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  • Moonflower

    I found Fara in the beggars ticks. She sat with her arms wrapped around her knees, head on her hand, turned the side, eyes almost closed. Her normally light olive skin looked as pale as Mr. Manzano’s moonflower. She was so beautiful it hurt to look at her. She looked like a princess in a fairy tale, but this fairy tale might well have an unhappy ending.

    I dreamed of Fara and Patricio last night, dreamed I saw them wading into a woodland pond. The branches of the trees formed a tent over the pond and the air, water and their naked skin all glowed green from sunlight filtering through the leaves. We have no pond like that here in inner city.
  • I had forgotten the dream, but as I stood watching Fara, who was so still I looked closely at the beggar ticks near her nose to see that she was breathing, the dream returned to me, along with a knowing.

    Mr. Manzano had given us all “the talk” in health class. Mom says they always do that, the idea being to prevent us from having sex until we’re married or at least old enough to have a job. But Manzano’s talk was more than that. We was talking about the coming famine, the famine caused by the designer viruses, made to attack the GMO seeds of Monsterro, DuBaad, and Slayer.

    “It will be difficult to get enough food for ourselves,” he said, “feeding children will be even harder. You must resist the difficult temptation, and no one tells you how hard it will be. Celibacy is very challenging, but the tough times will be tougher still with a child.”
  • We see the famine coming. It is no longer unbelievable. Already, bread, Wheaties, the coating on chicken nuggets and a hundred other things have disappeared. The store shelves are half empty, and every day, fewer food products are available. Dog packs are growing, as people abandon their pets. Growing, and becoming bolder.

    Fara is thin. We are all thin.

    I wanted to speak to her, but somehow, I could not break the silence; I could not utter a sound.
  • I got Peregrine, and we both stared at Fara. Then, as if on cue, we waded into the beggar’s ticks, lifted her to her feet together, and held her in a group hug. We swayed back and forth, long barbed needles of beggar’s ticks jabbing our flesh. Peregrine led us into the clearing and we picked beggar’s ticks from each other's clothing. Fara still had not spoken. None of us spoke, but Peregrine crooned what I slowly realized was an old lullaby, one Nonnina sang to me when I was tiny.
  • Image: From 2 or more sources, including: Pete's poem and by Brian Johnston (Canada). I have collaged (composited) them in Photoshop.

    Story: I wrote this story is from a photo-prompt offered by Pete in the Cowbirder's Poetry and Flash Fiction Group #7, a facebook group open to any Cowbird member who wishes to join. I placed it within the setting of one of the novels I am working on, Monsterr Famine Wars. I am not sure whether I will use it as is within the actual novel.
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