God’s Snowglobe Collection

Day 7 of the A-to-Z challenge. G is for globular cluster, a spherical star cluster, sometimes containing hundreds of thousands of stars per cubic parsec at its core.

After the blaze of light subsides, you notice the collection immediately. Orbs of stars, swirling in a blizzard of chaotic patterns against a velvet backdrop. There are too many to count: all alike, yet each unique as a snowflake. Time melts away as you watch these globular clusters, transfixed as their stars circle the spiral galactic disks, scattering, merging with the galactic halo, burning out in the coldness of space.

Your eyes are drawn to one called Messier 5, and the closer you look, the more stars you see. Hundreds of thousands of pinpoints of light, older than the Earth, older than the majority of stars in the universe, but not eternal. Nothing lasts forever, you realize. A few tens of billions of years, and then the stars fade away.

As the dance of the stars settles down and the stellar embers disperse throughout the galaxy, you reach out with your insubstantial hands. Just once more.


M5. Public domain Hubble photo from NASA, via WikiMedia.

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God and Good Wine

Written for Flash! Friday — the year three kickoff prompt is simply the image shown.
Wine Glass. CC2 photo by BlakJakDavy.

From the porch, nothing except nature remained, out to the horizon. Skyscrapers tinted red with sunset had vanished instantly.

“You got rid of the city?” I asked uneasily. “How?”

Renee didn’t bother getting out of her Adirondack chair. “I have certain powers,” she said, shrugging.

“Who are you to just wipe out an entire city?”

“Who are they to just build a city here?” She swirled her wine glass and tilted it toward the distant mountains. “Look at that amazing view.”

“It’s beautiful, but what about all those people? Are they dead?”

“Not dead. They just… never existed.”

“And could you bring them back?”

“Of course! Tomorrow, maybe. I just need to pause and reflect.”

She poured me a glass. “It’s a lovely Shiraz.”

The fruity red wine wafted through my nose, and played on my tongue. I looked through the refraction of the wine glass to see the sunset, the distant mountains, and the whole Earth contained within.

The Deadpan People

Written for Flash! Friday vol. 2-51. This week’s prompt is coming of age, along with the photo prompt shown.
Your Hand in Mine/Goodbye. CC2 photo by Tony.

A thousand years of rains have washed the blood of forgotten gods from the hillsides.
And what use are gods to a people who have subdued the Earth themselves?

They, who discovered fire.
They, who split the atom.
They, who cracked the genetic code.
They, who have slain the gods themselves.

That divine spark of intellect we kindled still burns in their minds.
They sail the oceans in ships as gray as their souls.
They soar joylessly through the heavens.
The gates of Olympus are swung open: nothing is denied to them.

What of the great heroes and monsters of legend? The passion and poetry? The prophets and oracles? The Age of Miracles?

That magic is gone now.

I look in on them from time to time — the last of a lost pantheon.

Sometimes I pity them. Sometimes I envy them.

I raise my umbrella against the rain. The tears of the lost gods pour down on me.

Quantus tremor est futurus

Written for Flash! Friday vol. 2-47. This week’s prompt was to include a monk, along with the photo prompt shown.

Flames flickered on the horizon; ashes flew like snow in a blizzard. Within the concrete walls of the monastery, Dom Exos folded four of his tentacles in prayer. “Miserere mei, Deus.”

Nearby, Teuthida peered through the barred window, weeping inky tears. A flurry of demon ash, unleashed by terrible new weapons, threatened to bury Sepiidan civilization. “If we receive His mercy,” she said as a sudden gust blew debris through the window, “it will not be in this life.”

The Monastic Order of the Seraphim had long studied this fundamental paradox. From the ruins of the Seraphim, the Sepiidan had recovered ancient writings that now guided their beliefs — and terrifying technologies that had led them, by all appearances, to complete destruction.

“If such is God’s plan,” Exos said laconically, bowing his bulbous head and genuflecting on six tentacles to resume prayer.

“That Savior from the Seraphim’s holy writings died for their sins,” reminded Teuthida. “Not ours.”

Summer in the Elysian Blackberry Fields

An entry for Flash! Friday vol. 2-27. This week’s prompt was “friendship”.

“I declare, ain’t you a pitiful sight!” Mrs. Sessom licked her thumb and scrubbed grime from the cheek of her barefoot visitor. “Does your mama know you’re wandering around town dressed in those filthy rags?!”

“Ain’t got no mama,” said the girl. “Father’s overworked. I’m selling berries door-to-door to help.”

Mrs. Sessom examined the crates of blackberries oozing dark purple juice onto her stoop.

“No one bought any, ma’am. Most of the townsfolk just yelled at me.”

“Oh, sweet child. Ignore the hateful ones. With the recession, and record drought… Tell you what: I’ll buy all two peck o’ blackberries!”

The girl beamed. “Honest?”

“Yep. And remember, you always got a friend in ol’ Mrs. Sessom.”

Relieved of her burden, the girl rushed home. “Father! Someone helped us out!”

Father smiled and embraced her. “So there still is one good soul.” With a wave of His hand, He canceled the rain of brimstone scheduled for the city.