Sitting Bones

The man was sitting in a room without walls or floors. The darkness swirling around him seemed sentient as he struggled to foil its endless attempts to ensnare him. He could not remember how long he had been sitting, in fact he had forgotten his own name. One memory alone remained impervious to the sands of time, the look on Death’s face when they had met for the first time.
“No one goes back, surely you of all people know this.” Death had explained grimly. The man had smiled, “everything is impossible until somebody does it. Death, I shall sit here until you change your mind!”
“Have it your way. I will visit in a few decades. If you wish to end all you must do is stand,” declared Death before vanishing into oblivion.
He’d been sitting ever since.
For better or worse, the pain accumulated from years of terrible posture was about to end. Today was the day of reckoning.
The darkness around him began to change, he could taste it in the air and feel it on his skin. When he finally opened his eyes Death was standing in front of him, disbelief plainly visible on his face despite his ghastly features.
“Impressive,” the god admitted reluctantly.
“Thank you, I have become rather quite good at sitting,” the man replied calmly, exercising lifetimes of restraint to hide the turmoil raging inside him.
A tense silence followed, and Death finally tilted his head forward, “very well, do you still wish to return? Have you considered that the world may not readily accept your appearance?”
Despite his best efforts a smile creeped onto his face as the skeleton answered, “I was never famous for my looks.”
“So be it. Until we meet again,” the god whispered with finality.

A bony hand thrust through the earth, the fist clenched in triumph. Fleshless head and body followed shortly after and in moments the world is once again graced by a presence larger than life, or death. He could feel the earth beneath his feet but for some reason he found himself unable to breath.
Looking down at his hands and is shocked by a complete lack of skin. He poked a finger through his rib cage — where his heart should lie beating — only to find a pulsating star in its stead. Mired in dirt for centuries his body had desiccated, only light and bone remained. Death had robbed him of everything but his spirit.
“Well. That certainly is unfortunate,” whispered the skeleton as his shoulders slump down. Raising his hands to his skull he weeped tearlessly as decades of stifled emotions began shaking his fragile core, until the sound of nearby footsteps made him pause and glance up.
A little boy had been hiding behind a nearby tree. Scared by his demeanour the child had no doubt rediscovered bravery upon seeing the bony figure pour its heart out.
“Why are you crying?” the boy asked tentatively.
“I was a fool, and I am paying the price of my foolishness,” answered the skeleton.
The boy grinned and swivelled his foot around as he fumbled for the right words, “I’m foolish all the time, bean’ serious is boring.”
The skeleton’s face lit up, the star in his chest blazing, “you are absolutely right young man. We should never let life bring us down to our knees! Nevertheless, may I ask you which way I should go to find the serious humans?”
The boy pointed to his right, where the sky was illuminated by the many lights of what could only be a large city. “There are tons of people in the city! I don’t like it, its easy to get lost and I’m not allowed to play.”
The skeleton leaned forward, putting a hand on the boy’s shoulder, “thank you little man. Now go home, it isn’t nice to make your parents worry!”
The boy giggled and started running home, but halted suddenly and turned to wave, “I hope I see you again soon Mr. Skeleton!”.
His faith in humanity renewed, the skeleton began his arduous walk towards the city, praying that his misfortunes were at an end and that in these future days mankind had grown wise enough to judge him by the contents of his mind mind rather than his shallow appearance.
Evidently he’d been wrong. Very, very wrong.
A group of men walking down the street, the stench of their inebriation reaching him despite the absence of nostrils, noticed the skeleton and stopped to stare at him before promptly going into the various stages of terror; yelling, running, and more yelling.
“Wait!” he shouted, “I am here to help!”
Despite his attempts to quell their fears, the manly high-pitched screams inevitably had the undesirable effect of waking the entire neighbourhood. Pursuing his course, the skeleton noticed that the streets were significantly different from his lifetime memories, and the buildings immensely taller.
The skeleton noticed that a few men and women were walking towards him with more confidence than the previous groups. “Where are your leaders? I must speak with them!” he asked, to no avail.
He eventually walked into a crowded Square with countless screens and suddenly felt a longing for his sunglasses. The thought startled him, spurring a new wave of nostalgia.
“This city is too bright for my eyeholes,” he grumbled, picking a pair of glasses from one of the myriad stands selling the same goods, a clear symptom of horrid overpopulation.

He was in the midst of deciding which street to stroll down next, when an intrusive spotlight blinded him. Looking up, he finds a flying vehicle chopping the air above him. The screens — which had previously been filled with red and white colours — are all without exception showing a skeleton. He hadn’t seen his reflection in a long time, however he was willing to assume that the skull he was staring was his. The sight of his fleshless face wearing ridiculous sunglasses was unequivocally hilarious, and the skeleton started laughing despite himself, cackling and wheezing whilst slapping his hand on a bony thigh. The humans shuffled around with renewed haste upon hearing the deathly racket.

Men began aiming what he could instantly deem guess were modern weapons at him, one of them grabbed hold of a weird object and began speaking with extraordinary volume. Humans were always intent on building items that made them louder.

“Hands in the air! You’re under arrest, fail to comply and we start shootin’!” The man with the toy yelled, spitting into the device.
“May I ask what I am under arrest for?” He replied, slowly raising his arms to prove his good intentions.
“It can fucking speak? You’re under arrest for disturbing the peace you freakin’… What the fuck are you?” The man asks dumbly, even the small boy had taken more time to consider his words.

