answered with two well-placed Roman Candles and a Catherine Wheel. Terrified, the long legged oppressors fled.
Humanity celebrated and named Gorgon their leader. They built a new settlement, square inside the giraffe’s territory. This too they named Gorgon.
Then one day a solitary giraffe arrived. She was old and lined, with a long scorch mark across her flank. The last of the first ones had come to bargain. Billy went out to meet her and that was his second great mistake. At the sight of the fire maker, her ancient eyes went wild, all thoughts of peace submerged beneath hate and fear.
Trapped in a flash-back the giraffe trampled and trampled until there was nothing recognisable left of Gorgon, or the town with his name.
Humanity crept back to its proper place having learnt their lesson. Never again would they play with fireworks.
(Original prompt: In a world where giraffes rule mankind with iron hooves, one man dares to stand up, risk getting trampled, and fight for the right to free parking in non-designated safe zones)