a year in stories::forty seven

Been a while since I posted a story and I still owe the world six more. I may try to pump those out this week. I’ve actually written closer to sixty stories this year, but I think I’m still going to be sending the others around for a while and hope they find a home in publishing land.

But maybe I’ll just post them here. Who’s to say!

Anyrate, this one was going to be for the Unstuck flash fiction contest, but I ended up choosing another.

The Word for World is Whale

I was born in the belly of the whale that is the world but I’ve lived forever watching your worlds fall apart one biting typhoon at a time. I remember the first time you died here while I watched.

A cathedral! A cathedral in the belly of this mountainous whale!

The way you screamed and cried, it’s no wonder my mother and father chopped you to pieces and threw you down below, not even willing to touch their lips to your body housing your decayed mind. It was the last thing you said, right before your head fell to the acid ocean we float over: I shall have my revenge, even if I must die a thousand times staring at this cathedral of flesh and bone!

I was only a child then and you were only a pirate then with dirty hands and foul tongue. You swashbuckled your way into the whale that is the world and only you survived, the rest of your crew gnashed to bits with the splinters of your wooden world. We smelt you people for weeks bubbling below.

I believe time works differently in the worlds you wander through because it was years before I met you again, your gaunt face bloodied and toothless this time. Still just a girl, I tugged on my braid as mother flayed you while you stared at the acid ocean. I know you didn’t know it then, but we all remembered you. We never believed you’d dare return but we knew you wandered those distant worlds beyond us. If I could go back then, I would’ve taken your hand and kissed your cheek, told you that revenge is not what you want out of eternity.

I imagine you would’ve only struck me, or spit at me. We’re both lucky that wasn’t the case, to be honest.

But you cursed us again, promised we’d meet our ends at your blade in another life.

In just a few short years you appeared again, this time not a filthy pirate but an ambassador of sorts. Clean and proper and shaved, doused with alien scents so caustic to us whalers. Prepared, you caught us off guard and nearly skewered mother before father impaled you from anus to lips. I believe he did it to keep you from voicing your horrible promise, but you screamed it out before your mouth filled with wooden spike.

Over the course of my century life, I have seen you die a thousand times. It’s tiresome, really. Completely unnecessary and foolish on your part. You live over and over only to die in an alien world amongst the loneliest creatures in the multiverse.

It’s always only been me, mother, and father. I feel odd admitting it, but during my teenage years I dreamt of you often, your skin whole and clean, your eyes piercing and fiendish. I found you beautiful until the day mother succumbed to your blade.

That was the worst of your many Deaths, I believe. Father loved mother dearly and it was a slow and meticulous process watching your body dismembered but kept alive to watch yourself rot on skewers. If it weren’t for the burial rites of my mother, I might have even felt bad for you.

Do you remember? I always wondered that, if you remembered your many Deaths, or if it was the dying promises that sealed your fate to return always here to die again, alone, with only me to watch you, no one to mourn you.

While you died on those many skewers you talked until you could talk no more and Death took you. You spent too much time detailing your revenge, but between that you talked of your world and your life there. It sounded so beautiful and amazing. A world full of people expanding in all directions until you found yourself at the place you began your journey. A world not encased by the bones of the god that is the world, but one open and free and colorful above you. It sounded like a dream and I wouldn’t have believed you had you not been dying so gruesomely. You spoke of love and women and even men. The light in your eyes and the way it faded, I fell in love with you once more, and when no one was looking I sang to your severed ears and held onto your abandoned hands.

A hundred more versions of your Death and my infatuation till you murdered father like a savage and drank his blood. The rage took me and I relived the many Deaths I learnt from mother and father.

For the last eighty years I have murdered you in every conceivable way, but now you’re here again, bound and burning. Your spine shattered, your limbs splintered, I will eat you tonight for the first time, but this is also the last time I will kill you.

You see, I forgive you. I forgive you for dying so often and so unrelentingly for my entire life. You’ve given me quite a complex and I can’t imagine a life without your bloodied corpse in all my dreams. You’ve tortured me, with your stubbornness, your foolish and ill conceived revenges.

I’ll ungag you now so you can say whatever it is you have to say, but I hope you’ll not promise my Death and your revenge again. Otherwise this shall go on forever, and I have no intention of living for your Death. Now, before you speak, remember these three things:

Be kind. I forgive you. I even loved you once.

Go ahead. Speak.

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