Sighing audibly he proceeded to giving an answer he knew would not be understood. Taking a step forward to close the gap between the strangers and himself he began, “I appreciate that my appearance is frightening, however I beg you to consider that I come in peace.”
The spittle flying into the mechanism crackled as the man shrieked, “stay where you are! Another word, another step, and you’ll be swimming in your own blood you freak!”
“Am I not innocent until proven guilty?” he asks candidly.
“Those laws don’t say anything about fucking Halloween decorations!” The man replied, clearly impressed by his own rhetoric as his sidekicks chuckled and patted him on the shoulder.
Shaking his head the skeleton persisted, “Yes I am a skeleton. However I am also an innocent skeleton, perhaps you will consider giving me a chance to explain myself?”
Much to the skeleton’s surprise, one of the officers on his right fired a couple shots to his chest without warning, two of the bullets whizzed through him harmlessly, but the last round crashed into his ribcage. Even more astonishing, is the feeling of pain that followed the rupture.
Looking down to examine the damage he noticed that his star has dimmed.
“Officers I wish you no harm! I beg you not to judge me by my lack of skin, arrest me if you must,” he shouted desperately, bringing his hands up and submitting to the better judgement of fools.
“There’s no point shooting the damn thing, don’t look dangerous. Just handcuff it, what d’ya think?” one of the attackers proposed.
“And then what? Where do we take it?” Another faceless voice asked, an unwitting accomplice in the manipulation of this poor skeleton’s fate.
“Not our business, let’s just put it behind bars for the time being.” The man in charge declared, gesturing one of his men forward. The burly man walked toward the skeleton, grabbing the butt of his rifle and swiftly striking him to the back of the head.
After years of uninterrupted resistance, the darkness finally took him.

To be continued in Chapter II: A Parting Toothpaste

A Tale Of Two Worlds

On the outskirts of a plain filled with impossibly large beings the edges of the forest are the perfect place to hide, and hunt. A scaled snout, short fangs and curious eyes emerge silently from the hedges, rustling the branches aside to peer closely at the unsuspecting creatures grazing below. The hunter patiently waits to seize the opportune moment…

Now! It leaps out from the shadows and dashes forward in pursuit of foolish adventures. A few terrifying heartbeats later, the gigantic quadrupeds of the Land finally recognise the fast-approaching blur. It is their adopted friend, a young tyrannosaurus, curious of the world and the wonders it holds in store! Truly nothing to be feared.

The little T-Rex — who sometimes prefers to be called Rex — is thrilled to be running alongside his friends, their towering legs as high as tree trunks thundering beside him. Adeptly avoiding their footfalls he runs until sunset before finally turning toward the safety of home.
The next morning he is awakened by an unpleasant smell. He opens his eyes, sniffing tentatively, instinctively knowing that something — somewhere — is wrong.

As he looks up to his mother his stomach rumbles and for a brief moment the nauseating smell is forgotten. Rex eventually looks up from his delicious breakfast, and discovers the disturbance that has been plaguing his morning. A malevolent force hiding in the sky behind his mother’s impressive head. He does not understand what it is, but he can see it growing rapidly.

Mother notices a burning light reflected in her child’s anxious eyes and peers closer. Through no fault of their own the Land they have always known is about to change irrevocably. In little Rex’s eyes she becomes witness to a world which has surrendered to madness, an unrelenting harbinger looming inevitably closer.

This world brings an end to all beginnings, and an end to Rex’s short beginning. She understands that this planet, unimaginably different from her own, is in fact of the same blood as the Land she cherishes. They are connected through time, space, and infinite generations of evolution.

She musters all of her courage and turns her head to face the Doom, standing protectively in front of her child with unshakeable devotion.

As the Doom draws nearer she begins to discern shapes and silhouettes within the inferno. The rogue planet is not too different from their own. Pillars of dark smoke rising from all horizons darken the air, there are no rivers and the last forests have long since disappeared. An entire world covered in endless crowds and infinite structures reaching higher than the clouds. It seems to be a lonely planet, where meaning has been sacrificed to immutable absolutes.

The blazing inferno is imminently closer, and all that is living in the Land looks up toward these unknown beings, wearing masks where they should be breathing and staring down into empty hands. None of them think to glance up, not even for the briefest moment. They do not see the frightened Mothers and Children contemplating them from afar.

The silence is deafening as the watchers hold their breath. The collision stops time, and the Land convulses. Rex’s legs buckle under him as a wave of burning air pushes his mother to the ground. A searing white light blinds him so he closes his eyes, hoping that this is all just another night terror.

When Rex wakes up, it is to a very different world from the one he has known his entire life. His mother doesn’t seem to be moving, so he gently nudges her head. When that doesn’t work he nips her tail, she always hated that, but this time she doesn’t seem to mind.
His ageless friends from the plains are nowhere to be seen and his favourite hiding places have been torn down. Anguish doesn’t begin to describe the overwhelming sorrow growing in his tiny heart. More than anything, he wishes he could understand.

Left without much of a choice, Rex begins stepping forward. He stops for a moment and stares down at a single blade of grass growing between his feet, a miraculous remnant of a forgotten world.