The city of Nivron. Quiet, peaceful, vast. It was a wonderful place full of rich architecture and expertly crafted fountain squares. Numerous green parks gave children ample place to play while the adults worked in the many towering office buildings. Neighboring cities, Talonon and Harbino, were over an hour's drive away. Luckily, the expensive highway that connected them went through lush hill country and there were plenty of trees for the young ones to count along the way.
However, during the night there had been a power outage and many residences found themselves waking later than usual the next morning to crowds gathered in the streets. It was only thanks to shock and denial that there wasn't outright mass panic. Many looked to their phones for comfort, but there wasn't a soul in the city that could get a signal.
The once blue sky was gone, replaced with a rough white ceiling that was nothing like a fluffy cloud and remained completely stationary many thousands of miles above. The edges of the city where six lane super-highways normally ran into grass fields on their way to Talonon and Harbino were just gone. Now the roads just ended abruptly, as though cut with a giant knife. The once natural world was now a perfectly flat wasteland. What appeared to be dark gray tumble weeds dotted the horizon.
Blurry masses surrounded them on all sides, far too distance and far too huge to comprehend. A few citizens dared to get in their cars to brave the emptiness. The vast majority, however, stayed where they were, hoping the fearless explorers would learn something and return with good news.
Suddenly, the air was filled with an ear splitting roar.
The once bustling city of noise had woken to silence. For what felt like forever there were no car horns or children laughing to fill the emptiness. But now the deafening blast raddled windows as though the loudest bells in history were being beaten mercilessly with a hammer. Where the bells were and what could possibly be striking them with such force and speed was beyond anyone.
Whooves rolled over in the bed, but his wife, Derpy, refused to move with him. She always was a heavy sleeper. He groaned, shifting awkwardly on the mattress so that he could slap the top of that annoying clock. In an instant the blaring racket was gone. Whooves yawned and pushed himself up, looking around tiredly. The blinds still covered the window and the room was cozy dark. He flipped himself over and threw his legs off the side of the bed.
Now in a sitting position, he was able to stretch his arms and pop his back. He sighed happily before noticing his wife's position. Derpy had curled up in the sheets and refused to wake up. Whooves shrugged. Oh well, he thought. It was Sunday. She didn't have to get up and, technically, he didn't either.
He rose to his feet only in his boxers, sending a tremor unnoticed by him through the wooden floor. Whooves then aimed for the closet on the other side of the room and began moving.
In the city of Nivron, men and women were uncovering their ears. Confusion, and a hint of pain, decorated every face as they gazed about aimlessly. A few pointed to a brown blob in the distance. Enormous and changing. Soon thousands were watching. What was it?
A sudden wild serious of earthquakes knocked people to the ground. Someone screamed. The brown blob was coming! Step, step, step. Each footfall generated a rumble stronger than the last and soon a shadow had fallen over the populace. A pair of brown columns impossibly thick and impossibly tall had raced towards them and were now ready to strike.
The foot fell into the city and buildings that didn't disappear toppled. A wall of displaced air shot through streets and tossed cars like they were toys. Men and women couldn't hope to fight the gale and any who tried quickly lost their grip if not their arms.
The other foot too found itself planted with in the city and it might as well have been a second meteor strike.
Whooves reached the closest, unknowingly stepping out of the city he'd just left in ruins. He pulled the flimsy doors apart and began searching for a pair of pants and a shirt he could afford to get dirty. Once dressed in some cheap work jeans and a plaid shirt, he wove his way out of the bedroom and made his way outside.
The city of Talonon was in trouble. Even though a bright sun shone overhead, the streets were flooding. Water just seemed to seep right up out of the ground from various cracks that were forming and it brought with it mud from the rough ugly land that now encased the city. Cliff-like hills of mud rose into the sky on every side and unfamiliar noises echoed like monster calls. Children hid inside while the adults argued about what to do. There was no power and no reception. Bulldozers braved the onslaught and makeshift barricades were built to try and stop the incoming mass of wet dirt.
But it wasn't working. The brown mush oozed around every obstacle and into every crevice.
