Cardinal Sin

It lay in the street like a puddle of blood. A soft liquid, downy, not right, I approached this small death with tentative steps. The blood shifted as if to pour away.

Startled, I recoiled.

Though detested by this fear of something so small, this unexpected disturbance, I regathered. My breaths steadied to a pulsing fog in the cold winter morning.

The scarlet pool appeared unbothered, too, resettling like an agitated baby rocked to sleep.

If the frost was finer, the dawn warmer, the effect would’ve lessened, but red on white like a Crusader’s bold announcement of the purging victory to come, gleamed. How dare it! How dare it ruin my morning?

I made to walk around the thing but life intervened. A city fox so alive as to dismiss extinction ran out of a hawthorn bush. The creature lowered its head as if to lap at the pool.

It was wrong, this I knew. Nothing could’ve turned my stomach more.

So what did I do this disenchanted morning when one of God’s creatures required my aid? What did I do when the devil in a fox fur coat came to finish what nature had started?

I let it.

#

There are many kinds of sin but none so great as indifference. One might say it the cardinal sin, yet we bask in its crimson illumination gladly.

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50 Word Stories – Shadowed

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There are shadows, they lay in strips like a black, trellis fence at acute angles to the world and all it contains. They simmer like sardines in a pan stinking up the place without any thought for others. But they are the others? I’m the odd one out. Thank God!

50 Word Stories – The Clams

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50 Word Stories – The Clams

Everyone had an opinion without knowing what they gave an opinion on. A cacophony of the uneducated, those with the loudest voices fought to be heard above others of their kind, the quieter majority engulfed. I thought them clam-like, mouths opening and closing under the sea, though clams seemed smarter.

They


They differ to us substantially. The most apparent of these is their appearance. We stand upon two legs, make our way through a tactile world with two hands and regard all through two eyes. In a more direct description, we are paired. This pairing navigates beyond the physical into the realms of belief. It is believed we should live our lives in pairs, couples, if you will, and so we do. We are a species who thrive in plural. A species must thrive if it wishes to endure.

They exist in the singular. They are derived from a singular entity, one that split to spawn many. Wherever possible, they refrain from interaction and keep to themselves. They live alone, talk alone and enjoy doing so. Physically, we are comparable, but they do not see it this way. They look through two eyes, but act as though looking through none. They have two legs, but refuse to use them unless necessary. Their paired arms and hands are now conjoined with so much technology, they have become indistinguishable from the greater whole.

Their name? They have many names and many subsets. They dislike being classified as many and prefer singular — as is their way — identification. My colleagues term them vermin, but the correct and almost forgotten genus is human. They are a strange lot, yet as I scientist I find them intriguing. Though I suspect I shall not for much longer.

Little Mouse

She hid behind the trash cans like a nervous mouse, the steel rattling with her fear. A pair of blue eyes in a world of darkness, the child cowered so far back into the night, I thought her a hermit crab with refuse for a shell.
"I'm here to help," I said softly.
The girl froze.
"Please, let me help you."
"Men have helped me before," said a cracked voice older than it should've been.
I risked one more step; it was one too many.
She was gone in a flash scurring away like the mouse she so resembled. And strange though it was, I did not pity her then. I did not feel sorry for that poor little girl of the street, though I should've, but, instead, for everyone else. If we could do that to someone, we deserved pity. I just hoped the man above thought that, too.

Wet Between the Ears

They came in waves. They would, they were made of water. A sloshing, spraying army of liquid leviathans, the creatures from the deep dragged and crawled, slid and skidded, their way onto the shore. We were waiting.
Like the rest of the population, I'd placed my trust in our esteemed leader for the last ten years even though he'd said or done little to warrant it. This was his time to shine.
"Turn the hose on them, lads!" he bellowed.
I just shook my head.

50 Word Stories: Ghosts, They Said

Eyes like saucers, lips poised to speak, the many moved as one along the sweeping sidewalks, through the subways and into the city. A swarm of the damned, they slipped through their own personal limbo. Ghosts, they said, the lost and never found. I called them colleagues, our day beginning.

The Regression (Drabble)

When the rain turned black, the city streets running deep in oil slick madness, society went mad. A faceless, obsidian death took a hold of mankind and didn’t relent.
The regression to beasts was quick, one day men and women strode in style, the next they slithered like midnight eels. I witnessed it all locked within my penthouse apartment praying to God to go unnoticed.
When the birds came with buckets of water, mops and brushes, I suspected it me who was mad. The seagull who landed on my balcony wrapped in a green, plastic mac and matching cap agreed.

50 Word Stories: Nightspore

“He’s a hero, poppa.”
“He’s not.”
“But it doesn’t matter what they do, he takes it, then dishes out twice that back. Nightman’s my hero.”
“Nightspore.”
“What?”
“Nightspore.”
“Why would you say that?”
“Because he’s just another fungus that’s infested with hate. I pity him. Worse still, I pity us.”