knowledge

It was a master class in corporate double speak where the only contradiction was hidden in the words left unsaid.  Questions were asked and answered, often at length in a meandering yet captivating tone, that left the asker satisfied but not better informed.  Only a truly charismatic individual can command a room of intellectuals to that extent.  Or perhaps the audience was not as smart as previously believed.  It was likely a combination of both…

When enough time had passed, he finished speaking and announced lunch was ready, with a joke and a smile, and all sins were forgotten as we gorged ourselves on a buffet of multi-cultural delights, though none were Turkish.  Not all sins were actually forgotten though as the contradictions of the hour festered beneath the surface.  We weren’t as stupid as we let on.  We just knew that nodding and smiling were our part of the charade, the corporate game.

You flew across the country, all the way from New York City, to say hello.  You flew across the country to tell us that our recent transition, reduction in force, layoffs, firings, were hard, yes, but they have come to end and we have been right sized so there is nothing to fear.  Yet there you sat, on the wrong coast, surveying the carnage and calculating the next ten moves that need to be made because the problems that existed before still run rampant and everyone knows that chopping and shuffling are the fastest way to get results.  So, claim all is well if you will but we know better.

lesson learned

The moon swung along the horizon, pushed by tide or breeze, I could not see.
It rocked and swayed like a cradle.  All that was missing was baby and melody.
It glowed.  Oh, how it glowed.  A candle.  The heaven’s soft fire.
I sought to pluck it down, hold it for my own, and ever admire,
But it eluded my grasp time and time again.
It had no desire to be in any way my friend,
Which later, still gazing upon it, I could not decry nor regret.
It knew.  Oh, it must have known.  Friends aren’t won by nets.
For it shone down, smiling brilliance and hope, despite my attempts and failures.
Though it had the right, it never once judged me, this stage, or the other players.

Lesson learned, I went my way, to act my part in this game of games,
And found some friends without the use of clasping hands or frames,
Though my eyes peaked towards the moon whenever it gently swung,
To share a knowing wink about a lonely red heart’s story going unsung.
Life bounded on with days leaping to years in a blur of giggles and tears.
Supported by my loved ones, I shared in equal parts of fears and cheers.
Death came calling in trembles and pain, but so did life in squalling joy.
The moon watched with its knowing smile while we built-up to destroy.

Feel free to share your secrets, your goals, your plans and all else with the moon,
Whenever you see it swinging on the edge of the world and singing its silent tune.
It may not answer or acknowledge your fall, but it watches all.
It may hold you in thrall even as it makes you feel very small.
The moon teaches lessons at great lengths,
And its smiling light will give you strength.

weakness?

“I’m winding down and my time is thinning out, even as it swirls maddeningly faster around me.  My seconds no longer tick and tock with measured frequency,” the wizard grinned dangerously, magic dancing in his eyes, “but don’t mistake that for weakness.”

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Word Count: 42

Micro (fantasy) fiction written for this week’s Gargleblaster, but I may just have to revisit this one later on.  I need to know more about this elderly wizard, who he is talking to, and what he does next.

But, in the mean time, how would you answer the current prompt?

Have all your clocks stopped?

we should have

The cleaning crew found the skeleton sitting at an antique desk, the skull leaning across his left arm and a pen still firmly grasped in his right.  The parchment the deceased had been writing on had yellowed with time and the words had faded away.  They called the disposal unit and asked for the whole mess to be transported back to their lab for further examination.  The skeleton and surrounding area of the room had survived relatively unscathed compared to most of the ruins they had scrubbed so far.

Once the remains were safely moved to their lab the disposal unit notified them and they abandoned their remaining cleaning pursuits for the day to run tests on the anomaly.  How had he survived so much longer than the rest of his people?  Why were his remains still discernible while the rest of his race had been turned to dust?  Those questions were just the beginning of the information they hoped to glean as they strapped into their shuttle, blasted away from the scorched surface of the dead planet, and returned to the master ship.

After hours of careful examination they determined that the human had died of exsanguination.  They were disheartened by this discovery, for a time, because they had hoped to find some trace of the deceased’s blood to test for toxin and radiation levels to help them ascertain why he had lived while the rest had died.  However, they then noticed that the human had cleverly created a way to use his blood to refill his pen.  He wrote himself to death.

They found it curious that someone would willingly choose to expire in such a manner, but they could not judge him because they weren’t aware of the circumstances surrounding his decision.  Plus, they were elated to know that all the blood they would need, and then some, was there for the taking in the pages he had written.  It just needed to be extracted.

For documentation purposes, following proper protocol, they did a full scan of the parchment and preserved the man’s final words, his story of death, before starting the process to remove the blood from the page.  Eventually they were forced to admit that the tests were inconclusive and they could not ascertain why that one human had been able to survive the event that had decimated the rest of the planet.  There was nothing in his blood to indicate he had received a smaller dose of radiation or that he had built of antibodies to fight the toxins that had poisoned everything else.  There was no evidence that he was different in any way from the rest of the specimens they had collected and analyzed.

Being a species of logic, they could make the jump to the idea that he might have had a strong enough will to push on through the pain and disease longer than the rest of his kind, but they wouldn’t say that with certainty because there was no way to prove it.  In their published report of their findings they glossed over all speculation, included the data they were certain of, and also included a copy of the human’s writings.  They understood their was a warning in his words, and while they would never need to heed such advice, they found it fascinating all the same.

Here, in its entirety, are the man’s last words, preserved so that those who need to heed the lesson within have the opportunity to do so:

I’ve seen the damage assessments coming in, and so I know our history will be lost.  We were here for such a short time, compared to the stars we studied, I’m sure there are worlds out there who wouldn’t even consider what we had here as a history at all.  We were the brief flash of a dying spark in a universe full of steady and intense infernos.

But, to us, it still felt like we had at least the start of a full and meaningful existence on the planet we called Earth.  We had grown so much as a species.  We had learned and developed and studied and conquered and created.  We created so many beautiful things.  We also created many ugly things that proved our undoing…

Who sent the first rockets speeding into the atmosphere to deliver their nuclear payload doesn’t matter anymore.  The result is around me now, and around you if this letter somehow survives.  We vaporized ourselves over petty squabbles and misunderstandings.  We killed ourselves and our planet because in our pride we had grown ignorant over the generations.  Our excess made us greedy.  Our inventions made us lazy.  We forgot how to think for ourselves.  Most importantly, we forgot how to question the status quo and to continue searching for new knowledge.

My time is running short now.  I’ve written too much to survive.

Challenge yourself.  Never stop seeking knowledge.  Find new worlds.  Explore.  Adventure.  Hurt.  Heal.  Question everything.

We should have…

I ain’t afraid of no…

Bumps in the night.  Footsteps when nobody else is home.  A book flung from a shelf to open on the same page over and over.  Cold.  Shivers.

I ain’t afraid of no ghost?

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Word Count: 33

Hooray for Friday.  Hooray for silliness and scariness.  Hooray for Trifextra:

“On now to our quick little Trifextra prompt.  Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, wrote, “It’s like the smarter you are, the more things can scare you.”  We are looking for a 33-word explanation of what scares you (or your character).  We already know you’re intelligent, so, according to Paterson, you should have no shortage of potential subject matter.

Good luck.  Have fun.

This weekend’s challenge is community judged.

  • For the 14 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone.
  • You have 14 hours to vote. It’s not much time, so be diligent! We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The winners will be announced in the comments of Monday’s post and will be posted in our typical fashion in the post on the following Friday.”