You know it is just past the nuclear winter when the mutilated dogs start sniffing their paws for a whiff of their long-dead masters. You take turns distracting them otherwise they will turn on you or one of your legless sisters. Then there are those giant dragonflies that always follow you home after your daily search for kindling, and if you don’t run fast enough, they swoop in and pluck you off the ground. The best stories are supposed to be the ones about the end of the world. But that’s until you discuss the details your townsfolk have swept under the rug: that thing about Mrs. Burdick refusing to give up her left arm when it was her turn to give up something, that thing about how you stuff your pillows with morsels of the dead, that thing about how you buff until they shine every oil lamp, every fancy perfume bottle, every silvery gravy boat you come across in the landfill in search for that djinn that will change your life.
And when nobody’s looking, you head down the glass arch of the greenhouse which the carnivorous plants haven’t overtaken yet. The white birds, normal ones, shriek and rise in a flurry of molting feathers. There, in the middle, is the shape of your faith. For weeks, you have been rebuilding the ark you have unearthed there. For weeks, you have been praying for the flood.
© Kristine Ong Muslim
Kristine Ong Muslim has poetry and prose appearing in hundreds of publications, including A cappella Zoo, Aberrant Dreams, Abyss & Apex,Alternative Coordinates, Big Pulp, Dark Horizons, Eschatology, Expanded Horizons, GUD Magazine, Kaleidotrope, Labyrinth Inhabitant Magazine, OG’s Speculative Fiction, Paper Crow, Polluto, Sounds of the Night, Space & Time, Star*Line, Tales of the Unanticipated,Title Goes Here:, and Tales of the Talisman. She authored the full-length poetry collection, A Roomful of Machines (Searle Publishing). Kristine Ong Muslim has been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize and four times for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award. Her publication credits are listed here.
If you enjoyed this story, please consider making a small donation via the donations tab above. All money goes to maintaining the site and paying our authors. Or tell a friend about us. Thank you!