by Morva Shepley
(670 words approx)
(670 words approx)
“Look out everyone. Here it comes again.”
Blue jiggled, trying to squeeze back against the other spheroids. He had reasoned that if they formed a tight enough clump over the little hole that opened at random times below them, then none of them need fall through it. That hole worried him. Once, peering through the thick walls of the world to the blurs and shadows that hinted at a greater world beyond, he had seen the fallen comrade. He had seen the bright yellow spheroid raised up on a blurry cloud, and then disappear into the darkness of a pinky-red maw. “Hang together, people,” he shouted as the distant rumbling, as of far off thunder, caused the little world to vibrate.
The other spheroids did not respond. They seemed to have become bored with his terror.
“We have to stick together,” he insisted. “It's the only way we can beat the hole.”
They did not answer. When he had first explained his observation to them, they had not seemed to know what to say about it. Whether this was because they had always known about the trapdoor beneath them and were too polite to tell him, or whether they had never noticed it and were too embarrassed to say, he could not tell. During his stay in this world he had learned that the spheroid people were a taciturn bunch.
They still had the right to life and self determination, though.
Perhaps he had been over zealous after that first revelation. Often, he had sounded the alarm as those blurry colours approached, and nothing had happened. The hole had not opened. The shadows passed by, and no one fell.
He had learned to ignore the blurs and intimations of the world beyond and only sound the alarm when the rumbling and rattling of the thunder made the whole world shudder. Then he cried out to his comrades.
“Stay together, people,” he cried out as he heard it. “Hold tight.” No one answered, or moved. “Look guys, I know only one of us get lost at a time, but if we work together, no one need fall. No one. So, please, work with me here.” Their beautiful, bright bodies remained still. “Look,” Blue pleaded. “Everyone of us matters. Who would we have to hang on to if every one else is gone? In the end there would be no one left in this world, and what a sad thing that would be for me to report when I got home.” If he made it home, he thought. Sometimes it was hard to resist falling towards the trapdoor. “So hang together, everyone.”
The rumbling sounded. The trapdoor rattled as if a great wind was blowing against it.
Holding his breath, Blue squeezed back tightly against his companions, fixing them in too tight a bunch to move.
“Hold tight,” he told them.
Then he heard that special rumbling, the sound of doom. This time, peering over the curve of his comrades' shoulders and through the thickness of the world, he saw it. A disc. It was a discoid that heralded the loss of a sphere.
There was a sudden sinking of the mass of spheres. He knew what that meant.
“I'm sorry, whoever you were,” he called sadly. “I really thought we could beat this thing this time. I'm sorry, people.” He looked out and this time found he could barely see the great beyond for the blurring in his eyes. Perhaps that was why the spheroids never spoke of it. They had lived with it for so long that they could no longer see it. “We'll do it next time,” he said aloud, although he hardly knew whether he spoke to the speroids anymore or only himself. “Teamwork. That's the way.”
* * *"Lollies" copyright by Morva Shepley 2009