1 January 2009

Morva House Fiction: "Perfect Moon"

Author's note:  The idea of the robots in this story comes from David R Bunch, I think. My memory could be wrong about this. Apologies anyway. It was the idea of a smooth moon that triggered the story. Here goes:

Remember when robots ruled the world? They wanted everything to be smooth and clean, no lumps and bumps and inconveniences. They ran the perfect library by getting rid of all the users. No books out of place that way, nothing lost, no incorrect listings. Perfect. Similarly with mountains. The problem with mountains was the heights and the lack of oxygen up there, so the robots got rid of the peaks. They did it by filling up the pits. No highs, no lows, just one uninterrupted curve.

We had to get out of the way back then. Remember? For our part it looked like war, for we were the vermin that had to go. A lot of us died.

When the land was smooth, they went into the sea and smoothed out the mountains and trenches there. Smooth land, smooth water. It was a time of terror for us. We feared that the land we stood on would also be thrown into the sea to smooth it out.

They didn't, though. Instead, they thought of the moon. Smooth moon, smooth water. Why they forgot the winds that drove the waves and thought only of the moon that moved the tides, we have no way of knowing. It wasn't as if we could ever ask them.

They went. For them it was easy. Robots had no need for air, and pressure was not an issue. They went in their cans and rose up to smooth out the shadows on the moon.

For a long time we didn't dare move. For a long time we didn't understand that they were gone. They had gone where it was cold but no ice, where there was no strife of life.

Our holes were small. We had made them small when the robots were here so that they would not find them and come and fill them in. We came out slowly and stood upon perfect, flat shores looking at the calm waves and the smooth moon. No more man in the moon, no more wild winds. One perfect sphere hung in the sky.

We stood and looked and wondered how life could ever go on here. Then, in the quiet, the calm waves made ripples in the sand. Seaweed floated up. Jelly fish washed in. Our footsteps traced patterns in the sand, and, far out across the glassy calm of the waves, a whale's plume spouted up and broke the horizon's perfect curve.

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"Perfect Moon" copyright Morva Shepley 2009

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