The clock sounds.
But time has stopped here.
It ended when night fell over us all.
We thought that time had pressed on, but this was an illusion.
The spreading of blood across a full moon and darkening of a sun had fooled us into submission and somnolence.
This only begins the story, as is true of most endings. The night came down hard and cold, like ice, glaciers weighing down our hearts. And we knew then, war had arrived.
The scourge, a dark-formed demigod or demon, rose from the blood and bones of our relatives, our neighbors, ourselves. Its fangs gleamed, dripping with the essence of our spirit. Its claws stretched from great paws at the end of tree-trunk thick limbs. Of course, its eyes glowed red hot.
No wonder that we shrank into our own obsessions, bodily pleasures, mindless pursuits. Who could stare at such a creature and remain cognizant, awake, true? Our hair raised along our backs, our tails stuck straight up and out behind, we could only turn and bolt like scared cats facing a mad dog. And we did. We ignored the killing, the bombing, the artillery shelling—deaf to the cries of the dying, even to those of our own children, our siblings, our parents. We hid away.
The creature pressed on. It ate hungrily from our every fear, drank hatred from fresh-spilled blood, spat up fires of rage. We created smoke screens and stared at them, projecting fantasies of sex, romance, and heroism. We wove stories of tribes and nations and globalism and shredded them as sacrifices to the monster. We ate greedily from any plate we could find that promised to bind us to its release. Yet we had created the demon. And every time we turned away, it faced us, no matter which direction we fled. And we could not count the number of dead. The dead counted on us to remember them, to raise them up, to use them as weapons against each other. And we did not fail them in any respect—we fed the demon with vengeance.
So to you, whoever you are, who find these words chiseled into this stone hurtling through space—if you figure out these glyphs and come to understand these words, this asteroid comes toward you as one last cannon ball, shot into the dark void. The monster has shredded my legs, yet I chisel these few remaining words. Don’t give in to the demon. Don’t deny it, either. Face it down while you can. Throw it out of you and wrestle with it as you cross the great river of your own evolution. Tame it. Figure out how to harness its strength. Don’t give in to it. If you fail, it will only grow. It will devour everything. It will leave you with a rock, a piece of you so tiny that you can barely fit your words onto it. And you will find it devouring you and that rock, piece by piece, bit by bit, molecule by molecule, atom by atom. You will become it. And you will write words that pretend to decry it. And you will seem to offer a solution, a path to peace. And it will face you. It will throw you out and wrestle you. It will tame you. You will finish writing. You will hurl a rock into space. It will be its unholy seed.
Categories: Flash Fiction