November 5, 2019


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc.) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them. Regarding Fantasy, this insight was startling: “I see the fantasy genre as an ever-shifting metaphor for life in this world, an innocuous medium that allows the author to examine difficult, even controversial, subjects with impunity. Honor, religion, politics, nobility, integrity, greed—we’ve an endless list of ideals to be dissected and explored. And maybe learned from.” – Melissa McPhail.

Somokene shielded his eyes from the blood-red dome of the Sun as it set and said, “The new star does not fade with day. You know what that means.”

Squatting on the bare, rounded boulder, Bardinanda sniffed the air and said, “Yes. It means you need to bathe.”

Somokene shook his head, “Be serious, Sister!”

“I am always serious, Servicer.”

He squatted as well in the lee of the boulder. A cold wind blew from the south, off of the glacier wall that fenced the entire equator of the World in. It was impossible to go farther north or south without paying the exorbitant fees of the Ice Lords. He said, “It means that the end is nigh.”

This time Bardinanda laughed outright. “Which end is this, brother?”

“You know as well as I do.”

“But I love to hear you say it. It makes me appreciate history.”

He sighed as he unfolded a heat cloth and anchored the four corners with the plutonium disks he carried. They had decayed to inertness and he had carved and polished the ancient reactor core slices himself. Incised on the surface were his logograph and Bardinanda’s. He tapped the cloth and it glowed red. He held out his hand and a moment later, she placed the aquapon gently in it. Far heavier than it looked, it was a gate into their food trough hidden on the other side of the World in Uluru. He set it on the cloth and said, “This is the one thousand, four hundred and sixty-ninth End Time; one million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, four hundred and twenty-first Year since the founding of Human civilization.”

Bardinanda sighed and slithered down the boulder, flat, splayed feet gripping the rough surface. Patting Somokene’s bare head, she said, “You know that despite the fact that Endless Ending is a tenet of your faith, eventually it will be the Last End Time.”

“There is a sect that believes that, yes. I don’t belong to it, but I have studied it.”

She nodded, running slender fingers over the sensitive skin of his head. They both shuddered. Nodding, she turned her back on the setting Sun and said softly, “Then perhaps you are the best one to judge me when I say that I believe the Last End Time has come upon us and I am the Harbinger and you are my Prophet.”

Names: South American (Barbara, Diane, Fernanda); Chewa/Igbo

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