Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
The old Queen sits on the eve of her twentieth birthday and speaks to her yellow-eyed daughter and their legs they drip from the edge of the huge deck where once aircraft lurched and fell up and into a sky of the deepest floss-streaked blue.
The bow beneath them rises and gently falls as the ancient carrier nudges an uneasy swath through the flotsam tide. It too once a myriad of blues though now a multicolored plastic cloth that spreads the oceans entire.
An unfettered sun cooks from above and releases from the waves a taint that piques the heavy air with a sooty black film that fills the deep grooves in their lips.
“You know there was once a time that the ocean air it tasted of salt”, muses the old Queen.
“Salt? How strange”, says the Princess as one of her eyes involuntarily weeps and absently she fingers the fluid cyst at her chin.
“In the time when the earth it didn’t shimmer in acid and people they infested the land. They who lived until their skin shrivelled and their eyes dimmed and memories fell away from their minds. Mortality their most horrific of demons”
“They were a selfish lot, the old ones. Weren’t they mother”
“They were weak”, the Queen’s words more sighed than spoken. But it is not resignation nor is it pity that labours the breath in her words, it is the cancers that sit atop cancers that now throttle and squeeze at her lungs.
The world is beautiful. There’s no need to conserve, no need for didactic calls to defend species where now there are none to save. This beautiful spinning grey speck. This realm of caustic perfection where the last of us wallow in the glorious mess that was cast.
“Our ancestors they killed it. They poisoned the past”
“You think this beauty is poison? Is it our fault they couldn’t stomach the toxins they begged to be sold? The earth was not dying and it didn’t need to be saved. It was changing”, says the Queen to her daughter and heir.
This perfect family it had suckled the very last pearlescent drip that the worlds old sagging breast had to offer. They won because they evolved, they won because they adapted and all others they fell.
This final bastion, a society breed from a single bloodline. A dynasty who had once encased the world with cosmetics and pouts and skin on demand and a television show about nothing. Breeding with nothing but themselves how they radiate and rejoice at their luck. For this world, it is theirs and theirs alone. And alone in the world are they.
Somewhere below deck a timer trips and a mist of pulverized bone and blood showers down on weeping crops whilst sizzling above a plain it furls out to the horizon. This a pylon forest of jagged rust steel strung in barbed wire upon which lush plastic leaves they are skewered.
A black lagoon lays at its center. A sump oil dredge that forms a thick beautiful skin in the haze as splay-legged polypropylene creatures sip from the fizz of its edge.
“They wanted to live forever. Such waste”, says the tired and soon to be no longer Queen.
“But how did their garden grow? How did they feed?”, the young Princess frowns into her words. “Mother, tomorrow when we feast on your flesh I will not waste one slice, I promise. I swear to you this”
And the Queen she smiles and looks back over her shoulder and drinks in this her land of plenty.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org