They awoke floating in a warm nutrient bath. They had, as yet, no notion of how long they had been sleeping or what their new home would be like, but they must have arrived. They all rejoiced.
The first order of business was to build strength. More nutrients poured into their bath in great quantities. They grew quickly on the rich sustenance and soon were ready to spread out and explore their surroundings.
The new home had its challenges: Massive, crushing storms periodically raged. But they found caves to shelter in until the storms passed. The land was incredibly rich and provided everything they needed: Food, shelter, raw materials. In just a few generations their numbers exploded.
Inevitably, doomsayers appeared.
Prophets warned of coming hellfire. Ancient legends told of entire, unrepentant civilizations that were destroyed to the last one. Few listened. Why should they when life was so bountiful? Hadn’t the terrible storms of the early days abated? Surely these were signs of divine goodwill.
Scientists warned of unsustainable growth. The population was expanding at a rate that would soon overwhelm even the vast resources of their new home. They would drown in their own waste. Some listened and left to make another long sleeping voyage to another new home. But most were too content with their easy lives to trouble themselves.
In the end, both the prophets and the scientists were right.
As the scientists had predicted, a day came when the endless supply of food began to dwindle. The storage caves became vast chambers filled with waste. But the worse fate foretold by the prophets arrived. Darkness and fire descended upon the land. They retreated to their deepest caves, but it was no use. Scorching heat penetrated to the core and they died in agony to the last one.
* * *
Eva opened the oven, pulled out the hot bread, and plopped it on the cooling rack. The crackling, golden crust and the warm yeasty aroma made her mouth water.
“I think this may be my best loaf yet!” she said.
Fairytale Friday is an occasional series of very short stories.