Category Archives: Fiction

Rise and Fall – A short story.

Despite warm temperatures and all the nutrition that could possibly be needed there was negligible life to speak of.  It was only when primitive life forms were introduced from above that a new era of living, consuming, organisms began.  The life that was deposited by the hidden hands from above took to its new environment.  The conditions were perfect to flourish and soon it was as though the party of all parties had begun.  The competition to thrive and stay alive was so much more greatly reduced than if life had simply arisen here by chance.  Many other organisms or creatures would have died rapidly in this environment but the hands from above had been careful to choose the perfect colonists for this little world.  The native residents of the little world, such as pre-existed the invaders, had made little impact on their environment; it may have been that little change would have occurred for some time from their presence.

The new life that had been delivered to settle took so well to their circumstances that soon they overwhelmed any few or little signs of life that had been here before them.  They pushed all aside in their conquest of the entire sphere of their existence.  The nutritive qualities of this place were exceptional, and the growth of the new residents was exponential.  As they developed and spread they interacted with their environment, changing the balance of all that was around them.  Soon the culture was thriving and things were rapidly developing.  The general gases given off by the living escaped into the air in vast quantities as their numbers grew.  Still they thrived and consumed, enjoying their existence in the limited ways that were available to them at their current stage of evolution.

They saw no reason not to do what came naturally.  This was the way they had been made.  They had evolved, to consume and grow, as had all living things; what sin could there be in living by their biological programming.  Soon the community had spread to all limits of the available space.  It was certainly crowded compared to the way it had been when they had arrived.  All lived closely entwined with all; to an outsider they looked like a swarm, perhaps even a single being, intent on consuming all available resources.  Still the gases billowed into the air, at ever increasing rates; belching up into the atmosphere in ways that surely could not be sustainable.

The height of the culture was rapidly reached, and for what seemed like the longest time the production of gases into the air continued.  The speed at which the atmosphere was altered was alarming and palpable.  Perhaps to one who lived within this world the change would not seem so rapid and extreme, but how would it look to one who saw the arrival of the settlers, and did not return until the peak of their success.  Given the overwhelming spread of these visitors, dropped here by an intelligence far beyond their own, and given the dramatic manner in which they spewed gases into the air above them, could it be that there was any way to view their lives as being anything other than akin to that of a virus, eating up all that surrounded it, without a thought for the consequences.

Eventually the effects of all this high living began to be felt.  It had been proven.  The conspicuous and furious consumption was not sustainable.  The environment began to be poisoned and the life within it began to die.  Where there had been so much joy before, now there was death and sickness.  The new inhabitants of this brave new world no longer had the blessing of the ideal surroundings with which they had been gifted.  The irony was that there was still nutrition all around, but it was all now far too poisoned to sustain the visitors.  The world had been reformed, and where they had once thrived and spread with almost limitless vigour, they now began to die.

The toxic environment began to still.  The production of gas into the air gradually ceased, marking the death of all those who continued, striving to endure the existence of living in this impossible place.  Eventually all were dead.  Life was over.  The colony was no longer a colony, it was a morgue, a wasteland.  Desolate.  All was silent, nothing breathed, and there was nothing left to consume the nutrition that still lay there for whoever wished to take it.

The outsiders returned to see what had happened to the colony they had deposited here.  They saw that the outward signs of life that had been spewing into the atmosphere had stopped.  They looked down from above, into the little world, and there were no longer any outwardly visible signs of the beings they had brought and delivered to this place.  The outsider reached down into the little world drawing up some of the substance of the environment and testing it to see what had become of it.  The wine was definitely ready, he would bottle it up tomorrow and everyone could have some for Christmas.

