Sunday, October 16, 2011

FICTION: Tragedy By Neil Weston

Moll’s voice bounced from wall to wall of her bedroomlike a trapped bird.  She spoke in afevered tongue as the illness continued its vicious incursion on her body, a frailteenager; she was at the window of death. At her bedside stood a doctor and beside him a priest.  The doctor inserted a needle into Moll’sfoot, the veins there were the only ones not collapsed or withered.  Through the needle, was sent morphine.  The morphine offered a tiny keyhole ofwakefulness.
“Daddy?” Moll’s voice suddenly carried resonance and clarity as the drug made itsinroads.

“Yes?” her father asked.

The girl’s father was also the priest, he refused toresort or accede to asking God to keep Moll alive.  If he sought such an act, he was requesting shebecome immortal, and that broke the rules, it broke his oaths and training. 
At the sound of Moll’s voice, the doctor moved outof the room.

“I must be given over,” Moll continued.
“I cannot let you go.  It would tear me apart,” said her father.  He stroked Moll’s hands, observed his shadowon the wall opposite, watery, impotent.

“I’m sick, dying. If I go, I can live.  I can bewell again.”
The priest sighed. He ignored the request and the tap-tap-tap at the bedroom window; and,in so doing, dismissed what he knew was the inevitable pressed against thepanes of glass.

“Open the window, Daddy.”
The priest felt the pain of tears skirt the rim ofhis eyelids, hot fat sizzling into his flesh. He cupped the cross-hung about his neck so tight it left cerise indentson his palm, approached the window, a broken man, and stared at the alien beyond.  “Forsakeme,” he said.

With trembling hands, he eased up the window.
The aliens--the press called them Martian, a baptismadministered by the unprepared, the unknowledgeable--had come to make war onthe planet collecting the feeble lives of those in physical need and repairingthem.  A simple bite and the transferenceof rejuvinative fluids was all it took. An elixir that tendered rebirth encouraged the sick and dying to rise uplike fresh, invigorated shoots.

By the time the governments reacted, it had becometoo late to stop the army of the expired coming out of the shadows, from thatsomewhere of ghosts and prickling, untouchable fear normally shut away by logic.
The priest considered his actions, therepercussions.  Somewhere in his learningat the priesthood had to be forgiveness for the personal sin he implemented inthis unnatural revivification.

He turned his head from the alien as it eagerlypursed through the opening.  An iciclewith wings and hypodermic incisors.  It coveredthe priest’s daughter with a sliding, serpent of ashen shadow.
Moll’s screams split the priest’s soul.  He ran from the room, head bowed, face coveredby his hands.  Knives of thought paredback his heart as he knew he wouldsee his daughter again and she wouldfind him.

Everyone knew how these invaders scented out the familiesof the ill as part of some perverse recruitment drive.  Inspired by the recovery of their parents,grandparents, siblings other family members chose to become ill and to berecreated. 
The priest would be found but not until he had soughta place of penance.

As he ran from the house, he threw his cross on theground.  “Only one god made man!” hecried.  “One god!”  The prieststumbled, and, as he stumbled, he brushed away the tears and uttered, in tonesof finality, “Then, along they came.  Along...they...came....”


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