Whooves glanced down at the garden. Derpy loved to plant, but she could never keep the rows straight. As a result, the garden was a multicolored mess. And today it was a wet multicolored mess. The pegasi must have scheduled a late night or early morning shower.
But this is why he was up. A freshly watered garden was like a magnet to insects of all shapes and sizes. Insects he had to see because he was somewhat of an enthusiast. Not exactly a bug lover, he just found their tiny bodies incredibly interesting to study. Today he planned to find something rare and exciting.
He took several steps around the edge of the white fence, scanning for any of the larger specimens before he got down and dirty. As he walked, the fresh mud squished around the heavy boots he wore. Coating them in filth and in his wake craters slowly smoothed out again.
Talonon was making progress. The unstoppable advance was slowing, but several blocks had already been lost on every side. With luck the sun would dry out their enemy and they could refocus their efforts on determining where their city had been dumped or what had dumped this flood on them.
Suddenly, the city began to quake and the sludge stirred. Eyes widened and people pointed into the distance. Something massive was coming! It was fast, it was vast, and it was here.
Whooves's boot was like a mountain of muck. The treads had been completely filled and drops rained from his footwear. He kept his gait slow, his eyes still trained on the various flowers.
For Talonon, it was torture.
A wall of mud, not unlike they were fighting, hovered above them at an angle. Chunks broke and plummeted into the city, but it was too quick for anyone to notice the "small" stuff. The mud coated heel touched down first, landing right over a line of barricades that had taken hundreds of people to scrape together on such short notice.
Then the sole came down like a rolling pin and the mud ceiling squished over the city.
First the mud tried to flex around the taller buildings. Then it pushed them off their foundations. Then it plowed them into the ground with everyone trapped inside. Those in the streets couldn't hope to outrun the advance as it traveled faster than even the most expensive sports cars and they were quickly running out of road.
In two blinks of an eye Talonon was gone, pressed into the earth and drowned. And the worst part? No one would ever know.
Whooves reached the corner of the garden and paused to breath. He hadn't spotted any large creatures. So now it was time to get on his hands and knees.
He clapped his hands together as he approached the first row of flowers. They looked healthy and the earth here was much drier. The plants must have sucked up most of the moisture. Whooves grunted slightly and lowered his body. His hands slapped the mud and a cold tingle ran up his arms. He shivered with a small smile.
Harbino was known for its concrete construction. It was not the nicest city to look at, what with all its buildings resembling WW2 bunkers. But it was home. And it was currently in a state of war.
A beast a thousand times taller than a skyscraper was crawling over the city on stubby monstrous legs. It was slow for its size, but it bulldozed over everything in its path without a care. It was fat and long. It had dozens of legs. It's underbelly was a dull blue and its back was bright green. Antennae hung from its head and vice like jaws dangled loosely from the bottom of its fat ugly head.
The caterpillar paid no mind to the minuscule pounding it took from whatever hand guns the citizens could dig up. The people knew it was pointless, but there was nowhere to evacuate. A veiny green surface was hanging above the city and all the roads out of town were... just gone.
Once more, the world was beginning to shake, as if Harbino's problems couldn't get any worse.
Whooves was a little disappointed. He had searched nearly the entire garden and found nothing particularly rare. There was that snail and that ladybug, and he'd also spotted two butterflies, but they had quickly flown away.
He was on the last row, practically with his back against the wall of the house when he spotted the blubbery body of a caterpillar. It was probably looking for a good place to cocoon, judging from its size.
Whooves grinned. Carefully, he moved his hand under the flower leaves and grasped the little thing between his thumb and index finger. Then he lifted it away from the ugly white moss it had been trudging through.
For the people of Harbino the day had been saved. No one could tell what was going on, but it was almost like the beast had simply vanished. One moment it had been stomping through the city, the next it was floating away.
People scratched their heads and stared up at the mass that had appeared and carried off their attacker. It was far too massive to see properly, but it appeared human-like. Had a god come to save them from their attacker? True or not, the situation was crazy enough that many were more than willing to give thanks and send praises up to their savior.
