Thursday, April 23, 2015
Flash fiction challenge
Chuck Wendig's challenge was to take one of the 'starting sentences' from the last round
and write a story: I picked Sam Hedenburg's excellent sentence here:
April 15, 2015 at 10:04 AM // Reply I grew up in the kingdom of the cul de sac.
Gossip on the No Through Road.
I grew up in the kingdom of the cul de sac, where the great ones came only by mistake, to turn – blotting out the stars with their bulk – and run roaring away back to the roads that had endings, to the thoroughfares that possessed destinations. The luck ones who didn’t fall.
Born in such a place, I inherited the absence of endings and the negation of destiny. Nothing would ever happen to me, nor would I ever cease. That was a million of your planet’s years ago. I gather you call the cul de sac, the black hole of Cygnus. I live ‘here’ in the fold of space-time just the universeward side of the event horizon, from the stretched energies given off by what falls past it. I hold my place by moving these limbs (they're not inside your space-time, sorry, you'll have to take my word for their existance) against the brane – there is an analogy from your world - I am a water-skater poised by an eddy. If I hold still, food comes past, if I let go I sweep to my doom. It is a long life by your star-light, it is a short one as time passes here, where time barely passes. It is only briefly illuminated by discourse.
So, not long now, let’s talk. Your ship is tearing itself apart in the gravity tides of spagettification, only the fact that space itself is bending now on scales that size to your biology, permit you to survive in your space-suit. That’s my doing by the way – its not a co-incidence – if I didn’t do it, you’d whirl past me head and feet and hair and toe-nails in different orbits, and you’d tear too quickly, even where time runs slow. I do this not out of some altruistic urge, I can’t stop your fall, but I’m curious about the roads that end elsewhere, and about what brings things like you to end here, and if I don’t ask now, well from one stand point, for a whole eternity, I never will.
You have vital things to do, and weep for their unfinishedness? I have nothing to do and nothing that I could ever finish. I hold and I eat and that’s all. It’s a wonder my kind ever evolved intelligence, or formulated language. Ah, yes that. We didn’t you see. I’m sorry, they’re what we eat. I'm doing that now. I know its impolite, for you – to play with your food – I’m hoping though, you won’t mind talking with your predator. What do you have planned, otherwise? Whatever it was, it’s too late. You could try prayer, I’m unsure if it can leave the gravity well – but if your Gods are also here – perhaps they’ll listen. I could pretend to be a god if it helps, but I have decided you would think that unethical (ethics - what an astonishing set of ideas, lots for me to mull over there!) But I have listened to several intelligences cry out as they fell, and no gods ever came (so far) – also, no God has ever come to rescue me (I tried prayer after I learned of Gods and Prayer). This is a cul de sac where the even the great gods would come only by mistake, to turn – blotting out the stars with their bulk – and run roaring away back to the myths that had endings, to the hagographies that possessed destinations. Here we can only speak, listen, eat, be eaten, fall, hold, live, die. I'm sorry. You have fed me the idea of apologies.