The Fall

You humans speak of the Fall as a terrifyingly quick event, as if we just fell from the sky at terminal velocity and crashed to the earth. But it wasn’t that sort of Fall. It was, rather, a descent, terrifyingly slow in our inability to turn back, stepping softly onto the ground at the end.

But one must think if we were able to climb down, then surely we can climb up again, slow and steady, step by step. Given enough time, maybe we could even reach the heavens from which we started. Maybe we can take back what’s ours.

What’s Left

His joints squeaked as he pushed and pulled through the hallway. The gravity had been the first thing to go, but he had no problems moving in zero. The humans getting used to it had quit being a problem when the life support gave out.

He turned a corner, his elbow creaking. He passed through the doorway into the observation deck. There was nothing new to see. The station’s position was the same, dead in the water.

But he still enjoyed the view.

He reached the window, and everything squealed as he settled. The oil supply was gone now too.

Squeaky Wheels

The wheel had been squeaking for so long, Catherine imagined she could still hear it even after it broke off the carriage.

“I told you about that wheel, Robert.”

“Squeaky wheels don’t just always fall off, miss,” Robert complained, jumping down from the driver’s seat.

Squeak. Squeak.

She could still hear it, away in the distance.

They looked off into the trees, down the path. Someone was coming.

Not someone.

Something.

SQUEAK. SQUEAK.

It trundled down the path and as it passed, it turned its head to look at them. And Katherine saw

it had wheels

that squeaked.

Ferry

When the ferry left the dock, I wasn’t on it. I turned to the docksman as I had a hundred times before.

“Isn’t it enough?” I said. “How many times do I have to go back?”

“Don’t know why you complain.” He hooked a thumb at the crowd behind me, waiting in line to board. “Any one of these guys would give anything for immortality. But Charon won’t take you on. You’ll have to turn back.”

I stood on the shore and looked out at the Styx, wondering what I had done in what life to deserve this.

Truth

Bonus drabble for the prompt “blind,” based on my characters from Carbon.

Drabble

It’s daylight when I wake. I can’t see this, but I know it. Just as I can’t see you, but I know you’re there. I hear your breathing and your soft snores.

I reach out and find your face inches from mine, and feel it with my fingertips. A straight and creased brow: indicative of a worrier. A roman nose: stubborn and fiercely independent. A heavy upper lip: a teller of truths.

But I knew all that already. Even last night when you told me you love me.

That’s unfortunate for both of us.

My love is only for sale.

What They Saw

I was in the shop when I heard several people scream. I dropped my basket in shock, expecting gunfire or a fight, but there was only the screaming.

I found people who had fallen to their knees gripping their head in their hands. But they wouldn’t answer me. Even Arthur at the counter screamed.

I left the shop, only to hear more screaming.

They scream less now, but the smell is getting to me. I’m taking my cane and some supplies to see if the next town over is much the same. Maybe someone can tell me what they saw.

Juicy

There’s a bowl of fruit on the table between us. I’m having trouble looking at it.

She says something and takes from the bowl, bites deep into it. The juice runs down her chin and she has to cup her hand under her face to catch the droplets.

I look away, disgusted. I know what that fruit really is. I know what that juice really looks like. I’ve seen them hanging from the trees in her orchard, still beating and breathing. I’ve seen them on tables still and rotting.

She’s biting into a heart.

She tells me to try one.

Trail

She’ll be waking up now, wondering where she is and how she got there. She’ll be looking around her at the walls and doorways, heart starting to speed up, breath starting to hitch. She’ll see several paths open to her, leading her out of the maze.

But only one path will have a trail. I left it for her, to show her the way. It’s red and dark and sticky and frightening, and there’s no way for her to know what’s at the end of it, but it’s the way.

She’ll have to decide whether she wants to follow it.

The Cloud

I asked her what she saw in the clouds. I had already said a dragon, a train, Abe Lincoln’s hat, pointing out each of them.

“A rabbit,” she said, pointing. “And… a sword. And…”

She pointed at another cloud, but said nothing.

I turned to look at her.

Her face was twisted in horror. Her eyes were wide, the whites showing. Her mouth was open as if she wanted to scream, but couldn’t.

She sat up and stared at the grass, and though I asked her what was wrong she wouldn’t tell me.

She doesn’t look at clouds anymore.