Whooves let the caterpillar crawl along his palm as its little feet tickled his dirty fur. He chuckled and stood up, holding his palm out to give his new friend a level surface. He turned on his heels, ready to go back inside and get cleaned up. Of course he was going to have to drop the caterpillar off before heading in. Derpy would have a tizzy if he brought a bug into the house. But where to put him down?
Whoove's ear rose sharply, his body tensed. But before he could respond a crow swooped down and grabbed the caterpillar right out of his hand! Shocked, Whooves lost his balance and stumbled backwards. His hands waved wildly and he could feel his foot crush one of Derpy's flowers. Oh she was going to be upset. Luckily, he regained his footing and saved himself the embarrassment of eating dirt. A tragedy that might have spared him the wrath that was to come.
For the joyful inhabitants of Harbino, the end came just as suddenly as the arrival. Only two rapid tremors preceded a sky of dried mud dropping onto their world. The flower that had stood over them for several hours failed to offer any resistance and the strong stone buildings were less than toothpicks against such a huge weight.
Bits of earth jumped, but all went still a second later.
Chuckling to himself about the encounter, Whooves moved back around and reentered the house after quickly wiping his boots on the mat. He made his way into the kitchen where he suddenly realized he had forgotten to put some coffee on. Snorting, he did so now and made his way back to the bedroom. It had been about an hour and it was time for one sleepy head to get up.
Order was returning to Nivron. After the sudden loss of half the city and the smog of masculine stink that had lingered after, rescue crews had successfully pulled dozens from the rubble. However, the power was still out and an explanation as to what was going on was still up in the air.
So it was to everyone's absolute horror when the earthquakes returned.
Everyone froze. Firefighters, policemen, paramedics. Every muscle in the city locked up. No one dared move, as though fearing they would attract the attention of whatever foul demon had struck them earlier.
"Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!" Whooves called as soon as he was through the bedroom doorway. Derpy mumbled as she turned over, her delicate golden eyes blinking lazily towards him. Her husband grinned as he marched into the room and immediately gripped the blinds.
Derpy was barely fast enough.
She threw the sheets over her head just as he tossed the blinds aside and allowed the bright sun's light to flood the entire room. He inhaled deeply and grinned mischievously towards the bed. "You can't hide under there all day," he teased.
"I don't smell fresh muffins," she grumbled, refusing to get up.
He pursued his lips in thought for a moment. "If I make you some muffins, will you promise to get up?"
"Yes," came a whimper from beneath the covers.
"Alright then!" he cheered and made for the door.
"Wait," Derpy called after him.
"You better clean up first," she giggled, her eyes squinting out from under the covers.
Looking down, the stallion was suddenly aware of the mud he'd tracked into their room. He blushed at his carelessness.
Derpy giggled. "How about you clean and I'll make breakfast?"
He nodded, quickly removing his boots and then his shirt. Derpy, one narrow eye on her husband and one narrow eye on the hall, rose from the bed. With a cute yawn, she stood and made for the door, although her steps were wobbly after just waking up.
The city of Nivron had gone deaf. The blasts of noise that none could even tell were supposed to be voices and endless motion of the distance masses had left the city at a loss for what to do. Prayer seemed to be a good option.
Whooves was left in his boxers once again and mentally debated whether to put on some other work clothes or just mop as he was. Eventually he shrugged and tossed his old clothes in the hamper. After retrieving a bucket and filling it in the bathroom tub, he grabbed the mop and some soap and returned to the bedroom. It wasn't all that bad in his opinion.
Whooves whistled while he worked, pushing the mop back and forth. The mud came up easily enough and the wood floor quickly regained its shine. But that's when he noticed the dust near the closet. That hadn't been tracked in. Oh well, he might as well clean it up while he had the mop in his hands.
Without a second thought, the old floor mop was powering away the spot.
Nivron never knew what hit it. A twisting pile of dripping cotton noodles bore down on them, easily plowing through structures and vehicles. With the smallest twitch of his wrist, Whooves obliterated what remained of the metropolis all while whistling a jolly tune.
A few minutes later, he was tracking his way back through the house, cleaning up the mess he had made in his carelessness. The only thing on his mind was the filling breakfast being prepared in the next room.