Friday, September 26, 2008

One Small Puddle (Fiction) by Michael S. Collins

One Small Puddle
by Michael S. Collins

I have no pity whatsoever for anyone who died here, no soul blemished or harangued by the instance of fate that brought upon them the touch of Death herself. No sympathy extended to the families bereaved or the figure in Purgatory. None in the slightest. After all, how difficult can it be to heed the sign that I put up around in all directions, “DANGER! TOUCHING THIS PUDDLE WILL RESULT IN SUDDEN PAINFUL DEATH!” But that’s the problem with society today. Too many people with an “it won’t happen to me” carefree attitude. See where that got this entire bloody country. Dead at the hands of a singular puddle, for one.

They should have taken the lead of Mr Parsons. He, on seeing the particular puddle which refused to dry out from the storm, even in the midst of a hosepipe ban, leant forward on a whim of curiosity and entered his index finger into the middle of the water. And once satisfied himself, he took three steps forward, screamed, and fell face forward to the ground. Should the rest of the world not taken its next step from Mr Parsons? Since he had ignored several corpses beforehand to test the waters, perhaps not. It was just a single puddle. Why did everyone step forward to put their hands in it, to see what would happen? I like to think all those bodies would give even the dumbest a slight clue as to the next logical precedence.

And yet they kept coming. In a bid to stem the flow of the human lemmings, I had the army brought in. They were most inefficient; all they did was join the dead. So I partook to placing those signs around the puddle in all four directions, written in the best black felt tip pens I could find. It’s not like I was very secretive about the damned puddle. It was right there, burning brightly in the sun, yet never changing. And the first corpses, they were melting before my eyes right into it. But the puddle never grows to join with its new particles. It just sat, awaiting the next fool.

And that’s how the entire planet went. Everyone lined up to touch the puddle and died. No one paid attention to my warning signs. I ran about screaming to the people, to warn them in person. But curiosity got the best of them as always. And so, it appears we have uniform conformity. Everyone the same, the residue at the bottom of one lethal puddle. How it came, what it wants, I have no idea. All I know is that I have no inclination to touch the damned thing myself, even if I appear to be the soul remaining soul in the entire planet that managed not to. At least I have my remaining common sense.

Unless, what harm could it do?

Author bio:

Michael S. Collins was born. He now writes. As well as organising the next Word Dogs event (with the help of fellow writers Rich Mosses and Ian Hunter), and doing reviews for the Fortean Times, he also can be found in a variety of Glasgow bars, Jack and coke in one hand, pen and paper in the other. Michael does not have a pet dragon, despite reassurances from Swiss scientists.

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