The Artist

I watch it flap, bonelessly on the floor. One wing is at a strange angle, and its eyes are crusted shut. If it had a mouth, I think it would be screaming, but its beak is just a blank cone, unable to open.It can’t move on its own, let alone fly. It lies there, in pain, shivering occasionally. Another failed experiment.

On the floor around me are the other ones – slimy, scale-less fish; a dog that breathes heavily through a deformed muzzle; a moose with antlers made of the same jelly-like black flesh as its featureless eyes. Every one an abomination, every one a crippled reminder of my failure. Continue reading “The Artist”

Today and Every Day

Every day the same.

The same routine. His mother leaning over him as he wakes up in the racing car bed. The same two slices of toast, crusts cut off, and covered in strawberry jam. Today, and every day he still remembers, the jam pot is emptied, and he gets to sit there in his chair a little longer, scooping up the last traces from inside the jar and tasting the sweetness. His mother sits at the table opposite him, swirling the ice in her glass, and they talk about what he’ll do at school. She laughs at how decided he is. Continue reading “Today and Every Day”

Bargaining

The boy stomped carefully through the dirty water. In places, it came nearly as high as the tops of his wellington boots. The torch in his hand shone a pale and steady beam, throwing a spot of light onto dank, curving walls and a low ceiling. His other arm was held close to his chest, shielding a small dark shape from the cold and damp. It did not move.

He was tired. Tired and cold and hungry. It felt as though it had been hours since he had climbed down the rusty ladder to the underworld. But he pressed on – he had no other choice. Continue reading “Bargaining”

Pledge of Allegiance

It was surprisingly easy.

You would think it would be difficult to reverse more than two hundred years of history, to recover a lost possession of such magnitude. You might think it would take armies, a second war. All it took was cloth and careful planning. Continue reading “Pledge of Allegiance”

A Good Neighbourhood

Everyone knows Mr. Jacobs.

He’s lived in the neighbourhood for fifteen years, and he’s never smiled – not once. He’s never brought cupcakes to welcome new neighbours, or shovelled snow off some else’s drive. Continue reading “A Good Neighbourhood”

Purity

The messiah had been born. He had lived and died for us, hung upon a tree. We should have been healed. We should have been pure.

Yet there was still rot within us, still a canker gnawing at the hearts of men. We still sinned. Innocents were slaughtered, greedy hands stole from the poor. Every man with the power built his own small Babylon, gave in to his baser instincts.¬†We had been purified, and yet we were unclean. Continue reading “Purity”

The Shifting Sands

The sands are full of bones. Bleached white bones from creatures long-gone litter the dunes, empty rib cages pointing to the sky. The shifting winds cover some and reveal others as they scour across the barren landscape; no valley is ever the same twice. The lightest bones stay on the surface, pulled about by the harsh wind – a never-ending dance of the dead. These bones flock together on ridges and then disperse down the sides of dunes, forming temporary reefs and shoals in the sea of sand. Continue reading “The Shifting Sands”