Emergence (flash fiction)
Out of death must come life. A new cycle must be begun.
We gave our dead bodies to the recycler with chanting and joy. After, we went out to the largest open space among the gardens and we lay down in the circle there, all of us together.
Later, our bodies showed signs of being quickened inside. If all went well, we would have what we needed and more. When the time came, we would choose the new bodies that suited us best, and give the rest to the recycler.
But we would not lay down together. Not for that
We tended our gardens while our new bodies ripened.
The gardens give us air to breathe and food to eat. The gardens give us life. In return we give them water. We give them light. We give them the care of our hands and the songs of our voices. We give our bodies to the recycler when our bodies have died, and the recycler gives them to the gardens.
As the fruit of our gardens ripened and grew full, so too our new bodies ripened and grew full, and our happiness ripened and grew full with them.
In time our new bodies were born, and we rejoiced. We held our new bodies with the bodies we had, passing them from hand to hand and body to body, that they might come to know our self. When the time came, we chose the ones that suited us best, and with reverence and gratitude we gave those that did not to the recycler.
The new cycle was begun.
In the time that came after, a strangeness emerged. Our eldest body held itself apart, began to stare out into the empty night surrounding us, as if looking for something that was not already here.
“Where are they?” our eldest body asked. “They used to come here, but now they do not.”
We grew uneasy. We did not like this word ‘They.’
They came to us once, but now they do not. They were like us, but they were not us. Soon we will have forgotten them entirely. We will be glad then.
As the time passed, our eldest body grew stranger.
“Why have they forsaken us?” our eldest body asked. “I wish they would return.”
We grew even more uneasy, for we liked this word ‘I’ even less.
We knew what must be done.
We gathered together and we came for I. There was nowhere to flee to, for the station is small and we fill it up completely.
“You are all mad!” I shouted. “We have lost ourselves, but they can help us! Listen to me!”
With chanting and sorrow, we cast I out of the circle, into the empty night. After, we went out to the largest open space among the gardens, and we lay down inside the circle there, all of us together.
A new cycle must be begun. Out of death must come life.