With this week’s prompt I got to play around with Nammu, a primeval goddess out of the Fertile Crescent.
I didn’t do heavy promoting of this week’s Indies Unlimited flash fiction contest. I don’t want it to be a popularity contest, and really why would I? 1) I don’t have much of a following, and 2) I’d like to see it be a contest based on merit, because when all are compiled at the end of the year into an anthology, I want it to be great reading. Kudos go out to Sylvia Heike for “Eyes of a Hawk” her take on the Siegfried Watches prompt.
Here’s what we had to work with:
1. Picture prompt
2. Text prompt–I called him Sigfried. He just flew down and landed on that fence post one day when I was plowing. He came every day after that. He just sat there and watched me. When I left, he left.
One day, I decided to go over and see how close I could get before he flew away. But he didn’t fly away.
I walked right up and touched him. That’s when I realized he wasn’t a real bird, but a very realistic robot. I could see the cameras for eyes; hear the tiny servos whirring as he twitched and moved. They had found me. After all this time they had found me again.
And here’s my tale at 250 words:
by N. E. Chenier
For seven days the Sigfried watched. It didn’t quite recognize me in this rendering of flesh, which gave me time to prepare.
I squeezed a clump of dark soil. My hands read the twining passages of earthworms, the pinched fonts of ants, the compendium of vulcanism and pressure and erosion in each fleck of dirt. The churning core of a star echoed in the creases of my palm.
When ready, I approached their avian vehicle. Under those artificially molting feathers was an immaculate device. Like our universe: cold, sterile, mechanical perfection.
“Come home, Nammu,” the plural voice purred.
“I’m not done,” I told them. I shaped the dirt. Organic, malleable.
The beak clacked. The plurality struggled for expression through the singular machine. “Stellar slaughter. Unacceptable medium. Your work’s been censored.”
“Art is dynamic,” I countered. “Didn’t you see the supernovae?” A tremor ran through me as it had the first time I’d triggered one.
“An abomination,” they snapped in unison.
My mud fully infused, I snatched the hawk off the fence, shaping with swift hands as the hawk keened and flapped. I had to make them understand.
“What have you done?” they wailed.
It hobbled in the furrows. “We’re dying!”
“Isn’t it wonderful?”
Static in their immortality, my kind couldn’t grasp real art. Created life was a narrative, with a beginning and an end. They would have to wait until death to begin to comprehend my opus.
They flew away shrieking. I hoped someday they would appreciate my story.