This story available on Jun 20, 2020
Baba Yaga and
the Events at Tunguska
The important thing to remember about Baba Yaga is: don’t piss her off.– A talking toadstool, formerly known as Prince Ivan Romanoff.
In a long-ago time and place, Baba Yaga opened her front door. Her home, a glowering hut stood, for the moment in a forest clearing. Perched on massive chicken legs, it was several feet above the ground.
Stepping out on to the top step, she made sure that the door was not locked; after all, an open door increased the odds of returning to find some luckless wanderer trapped within. Finding a poor lost soul waiting within was always a delightful surprise, and a wonderful evening’s entertainment — not to mention breakfast and lunch for the following day.
The powerful old crone started down the steps just as the hut skittered sideways on its sturdy poultry legs. With a shriek, Baba Yaga stumbled and fell down the last two steps.
“Malicious, trickster!” she spat as she stood up, dusting herself off.
She aimed a kick at the nearest leg of her, occasionally, mobile home. Which, of course, only left her nursing a sore toe.
With a universally recognizable rude gesture at her unrepentant hut, Baba Yaga turned her back. She leaped into her mortar and, pushing rapidly with her pestle, climbed to her usual cruising altitude of three hundred twenty-eight feet (the highest altitude from which one can drop a small child, and still hear the splat). The ill-favored, worse tempered witch was heading for the wilds of Siberia. The least hospitable corner of that cold, empty land was home to her sister, the one named Baba Yaga. Not to be confused with her other sister, also named Baba Yaga.
Not one of the three Baba Yagas had ever heard of Klung the Merciless, Galaxy Conqueror, Scourge of the Cygnus Arm, Terror of the Magellanic Nebula. But, his was a name that struck fear from one end of the Milky Way galaxy to the other.
Well, that’s what it said on his business card, anyway.
For fifty-three years, Klung and his horde had left a swath of ruin, death, and unpaid bills across a substantial chunk of the galaxy. Their current attention was focused on a blue planet in the Orion Spur, Earth — our Earth.
Though bloodthirsty and vicious, Klung, nonetheless, ran a cautious horde. They never ravaged a planet without doing the appropriate research. That is why, finally, after many decades of study, he chose a spot along the Tunguska River, in the emptiness of Siberia. It was the perfect place to begin his (merciless, of course) conquest of Earth. His spot of choice just happened to be the home of Baba Yaga’s sister, Baba Yaga.
The very same morning that Baba Yaga set out on her visit to her sister’s Siberian home, Klung’s horde swooped down with much fire and noise. Taken completely unaware, Baba Yaga’s sister was unable to put up much of a fight. She mounted her broom, dodging and weaving, climbing and swooping, corkscrewing across the sky as she tried to defend her home and her person.
But, completely surprised by the ravening horde, she could not escape her doom. Baba Yaga (the sister) managed to smash two of Klung’s smaller ships together and incinerate the survivors as they fled the doomed vessels in lifeboats. Unfortunately, she was merely forestalling the inevitable. Just as she prepared to attack Klung’s flagship, she was struck by a fifty billion joule pulsed energy cannon, reducing her to a pile of cinders.
All of this was unknown to our Baba Yaga. She was still many minutes away from her sister’s house at the time. In fact, Baba Yaga arrived while the aliens were celebrating their ‘victory’ over the hapless witch. Considering that they had only destroyed a single crone, and had lost men and ships in the process, the victory was way too showy. There were fireworks, loud cheering, and an impromptu parade.
Baba Yaga arrived just as the parade began. The, always angry witch was neither a fan of hordes, nor celebrations, nor parades, nor aliens. Seeing an alien horde having a parade to celebrate the destruction of her sister drove her normally high level of rage into the stratosphere. With a malevolent wave of her hands, her ally, the powerful wizard Koshchey the Deathless, appeared. With a bow, he spoke,
“How may I be of service, my wily, wicked, witch?”
Baba Yaga, hating needless speech, merely nodded toward the spacecraft sitting beside her sister’s remains.
“I’ve certainly seen her looking better. It seems to me that if she’s not dead, she is surely doing an admirable imitation.”
Baba Yaga impatiently nodded again, Koshchey looked around.
“Ah, a celebration, complete with a parade. We do hate celebrations… and parades,” he said.
Baba Yaga nodded yet again, still more impatiently, urging Koshchey to look more closely.
“Oh, a horde, an alien horde. We hate hordes, and we hate alien hordes most of all. Well do I understand your anger. I am yours to command, my repulsive old friend,” said Koshchey.
Baba Yaga made a sign, and her remaining sister appeared. This Baba Yaga did not need any help at all to determine why she had been summoned. Her normal state of general hatred for everything waxed white-hot. She too, was not a fan of needless words, but her extremely vulgar gesticulations made her feelings clear enough.
Baba Yaga (ours) made another sign, her magical servants, the horsemen (Red, Black, and White), appeared. She pointed at the horde and finally spoke, a single word, “destroy.”
With practiced precision, all five bowed to her; then, the six of them faced the enemy. Immediately, a bright glob of seething energy appeared over Klung and company.
The invaders stopped their celebration, and with creditable speed, made preparations to defend themselves. They were too late. The ball of energy grew bigger and brighter, unbearably bright; there was an enormous explosion, obliterating the horde, and leveling thousands of acres of forest.
It is said that the Tunguska event was an enormously powerful explosion that occurred near the Tunguska River in Siberia on June 30, 1908. They say it was probably a meteor impact. Those that say it within Baba Yaga’s hearing, never say anything else.
*** END ***
Art’s a retired computer programmer. After forty years of writing in COBOL and Assembler, he decided to try writing in English — it's much harder than it looks. He lives in New York City with his wife/muse and regularly visiting grandkids. He’s had numerous flash and short fiction stories published. His first novella will be out in The Rabbit Hole Anthology this summer. Complaints or (the rare compliment) about the 5 minutes of your life wasted reading his story should go to email@example.com. You can follow him on twitter at @ARTLASKY
Interview available on Jun 21, 2020