For those who have been around here for a bit, you know what ‘Natural Selection’ is (the rest of you should look at the list over there, and catch up). I have mentioned that I wanted to do another one, but slightly different. While I have been trying not to put too much thought into it while I”m presently working on finishing a novel, I did try doing at least one story for it that I was going to try to put together for a mag submission. But, I never really got anywhere with it. I started it, but then just completely lost the direction to get it where I wanted it to go. What I have I think is at least somewhat interesting, but not what it’s supposed to be at all. It doesn’t tie in right with the universe I created so far for ‘Natural Selection.’ Although the character concept I have in this will probably be what I’m keeping, except for a slight timeline change, everything else would most likely get changed. And yes, I started writing this back during last year’s seemingly unending ‘Snowmageddon.’
Another snowfall—at least “snow” is what we called it. I’m of the last generation who would remember when snow reflected memories of child play and laughter—but now the word “snow” was simply what we called it hoping we didn’t think of what it really was. Hoping that memories of the sweet smell of frozen rain would replace the bitter stench so thick that you had no choice but to taste it—and always know what it really was.
The ashes of the fallen lay thick in gathered piles.
The snow came less frequent than it used to, but that only meant there were fewer of us left.
They have been hunting us throughout this world since I was a child. I remember when they first came—the ground was covered with real snow then, from a real snow fall the night before. I was excited to see it, as any child would have been—no school, snowmen and snow forts fully armed with snowballs to build—but I barely left my front door when the ground shook casting the loose snow through the air. The sky opened up as if a gaping hole was being torn open, and the whole of what was the sky became filled with a mass so large that it appeared to have no edges.
I had no idea what I was seeing; I had no idea how I was supposed to react to it. I stared in wonder, like one the many science fiction novels I’ve read just came to life before me. Everyone was outside, staring upward, as uncertain as I was—my mother was there holding my little sister, but I barely registered their presence as I was enthralled by the mass that just replaced the sky.
I don’t know how long after its arrival it was ‘til it made its first move, for when it was first seen, time didn’t seem to move in a normal fluctuation anymore, but eventually, its mass began to slide apart miles across, and revealed a cavern as dark as its own mass. And from the darkness of that cavern they dropped down like a disturbed swarm from a hornet’s nest.
We ran as those who didn’t run fast enough became scorched bones and ash. Eventually we gathered and mass a means to fight back, but the strategies constantly failed against their forces only to eventually evolve only in learning to hide as they tore this whole world apart. Fear became the normal state of being.
After they cut through the masses of us, rumors started that they were capturing some of us. No one knew why, but many had their own ideas, from past stories of creatures from the beyond collecting us to experiment on. The stories were always seen as only stories, until now when so much of them were already beginning to look so true.
The years went by, and the fighting slowed, but mostly because there we so few of us now that it was easier for them to take their time, and simply pluck out the stragglers for sport.
And so the snow falls. I survived it all long enough to reach an age where my grandparents used to predict the weather through the pain in their bones—my pain is constant and sharp.
- A “Destruction of Existing Order”: Ken Liu on Fantasy Novels and Warfare (review.gawker.com)
- Day Fourteen (bluchickenninja.com)
- Everything you need to know about Issac Asimov’s Foundation, a book that inspires Elon Musk (businessinsider.com)
- Cultural Gutter: A Relative Dystopia (teleport-city.com)
- The Dune Abides (time.com)
- John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalists announced (teleread.com)
- 50th Anniversary Edition of DUNE Sells Out (SciFi4Me.com)