a year in stories::eight

I bet you thought I forgot! But I didn’t I’ve missed many weeks of stories due to personal matters and AWP and such things, but, over the next however many weeks, I intend to get back on track, writing two or three stories until I’m caught up to where I should be.

Anyrate, I wrote a new story today. It’s sort of bizarre. Strangest thing I’ve written, probably. Hopefully it reads well.

we built a city and called it light

They stared at the stars and the stars said no and withered into the blackness of space and then they took the gasoline and emptied on each sister’s head as they stood in a circle and then out with the matches but first they got on their knees, their hands, expelled the newborns outside the circle and then with matches lit they set to blaze.

The creatures new stand for the first time while mother’s burn. The creatures new’s heads, all ears and mouth without eyes, and they waddle away from the stink of burning flesh, of burning mothers, and they call in monosyllabic tongue sounds and when they hear their brothers, their sisters, all naked and new and alone walking too soon, they crowd together in a world without light but for the dying flame of their mothers.

The sky dies above and the darkness spreads through the blue first as thin fingers and then as a billion locusts eating it in swarms absolute as the children, these creatures new, return to their mothers with wailing empty stomachs and when the smell of burnt flesh turns from sour to sweet by hunger the children grow teeth and take the flesh of their mothers bite after bite until bones and gristle remain.

The children sit swollen in the circle surrounded by the bones of the dead. Sisters and brothers moan and rub one another, their skin electric with sensation, with touch, and they press their ears to each other’s chests and listen to the hearts beat out of time and they curl into one another and listen to the blood flow, the lungs expand and blow and crowding together and writhing to keep warm they sleep amniotic in this new world given to them without pasts or skies or light.

With sky dead, space descends upon them and blackness is all and all is blackness: blankness.

All that remains is Time. No days or nights or hours or lights, only Time. And as Time grows round the children the children explore, disassembling the crude womb they created and they come to a tree made of stitched together flesh. Skin and bone stitched morbidly together taken from bodies and made into this sculpture, this tree to watch over the children who cannot see but they smell and they smell their mother’s on the tree. Climbing, crowding, they converge on the tree and remain with it as Time yawns and space cradles them.

Bone against bone, language forms. First a tinkering and then a song and then direction and movement arrive as they sit round the fleshtree and beat rhythm into the nothingness. Full of the sound, they dress in the bones and tap to indicate, clank to reject. Language begins with bone and develops with slapping and snaps and claps, a syntax of meat punctuated by bone.

Now with language their foraging eases and they crawl amongst that which crawls and eat that which can be eaten and often brother turns on brother turns on sister and the flesh in the teeth reminds them of mothers never known but through taste.

Round the fleshtree they speak and sing with flesh and bone and when sisters meet brothers in dance they fall as one flesh and rise as two, one swollen with creatures new and when sisters make sons and daughters they come out eyeless and noseless with larger mouths and wider ears. Running from the womb, they join in the song that is language and the dance that is life round the fleshtree that is god.

Time no longer expands but contracts and shrinks round them as their numbers dwindle from crimes of hunger sitting round the fleshtree playing their bones and slapping its skin until its rot fills it with grubs and beetles and maggots. Sagging and swollen, it bursts and the children wail with monstrous cries, with voices unused, decayed over time, then gorging on insects, on the bloodrotted mass of their totem.

When the chaos of loss fades there are only but a few of the creatures new remaining still wailing with broken limbs and splintered lives and as they die they remember the taste of their mothers and wonder whence they came and for what purpose but they think it in flesh and bone and rot.

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