Playing along…

…with D. Wallace Peach’s January Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt.

You come, too!

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2070 wasn’t much different from past decades, but it had indeed gotten a lot colder here in the District. Folks from the ’20s would be amazed at these changes, no doubt.

He, the 20th of their unique crew, had agreed to hang back and document the moment when the other 19 of the world’s last journalists arrived at the long-rumored White Landscape.

He hoped everyone had avoided wrist-selfies with the moon — there would be no recharging anything, here. Few ever used this old equipment, which one of them had insisted upon bringing for its alleged durability, because really, who could resist? It wasn’t every day that.. oh damn, his own archaic battery was falling victim to the temps.

It was almost good enough to just have a break from the heavy camera they’d each lugged out so as to provide confirmation across the board, this cumbersome throwback to what once was used to capture moments in time.

The enormity of what he was seeing finally broke into his wandering thoughts. It was true! Not a rumor. Not fake news, no, though there hadn’t been any of that for a long time. Here it was in black and white! Surely, none would argue with THIS!

The archived accounts had all agreed: The giant hadn’t been able to make any charges stick, so he’d taken it upon himself all those years ago to hold down the dragon. The strange one had indeed had many chances to leave and return to New York, but in its total narcissistic state was as immovable as its nemesis.

Hence, the Special Counsel was frozen here, too — by sheer will.

Bless you, sir!”

He hoped the Nineteen would make it back to this base camp in the two allotted days, though none of their post-Internet bodies were up to much walking. He was anxious to show them what they couldn’t see as well as he had, and to see what they may have captured on the inside — if anything.

He wished more than ever that National Geographic still existed; the few folks living back in town had grown too weary to care about proof, although oddly, their suspicion of the wrong entities had never been more ripe.

“Photoshopped!” they’d likely scoff — as if that were still a thing!


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Joy.. in the morning

It was a devastating find for them both, but especially when together.

It would’ve been a fine little bird, but now — hairless and eyes unopened — it was a quivering mass on the mid-morning-hot cement. They stared down at it, willing it, but only hope would fly away from here today.

“Should we step on it — put it out of its misery?”

She wondered why anyone thinks that a solution instead of just more cosmic violence against a helpless thing! Besides, neither one of them could’ve lived with that action. She thought him marvelously brave for offering, and marvelously glad she’d said “No.” He was all-over marvelous.

She sat down cross-legged beside the poor thing. After the last time, when they hid nearby for a whole hour, they knew the mama-bird would never come for it. They didn’t even look up. It would be better just to stay with it, shade it, die a bit with it — though it would’ve shocked them to realize it in that way.

“Help me lift it onto my lap?” He gingerly lifted it up and put it in her waiting cupped hands. He sat down beside her without taking his eyes from the bird. How large the eyes! How tiny the wings! He stroked its head with one finger.

She needed a sound that would comfort, because for sure, human voices wouldn’t. She thought of her grandmother humming hymns to rowdy kittens who did not wish to be rocked to sleep, but who caved in so beautifully to it. Grandmother hummed in French Canadian, though, so she’d have to pick something else..

They rocked a bit as she hummed.

Two old ladies passed by. When they heard the tune and saw its odd little reason, they kept their comments to a quiet, sincere, “Aw..” Thankfully. Thankfully, most old ladies are like that. They know.

The little being had found its sleep long before all the verses of “Kumbaya” were finished, but neither of the two had noticed. They were thinking of endless fields and cotton and quiet sunsets. Too quiet.

“Here, you hold him while I get up.” She let him carry the burden until they got to the nearest tree. She waited. He placed the bird at the foot of the tree. She covered it over with leaves and acorns and some pulled grass. So did he.

Neither one of them could ever bury a thing.. nope, never.

They looked at one another, held hands for a moment. There was no way to salvage this day.

“See you tomorrow?”

“Yes,” he said, “I’ll be by first thing.”

“Alright.” She knew he’d find a different shortcut for them by then. They would never pass through this graveyard again.


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Becalmed

He’d finally drifted along an edge of her own eddy, singing My Sweet Lord without accompaniment.

“Not bad!” She had popped up and folded her arms on the side of his boat. He jumped a mile.

“Where did you come from?” he gasped, looking around for any other craft.

“I’ve always been here. Where did you come from? Besides, you were thinking of me, and, voila!”

“Well, I might’ve been thinking of a younger you..”

She laughed, somehow like an incoming wave.

He blinked. “Why are you bothering me?”

“You’re lost, aren’t you? The shore is thataway.”

His eyes looked to where she pointed. “Something’s wrong, here.. Aren’t you the one who’s supposed to be singing?”

She broke into a rousing version of a rowing song, shouts interspersed throughout. “I like your song better,” she said.

“So do I. And, no, I’m not lost. I came out here to think. The shore is not where you pointed.. mermaids really DO lie!”

She laughed again and rocked his boat. “Feel like a swim, do you? I’ve not seen any fins for hours, now..” She had no heart to dispel the mermaid hope. It would make a fine if odd tale back at the pub some warm night.

She rested her chin on her hands and gazed at him, smiling. He decided he was hallucinating and ignored her. Or tried.

She lowered herself noiselessly back down. She could hear him moving around to look for her. She stretched out her arms as if to embrace the boat and laid her head against it.

He’d be back. She’d startle him again — or so he’d pretend. Perhaps he’d bring another song. She looked forward to it.

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Sunfish noises

She laid there in the semi-darkness (which she supposed others might call semi-lightness) and thought about it all, now. She listened to the voices on the other side of the door. Little one, big one. Couldn’t make out what they were saying, but it had all been said and done 5 million times anyway, hadn’t it?

Life had been full of voices. It’s why she liked fishing, she supposed, and being completely underwater. Fishinfolk did not arrive at the water with bait in order to converse. That all but faux connection did not break through the sacred salted air.  Their eyes spoke, their pointing, their smiles, their laboring to haul in a real catch, their nch of disgust when they caught up on the seaweed, about to lose all tackle, or the sigh to have hauled in a freeloading crab who somehow knew he’d be thrown back.

Overall, hers had been a pretty good life, but could she say that of others’ whose lives were supposed to be blessed by hers, even today? Many of them did, but could she say so?

There would be no blessing of others via any action that she knew of, today. She was tired. She hadn’t thought about blessing anyone for a long time.

However, they’d just come back from a store — one of them had received gift money simply because, and had gone out shopping. Indeed, one of them would want to show her the purchases, to double the joy of plentitude. There would be at least one new children’s outfit in those bags, and coloring books, and new, papered, unbroken crayons for starting over, starting over, starting over..

She hauled herself off the bed like a big, caught sunfish, removed the deadly hook, and went out to ooh and ahh right away, not later.


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A short tale of the antichrist (Solovyov)

I don’t know why anyone would adhere to the idea that the antichrist is one person. 1 John 2:18 says, “Children … even now, many antichrists have come.”

The antichrist is, I think, far more like the grown spirit or attitude of a Godless people still calling out for Barabbas in place of God — and getting him. And .. then what? I mean, besides the crucifying of the innocent — on a Cross, in a womb, and, of course, beyond.

Here’s a thinking (and mystical) man’s fictional take on the antichrist and its aftermath, published in 1900. Much of it is great food for thought, and you may be as surprised as I was by its overall contemporariness.