sci-fi

The Woebegone’s slaughtered dreams

This relates to a previous flash

They say that the dreams of Woebegones are reality elsewhen. And so when the fever came it made no sense here but its seed was in the tortured body of the creature of ages. As they sliced him for revelation there came about in this world a kind of putrid Narcissism. They came out from behind their consoles and cruised the streets with Grand Theft Auto still singing in their synapses. Id-pulse, impulse, their fingers were poised, ready for the switch to be flipped. And then they flipped.

Urban myths of headless hitchhikers slaughtering carloads of high school prom queens. Babies thrown from windows or eaten by foxes. Kids lying dying in stairwells in pools of beautiful blood. Newly weds, newly dead or left for. Dear old grannies mown down for the price of cider. Gun crime, knife crime, should be put away for life crime. Pregnant ladies rotting in the boots of cars. Father’s of two shot in the head.

They drove away laughing.

The Woebegone is all about integrity. It’s in the meat of him. It is the meat of him. There’s a goes around comes around kind of philosophy to the plodding of his blood. When the scientists looked they saw solidity but it was stoicism, it was cautious optimism, it was love of others.

Gilen was a bounty hunter. He used to play the drums. Now the drums played him. He went where he was sent. Anyway after he dobbed in the Woebegone there was nothing left in that life for him. And when he wished he could leave life, he did.

Where he ended up there were no longer any shores with sand dunes. There were artificial beaches with fake stones piled high with washed up waste, detritus that would endure for at least as long as the Human Age and perhaps longer. In the towns from time to time he would come across a municipal bed of marigolds and begonias, a flush of colour or a community garden eked from an urban wasteland, beds made of sleepers, neatly tended by rehabilitated youths. But when he next passed that way, the heads would be ripped from the flowers and the sleeper beds toppled, glorious graffiti blazing.

A bounty hunter in a world that was no longer bountiful. While they served Woebegone steaks to the arse headed power mutated buffoons of his elsewhen alternate, while there the intelligentsia ate stones and the salt of the earth ate well salted, heartwarming, cobbled together stews he made himself open for beauty in his new land.

He met a tiny girl. She patted his face and buzzed his nose. She told him that she had snuggle fed from her mother’s breast, their eyes fixed upon one another until she was two, although she wasn’t much more that that now. She pointed. She said ‘Dat’. He said ‘Tree’, she said ‘Dat’ he said Cloud. She said ‘Dis’ and he unrolled her fingers and said ‘Petal’. ‘No’ she said ‘Snow’ and she let it flutter to the ground.

He took her hand. They walked down the road where the concrete groaned as the fields below rolled over. Water bubbled out from a grate, what they called the shore at the side of the road. Tarmac bled in the heat. She wanted to stick her finger in and taste it. She pointed out a stone. The stone was lonely. He could not get back into the earth. Gilen picked up the stone and rubbed it under his thumb, soothed it. She pointed out a bottle top blink-winking in the sun. He began to think that she would be the one to show him everything.

They found the girl’s mother or the girl’s mother found her. But although the girl was found and joy abounded, Gilen looked at the woman and saw loss. They were standing now in a green area among houses, the grass was soft and cool under his bare feet. The woman held the girl balanced on her hip. Gilen held the woman’s hand. Then he kissed her. When he opened his eyes the child touched his cheek. They heard the sound of nothing, then the long round coo of pigeons. They sat down on the grass. The residents had planted flowers. The girl went to pick one and came back with just the head. Her mother laughed and held it. Far away a siren heralded. Nearby they heard the screech of tires. The child turned her head, intent, she shuddered and then ran back for more flowers. So Gilen saw the car, cruising like a sailboat in a cloudless sky, driven by the boys with the inward looking eyes.

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