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Flash Fiction: The Starships Fell Like Rain

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on January 18, 2006

The starships fell like rain.

Don’t think of them as the million tonne behemoths of star smashing galaxy rangers. These were little silver cubes, light as a feather, and blown by the winds of a hundred billion stars. It was only chance that brought them here, only chance that scattered them across the teeming Earth.

First things first: the voices in our heads.

The cubes were noisy little buggers. Where they drifted into corners,the banks of silver shouted their message in unison. Where one sat on a doorstep, it whispered repetitively, “Use me, use me.” They only wanted to be our servants, only wanted to do their hard-wired, hard coded jobs. Pick one up and it would tell you how to use it, what motions to make, what to do to fly to the stars. “Just one step.”

Second thoughts: The first flyings.

“Don’t call it flying”, the cubes said. “We don’t sail the stars. We flicker between them, in flashes of quantum dimensionality.”

The Japanese understood. It was interstellar origami. The cubes were million tonne behemoths, just folded up small and light. The ships and their engines clung underneath our four-dimensions, reaching their multi-dimensional forms into tiny cubical slices. Twist one one way and you’d be somewhere else. This way Mars, that way Alpha Centauri. Soon the first left the earth. We didn’t notice that none returned. “They’re sightseeing,” said the cubes.

Third way: the seven light year boots.

We were as giants. We walked from star to star, from world to world. We met other pilgrims, other walkers, and we shared our secrets. We never tried to retrace our steps – there was always something new to see. Each new world was a new treasure, a new cornucopia of delights. Each morning the cubes whispered and sang, and we’d listen to their siren guide songs and walk to a new world and a new sun.

Four tunes: the song of silence.

The earth was empty. Silent. The silver cubes had walked everyone to the stars. The winds blew litter down the streets, twenty-first century tumbleweed for abandoned cities. That was when the last of us knew that the cubes weren’t ships after all, that the stars were finally right, and our souls were no more than food for the eaters in the dark, hidden dimensions. The last cubes came for us, took us, and left an empty, silent world.

Fifth course: the soul tasting.

The old ones laughed, as their silver tentacles stroked the life out of the galaxy. “Walk with us,” they pleaded, and we walked. But we didn’t know where the paths led, as they twisted and turned among the impersonal beauties of the heavens. Double stars, triple star, t-tauri winds, pulsars, the veils of the nebulae – they all beckoned. And bedazzled by beauty they all walked, all walked between the stars. The old ones drew the path, a spiral in eleven, twelve, fourteen dimensions.

There came a day when we reached the destination, all off us clutching, clutched by the silver cubes. The beauty, the splendour, and the doom, all wrapped up into one ruddy maw. The black hole at the centre of the galaxy was eating stars. Soon it would be feeding on something a little more rare, something a little more precious.

It came in a flash of light. The event horizon reached out and grabbed us, and we fell – forever screaming. The silver cubes laughed.

The souls fell like rain.

[A dream turns into words, and suddenly I seem to have written my first Mythos short short.]

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14 Responses to 'Flash Fiction: The Starships Fell Like Rain'

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  1. andrewducker said,

    9/10!

    You’d have got that last mark if you’d used the word tesseract :->

  2. sclerotic_rings said,

    If you don’t submit that story somewhere, I will personally kick your ass. (And yes, that’s intended as a compliment.)

  3. d_floorlandmine said,

    Excellent!

  4. liveavatar said,

    (rubs sleep from eyes) Oooh. That was the first thing I read this morning. What a nice way to begin the day, if ‘nice’ is the right word.

    Fredric Brown and H.P. Lovecraft hoist a glass to you from the cafe table they’re sharing.

  5. davesslave said,

    Hahahaha! That was delightful!

  6. sbisson said,

    Nah, supersymmetry is so much more fun…

    (imagine if Lovecraft had known about M-theory and branes…)

  7. razorsmile said,

    Bleak and cthluluish. But that opening line seems eerily familiar.

  8. sbisson said,

    Charlie’s rain of telephones?

    Echoes only 🙂

  9. razorsmile said,

    Charlie’s rain of telephones?

    No. Something else … perhaps from ’05s NanoWriMo?

  10. sbisson said,

    No idea here!

  11. razorsmile said,

    Hmm. Great minds then.

  12. palatinate said,

    I agree with – excellent, you need to get it published!

  13. sbisson said,

    Ass kicking not required (though small edits were)

  14. micheinnz said,

    Wow. That is really, seriously good!


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