The Beast They Do Not See by Stephen V. Ramey

May 26, 2014 Comments Off on The Beast They Do Not See by Stephen V. Ramey

They run in circles, faster and faster, each chasing the other, chasing themselves. “Slow down!” the Centermaster screams. “You’re straining the rods, you’re twisting the chain.” They move too rapidly for warnings to catch them, too energetically for childish brains to understand.

A crack, a snap, and the center post topples. Gone is the restraint that applies purpose to their power. The runners fly off at angles, pinballs unleashed upon the city of man.

Splat! goes one, Splash! another, as flesh intersects brick as plate-glass cuts them clean. Blood drenches desiccated gutters ill-designed to handle such sludge. Mounds of flesh and shattered bone. Children, they were children, are they children still? Is innocence forever?

“We don’t understand,” the Inventors lament. “We designed it to harness entropic energy. This device should have saved us from the desert consequence of our prior inventions.”

“You did this!” the Parents shout. “You sacrificed our progeny to fuel your evil intent. All we wanted was tomorrow today.”

A thunderous thud, a skirling wind. There, on the horizon, the beast, the lion, the inevitable force. No compassion in that gaze, no sympathy in that soul.

Concrete cracks. The broken center post spins around.

“A sign!” the Centermaster screams. “We must strive to comprehend.”

“No.” Inventors, on their knees, ears pressed to the ground: “The water is coming, if you will only hear.”

“No.” Parents stand tall, eyes lifted to the haze: “Our children are there, if you will only look.”

A piston step shakes bedrock. A swishing tail throws sandstorms. And, still, they do not see.

© 2014 Stephen V. Ramey

Stephen V. Ramey lives in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in various places, most recently Gone Lawn, Cactus Heart, and Pure Slush. His first collection of (very) short fiction, Glass Animals, is available from Pure Slush Books.

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