Today is Sample Sunday!
And so, I’ve decided to share the beginning of the piece I am currently working on for LiveJournal’s fantasy big bang — which is a sort of fairytale, but turned on its side.
They began to forget, when they opened the box.
Their metalworks rusted, and magic ate rust; it fed on fantastic city-sprawls as opalescent ivies crept up sky-scraping walls.
But the screams faded swiftly to soft gasps of awe.
It was in essence a trade: Unasked for, perhaps, but seemingly fair.
Their black spiderwebs, built for sharing speech, all fell in a shower of sparks; but the word telepathy wove its way about the streets instead. The shiny-topped treethings came tumbling down with the webbing as well; but then fingers snapped and spheres suddenly glowed. The loud moving boxes clattered to stops and so clogged up the roads, yet the humans just laughed as commonplace rugs took on lives of their own and rose up high above.
And if we animals, the pets and the parklife and the populations of farms, all shied away or snarled in fear —
Well, by then, the eggs had appeared.
They found them in bushes, in the tops of the trees, and put them by the fires that they’d had to relearn. (The humans, I’d noticed, seemed ironically closer now, moving closer to base instinct and farther from brains.)
And I say it ended when they started to hatch.
A matter of perspective, that, I suppose; but then who’s around now to argue, or tell me I’m wrong? (Or, indeed, who’s willing to listen at all?)
So yes. It all ended with the eggs.
Seasons change; rebirth is perhaps the most natural of all things. But nothing about this was natural at all.
The eggs cracked open to cries of delight, and shining beaks poked forth, or long swirling horns, or eerily-dry feathers in a rainbow cascade — once I saw fire and a sliver of scale —
They stopped caring about us entirely, then.
These were creatures moulded to the new world, or perhaps the world had been moulded for them. It was the same end result, either way.
Leave them to their own devices, the humans said of us with their eyes. They won’t obey, they’re hateful now, we’ll all be happier if they just go away —
Doors opened in tandem, and there was enough unearthly singing to drown out our cries. To drown us out or drive us out; one or both, I’m still not sure.
So we left, and again they forgot.
(I still hear the children crying sometimes, in the deepest of sleeps, and calling out a litany of once-familiar names; but the parents soothe them with baubles and these moments too pass.)
My name was Anchor, and I was born on a farm. I think I was beautiful once, before; I had a shining black coat and a long flowing mane. These days I have brambles and ribs etched on my sides, but I am still alive.
I suppose that’s a beauty in its own right.
And in a way I am one of the luckier ones. I never had a person, not one for me alone. I was cared and provided for, and if everyone was sufficiently kind, so too were they impersonal.
Strictly speaking, now, I have no one that is mine to miss.
(Although perhaps that is a burden all its own. I have no one to miss, nor any proper memories to tide me through. I don’t know whether to pity or envy the others I come across, and this sort of confusion isn’t befitting of a beast.)
I’ll simply say I miss the world.
The world, as it was, and not just a dream.
Humans never did see what was right in front of their noses, and maybe we are the only ones who were ever really awake.