Inktober 1. I brought out the coloured inks and went to town. Inspired by photographs of ammonite fossils, some of which show beautiful subtle colours in the shells. (This is obviously pretty over-the-top in terms of colouring)
Ammonites were sea creatures which existed 240 to 65 million years ago. They belong to a group of predators known as Cephalopods, whose current living members include the octopus, squid, cuttlefish and the nautilus.
Ammonites survived three catastrophic events before becoming extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period.
They probably lived in shallow pools, and lived roughly two years. They presumably stalked and hunted their prey -molluscs, fish and other Cephalopods, then rapidly extended their tentacles to grab them and devoured them!
Salim Slow-Loris is a quick thinker among his people. He thinks fast, but takes action very slowly. He claims this allows him to consider many outcomes of his actions and act according to the best possible outcome. His critics claim it merely saves him embarrassment by avoiding confrontation, and letting him gauge what other Slow-Lorises think on any issue.
As a clan-leader, Salim is slowly losing popularity as a result of his apparent ‘diplomacy’, but he doesn’t let it bother him to much. In this age of instant uploads and the immediacy of social-media-sharing, he is happy to take his time, ruminate and make decisions. Salim is much younger than most Lorises in his clan, and was initially criticized by older Lorises for his age and assumed hot-bloodedness. Now the older Lorises have joined with the younger ones in criticizing Salim stolid slow ways.
He may not remain clan-leader much longer… elections are coming up soon. Salim is however quite stoic about it. He says remaining in power would have been proof of his being unfit for the job. Salim has a small group of friends who meet regularly to debate and discuss world issues. They don’t agree on much, but they try to respect each other’s opinions and listen to opposing views.
Bertie ‘Bruce’, Baswati, Badiha, Belinda and Bina ‘Bismark’ Bats (from top to bottom)
Belinda Bat, leads her Bittens through the night. Halloween is always a bad time to be a bat… humans mock bat-kind with likenesses of rubber, steel, paper and all sorts of mediums… and screech when they encounter a true bat.
Belinda’s Bittens are at that self-assertive stage where they are trying to claim their own identities. Bertie and Bina are claiming their own names – Bruce and Bismark respectively – and refusing to answer to the names Belinda gave them. It was hard at first, but Belinda is learning to respect their choice of names and not see it as a rejection of her but as an assertion of themselves and their right to create their own identities. Bruce Bitten and Bismark Bitten are slowly learning to take themselves less seriously, as well, as their mother learns to respect their choice of identities.
Badiha and Baswati have taken to sneaking off in the day-time with other young Bittens, challenging millenia-old Bat-norms. It is hard because of their hearing and sight, but they’ve found places which are dark even in the day-time, and are learning to negotiate these spaces. If questioned, the Bittens are hard pressed to answer why this change in habits is important to them… but they seem to be driven by something deep within them.
Seema Sloth, watches over her baby sister, Salma so her mother, Selina can have a session with her therapist, Salim.
Seema loves baby-sitting, and helps her mother out often. Selina needs to visit Salim very often, as she sometimes sees things which no one else can and they frighten her. With Salim and Seema’s help, Selina is able to look after her baby, Salma, despite these frightening things she sees.
Mal and Morena Mushroom have perfected the art of flirting. Morena is pansexual and Mal (Malini/Mallard) is gender-queer. They have been in a long-term relationship for several years and still continue to enjoy their emotionally and sexually charged flirting.
Together they hold workshops for young mushrooms seeking to flirt with finesse. Morena uses her frill and supple stalk to advantage and Mal offsets hir stolidity to Morena’s more flexible charms.
Delilah Dandelion and Salome Snail, are discussing the weather. Delilah is extremely good at predicting wind direction. And Salome is exquisitely sensitive to temperature. She senses it through her slime.
Delilah and Salome have a plan to reclaim their part of the garden from the dead-wood structure the humans keep making the dog sleep in. The dog doesn’t like it there, and whines incessantly. And Salome and Delilah miss their comfy corner of the garden.
Delilah wafts dandelion seeds when the wind is right, towards the dog-house. Salome oozes her way there and makes sure the seeds don’t scatter too far. Through their efforts, the dead-wood dog-house has slowly become overgrown with dandelion plants, which make the dog sneeze… so he spends very little time there. Slowly, their corner of the garden is becoming more like the familiar corner they knew before the humans cleared it and built the dead-wood dog-house there.
Oliver and Wahida have been friends all their lives. Ever since Oliver got lost and floundered into the walrus colony carried by the north wind, with his pin-feathers all messed up, and Wahida calmed her fellow walruses so they didn’t stampede and smush Oliver, the two have been close. Oliver lives far away and in a warmer land, but flies north once or twice a year to visit his favorite walrus.
Wahida is the uncontested matriarch of her herd, and uses several egg-men loyal to her (she has beat them in combat several times, thanks in part to her size – she’s strangely much larger than the male walruses in her herd – and enormous tusks, one of which is slightly bent) to assert her somewhat feudal authority over the herd.
She and Oliver have a perpetual disagreement about effective and just forms of government. Oliver is a strong advocate of democracy and deeply critical of a rule established through force as he insists that power seized this way does not have the moral authority to make decisions for the group… though he is a little embarrassed by the kind of leadership a majority can usher in.
Wahida is particularly vehement about resisting the demands of the majority when they are unfair to vulnerable members of the herd, like her brother Wasim, who lost a fin in the Orca attack which killed their father. Wasim and many others like him would not have survived if Wahida’s egg men hadn’t enforced her decision about the herd waiting for him while his wound healed and collected ‘taxes’ – a small portion of each herd-member’s catch used to supplement what Wasim and others like him were able to catch for themselves. The idea of ‘taxes’ was something Wahids borrowed from Oliver’s accounts of the Owl-democracy.
Wahida and Oliver meet regularly and discuss their respective systems in a bid to try to make them better.
Dakshayini Dragonfly is a very brave decoy water-dancer. She lives with a large group of female dragonflies, in their dry meadows, adjacent to a swampy wetland. Dragonflies from her group rarely venture to the adjacent territory which is occupied by a largely male dragonfly swarm, as they risk harassment in doing so. They only visit the wetlands when they feel like mating.
Dakshayini’s job as the lead decoy water-dancer, is to skim the surface of the water, like a dragonfly about to lay her fertilized eggs, and thus distract the majority of the male dragonflies drawing them to the water, so her friends can find their way to the male dragonflies of their choosing, unaccosted by random male dragonflies.
Dakshayini works with a team of eight other dragonflies, at their dangerous and tiring job. They are all exceptionally fast fliers, who train tirelessly everyday to improve their agility. Dakshayini is known to be the best at executing quick turns, at the last minute, just before a following male clasps hold of her. She trains young aspiring decoy water-dancers in her techniques twice a week.
This bit of fiction is based off wikipedia’s section on Dragonfly sex ratio:
“The sex ratio of male to female dragonflies varies both temporally and spatially. Adult dragonflies have a high male-biased ratio at breeding habitats. The male-bias ratio has contributed partially to the females using different habitats to avoid male harassment. As seen in Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana), male populations use wetland habitats, while females use dry meadows and marginal breeding habitats, only migrating to the wetlands to lay their eggs or to find mating partners. Unwanted mating is energetically costly for females because it affects the amount of time that they are able to spend foraging.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonfly