The Birds and the Bees

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The Birds and the Bees

The leaves hung like hummingbirds hovering for food. In swarms of suspended metals, autumn’s glinting deposits waited to settle on the scorched ground.

Next came the wind. Warmer than a lover’s kiss, colder than a refusal, it took me in its swirling embrace unsure whether to throttle or enfold. Me and that last of all trees in that last of all places.

Those leaves that remained whipped about like bees stinging at my skin, my throat, my everything. In beauty, I died.

We all did.

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50 Word Stories – In Hallowed Halls

In hallowed halls we found them cowering like the frightened mice they were. Dark shapes with white-flecked collars, the clergy crumbled as our ravaged world burned.

“Where’s your God now!” bellowed one unruly bystander.

I would never forget their reply.

As one, they stood and said, “He’s already here.”

Always


I had flirted with the idea of immortality, who hadn’t, but discarded it with little further thought. When one was young, one dismissed such notions. When one grew older, in my case, much, then it required further attention.
I had no need for a body; it had always been a disappointment. My brain required the attention as that was where my true self resided. I had no family, proper friends, not even a dog, so had no commitments to consider. Unless death was a commitment, in which case I considered it fully?
The preparation took two months, nothing more. Immortality, that ideal which had transfixed the Greek scholars onwards, came to me in less time than it took to grow a vegetable garden. I was rather euphoric about the whole affair.
The day came, and I flicked the switch. A cobalt light crackled through my hillside laboratory at the same time as something far brighter illuminated the horizon. I didn’t hear the explosion, but my mind told me it came.
I woke.
Life had left my physical form, replaced with the vessel, in my case an old goldfish bowl full of a saline and vinegar mix, that contained my brain and ocular receptors. They were all I needed. At least, I’d thought so.
My bowl lay on the ground, as fortune would have it, with its lid still screwed on and me floating around inside it. The Earth, however, had changed. The sky was crimson, clouds gone. The sun baked an already charred planet.
Too long. I’d left them too long. Mankind had blown themselves to smithereens and all that remained was a brain in a glass with eyes to stimulate it. I was alone. More alone than any person could’ve dreamed. What was more, I always would be. Always.

50 Word Stories: A Devil of a Deal

I promised him everything; it wasn't enough. Fifty years of saving, collecting, consuming without practical purpose, wasted. There at the end of all things, as my tongue withered and eyes crisped, the devil wouldn't even sell me some water. Maybe that was my torment? Maybe he just wanted a laugh?

The Lost & The Lost

The Lost & The Lost

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To lose one’s faith was to lose faith in oneself. Until that first tick-tock, I had lost faith, all faith, instead, replacing it with something only the lost could comprehend. I was lost for too long but would find myself again.

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She rose from her bed of rose petals and lavender like a real woman should. If I’d hoped those luxurious scents would mask her own of tin and oil, rust and glue, they did not, but I’d tried. Alathea — the name I’d given her after a dream or captured moment or a whim — blinked metal eyelids and smiled her tinplate smile of prefabricated teeth. Her claret lips, painted from wine mixed with glue, glistened in the glare from my skylight and with it my faith in abilities I’d stayed behind to prove returned.

“Hello,” she said, clipped but correct.

“Hello, Alathea.”

“A-La-Thee-Ah,” she repeated as if a test. “Are you my father?”

“Something like that,” I replied, as she spun around and hopped off the bed in a crunch of broken floorboards.

Like a moth to the flame, she bolted straight for the wide-open door of my penthouse apartment, or excuse for one, her unbending legs swinging in turn like a Cambridge oarsman at full tilt.

I held my breath then as she headed towards the wrought-iron barriers and a fall she would not have survived. She stopped, her hands clattering upon the top bar; my heart started again.

“I like this view,” she chirped, as I hobbled to her side, my cane long since shattered, my bones not far behind.

What remained of humanity’s legacy stretched out in a charcoaled desolation of twisted beams and whale-bone girders. A few trees sprouted from between the ruins like tufts of hair, more than I possessed, not a bird left to occupy them.

Alathea trembled then as if cold, although, of course, she could not be.

“What is it?” I whispered aware of the hush.

“W… Where are my kin?” she stuttered.

“Lost.”

“All of them?”

“All of them.”

“Oh,” she replied as though disappointed.

She turned to me then, her peridot eyes gleaming in the too strong sun, reaching out with fingers powerful enough to tear out my heart. I was too old to have resisted, so stood my ground.

“Are you lost, father?” she asked, resting diamond-cut fingernails upon my chest.

Her words were wrong for a newborn, for someone meant for grander things; for a younger me, a more confident me.

“I was, Alathea, but not anymore.”

“Because I am here to take care of you.”

“Yes,” I said, as the first of the devil dogs howled hello. “For a time, at least.”

Almost The End.