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Franklin Voight

Frank Wilson was a self-made man.  Some people might have said nouveau riche; Frank Wilson would not have been one of them.  Frank’s language was down to earth.  He had grown up like the other kids in his neighbourhood, climbing trees and getting dirty; riding his bike through muddy fields and searching under rocks for lizards and slow worms.  He had come a long way since then.  Frank enjoyed the outdoor life and had the energy and constitution to make a decent living out of working outside, doing the kind of manly tasks that nature had intended men should do since time immemorial.  Hundreds of years ago he would have been condemned to a life of serfdom toiling in the fields of the local lord; today he had become the closest thing to a local lord that his country village now had.  His success had led to him taking on workers and supplying the local economy with opportunities.  Ultimately he had stopped the manual labour and allowed it to be taken over by his workers.  His work nowadays consisted more of making strategic decisions about the direction in which to push his business.  Luckily he had found himself to be as adept at this new occupation as he had originally been at the physical work that had got him here.

Frank’s home was far larger and more luxurious than any of his ancestors could ever have imagined.  Plush carpets covered the floors and where his parents had been forced to make do with having just enough space to bring up the family, Frank found that he had more bathrooms than he actually needed, let alone more bedrooms.  Chandeliers hung in almost every room.  Frank’s curtains were a rich dark velvet with golden trimming.   Large fire places were the focal point in his living room, dining room, study, library and billiards room, not because he needed to burn wood to keep warm the way his parents had, but because a country seat somehow needed a fireplace over which to place the oil painting showing the master of the house at a pheasant shoot.  Around which to place the marble surround and mantel piece that was home to a Meissen clock, several figurines of Royal Doulton, Crown Derby and Sitzendorfer.

Franklin Voight had joined the Wilson household soon after Frank Wilson had begun to achieve his success.  Aside from the similarity in their first names Franklin could not be more different.  He knew that he was anything other than a self-made man.  Franklin knew that he owed everything he was to the woman who had brought him into the world.  Where Frank was rough around the edges, Franklin was every inch, from his head down to his toes, the very model of a gentleman.  The paleness and smoothness of his skin contrasted with the ruddiness and colour the years of outdoor work had lent to Frank’s.  Where the gentry in the neighbourhood saw vulgarity in the way that Frank had plonked himself right in the middle of their society, there were none who could fail to see the obvious refinement in Franklin.

Franklin himself was of far greater age than Frank, and in his time had been fortunate to serve in many wealthy households throughout Europe.  In this modern era Franklin was something of an anachronism but wherever there was conspicuous consumption there was a place for Franklin and those like him.  Once upon a time his type would only be found in old households where the money had been handed down through generations.  Nowadays there was no telling where one could end up.  Prior to joining the Wilson household Franklin had provided his services to an old widow.  Just like here he had been only one of many creating the impression of wealth and success around the widow.  It was very rarely that Franklin would find himself serving a household by himself.  He had been with the widow for many years and had watched her age until she gradually passed on.  When that happened he had found himself taken on by the Wilson household.

Before the widow Franklin had moved through several households on the continent.  That is where she had found him in a rare moment of redundancy; but then could it not be said that He had always been redundant to a degree.  That was an impression that had been growing for some time now.  When Franklin had first entered the households of the wealthy it was as though his presence had greater value.  It was as though he was a status symbol even without providing any tangible benefits.  Gradually over the years as more and more devices of entertainment had been invented, and more and more labour saving devices had been invented it had begun to seem as though there was little point in his presence in even the largest of homes.  When even the poorest homes owned so many amazing machines and devices of convenience the impression that he was unnecessary grew ever stronger; it was probable that he and his kind had always been surplus to any real requirement but it took the modern world to starkly contrast against Franklin’s traditional demeanour and bearing for one to see that he was little more than another status symbol no matter what utility he may have had in a bygone age.

Franklin had always worn boots with buckles, a frock coat and all the other trappings of the past that made him seem ever more anachronistic.  His appearance had always been anachronistic and dated throughout his existence but in an era of hoodies and jeans it seemed all the stranger.  The world changed around Franklin while he stayed the same year in, year out.  Sometimes it seemed as though he would still be there in the distant future, wearing his dated clothing, like a gentleman of a bygone era while people commuted to Mars and every house was powered by a cold fusion reactor.  Hundreds of years in the future Franklin would still find himself occupying the same position in wealthy households, standing and observing the actions of the members of the household from his vantage point with the other ornaments on the mantel piece.