Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well and having a productive day in whatever you’re up to. Today I’m sharing a piece of flash fiction with you that I just had to get out of my brain. It was one of those ideas that just niggles away at you until you have no choice but to get it out -if only so you can refocus on what you’re actually meant to be doing. Anyway, the story is called Reusable Resource – I hope you enjoy it!
Ida looked up through unfocused eyes at the young man crouching beside her.
She couldn’t see much but she could make out his wide-eyed look of horror and the mess of blood around his mouth. He caught her staring and wiped the blood away with the back of his hand, grunted and then got up off the floor and ran while she lay there, the cold sodden ground of the cemetery soaking through her thin, cotton dress.
Ida felt herself slipping away. How could this be the end? How could she have been so stupid? She’d been warned to stay away from the fresh graves, she knew how ravenous the new ones could be – but she had wanted to see it with her own eyes – just once. She wanted to see the transformation – to see new life inhabit a dead shell.
Some people had resented the Vel when they first came through the void begging to be allowed to inhabit the bodies of the dead. Some even decapitated their loved ones at the moment of death, which seemed to be the only way of preventing a ‘combining’. But Ida had always thought of it as a sort of recycling scheme; the Vel needed a resource that was just going to waste.
When they’d first arrived five years ago looking for help after a devastating accident on their own world had left them without physical bodies of their own, Ida had been one of the main proponents of letting the dead ‘live again’.
Now as she lay dying, all she could hear was the voice of Dr Dreyfuss at the Resettlement Institute echoing round and round in her mind.
‘Always remember, the Vel have not tasted food, touched another living thing -or anything for that matter in years. When they wake up, they’ll have hunger and urges that we could never even imagine. Stay clear of fresh graves, and stay clear of arriving settlers until they’ve been apprehended by the research team.’
Ida couldn’t help it. She had always been curious about everything – and how, with such an inquisitive mind, could she be expected to hide in the research van and watch on a monitor as this remarkable thing happened? No- she had insisted on getting closer, and when the team had radioed for her to get back because she was too close, she’d moved closer still, drawn to the miracle that was taking place six feet beneath her.
Now though, she wished she had stayed in the van. She’d gotten such a fright when pale, grubby hands had come thrusting up through the freshly laid dirt. She didn’t even have time to scream before the newly inhabited and previously deceased young man lurched from the grave and grabbed her, pinned her with his full weight and tore into her neck.
She knew the lecture she’d have gotten if Dreyfuss could see her now.
‘You idiot! You know how disoriented they are at first! You know they tend to grab first and ask questions later.’
She did know those things, which is why she’d lobbied for the graves to be disinterred before a ‘combining’ could occur. But the Vel had explained that a combining had to take place below ground. To them, it symbolised rebirth as well as their struggle for survival.
As her eyes grew heavy, Ida heard feet splatting in the wet ground as they ran towards her. It was Danica, her research partner.
She shone a flashlight in Ida’s face and Ida had to strain to see her dark, round features, glistening with fresh raindrops.
‘What the hell, Ida?’ she fumbled with a small package which Ida assumed was a field medical kit. This was confirmed when Danica packed a bundle of gauze against her neck.
‘It’s not good, honey, I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do.’
‘…own fault,’ Ida managed with effort.
Danica smiled down at her. ‘You’ll be designated category b.’
At least that was something; her wound was such that it could be repaired once she’d gone, and her body could be re-inhabited after burial. She nodded.
‘Oh, For Christ’s sake, Ida. Why’d you have to get too close?’ Danica stroked Ida’s hair as she bled out, her blood mixing with the rain and sinking into the earth.
Moments later Ida was gone.
As always, thanks for spending your time with my words, it’s very much appreciated!
Until next time,
© 2019 GLT