From a hollow in the ground two pairs of eyes followed the silhouetted figures as they roamed the barren tundra. Lingering near the horizon was an indifferent sun that would neither rise nor set. The indistinct figures traversed the confines of the twilight horizon, to and fro, without aim and with no apparent design.
“They’re automatons,” a deep whisper stated, “of my creation.”
“I see,” came a soft voice, “I’ve pondered them for a long while, spied at them from afar or, on occasion, nearby, from the safe shadows of a lonely shrub…” The voice trailed off, but the ponderings continued in agile eyes that burned their brand into whatever they saw. It was a woman who had answered.
“I apologize for the tedium,” the man responded. There was a long silence in which the stiff figures dragged themselves in their never-ending journey to nowhere, while the audience of two looked on.
“But it is not tedious at all,” she declared finally, “They are admirable creations, to be sure. But what drives them?”
“They search, search without recognition. They seek that for which they have no words. There is no soul in them. Only action and reaction, one perpetuating the other.”
“How did you create them?” she wondered.
“Sticks bundled together and jointed, tight wrappings like a living shroud, a breath of brain from my own mouth.”
A sharp look of surprise: “You possess such powers?”
“In a moment you will suggest the obvious. You will suggest that I am one of them, spawning my own kind, but that is not the case, though they are made in my image. I am real, as you are, but no matter how many tens of thousands of them exist, they would never be capable of originating a thought.”
“Why is this not possible?”
“Because there are limits to what my magic – what any magic – can do. And that is why I have sacrificed my last powers to create you, my child.”
“!!” and the look that brands.
He continued, eyes averted from her firm stare: "You must go to them now, allow yourself to be seen. They will pursue you, worship you, elevate you to the stature of goddess. You will inspire that which they cannot conceive alone: a single thought, the catalyst to eternity.
“And then, with passions untold, they will consume you – mentally, physically and spiritually.”
Silence – broken only by the sound of shuffling footsteps.
From the fold of the apron that clothed her, she drew a stone and brought it down fatally on the head of her creator. She embraced his slumped form and breathed into his mouth. He stirred, stood up and climbed from the hollow to join the aimless meanderings of his automatons.
This story is a description of a lonely scene, a man and woman conversing, while strange beings with no will shuffle across a barren landscape.
This story was originally posted at indeterminacy.blogspot.com, a site featuring “one minute short stories” inspired by found photos.
Here is the found photo which served as the catalyst for the story:
Disclaimer: This photo is not my work, and is therefore also not for sale.