The World of My Imagination’s Photo-Prompt Flash Fiction Challenge.
Submissions must be 500 words or less, and feature the picture and all five words: Spider, Race, Machine, Muscle, & Engineer.
THE UNIVERSE ENGINEER
In the night the giant, ungainly spider moves. On malformed legs propelled through dense forest slow. Rustle of living leaves above. Crackling of the dead below.
Whisper of westerly wind. A soft earthly sigh. With deliberate strides it journeys under branch, leaf, and vine that hides the moon and sky.
A second accursed of spider race now strides abreast the first in midnight’s dark. Third and fourth shambling arachnids join in time. As hidden moon ends celestial arc.
Misshapen, mutant spiders all. A hundred years through forest nights they tramp. Canopy above shakes from passing. Leaves fall in darkness like dying bats.
Three younger, less warped walkers find first four at pre-dawn’s hour. Smaller these be. Lighter of leg. Yet, command not the old ones’ power.
Truth revealed in morning’s light. Sun breaches forest canopy. No spiders things these walkers. The legs are roots. The dark hid trunks of ancient Dryad trees.
These Dryads, this mystic race, a pool they find that Eternal glistens. Roots bring them near water’s edge. Silent. Still. With leaf and branch, bark and gnarl they listen.
The heat, light, and life. First day’s sun rays calm waters feel. Then shimmer. Now hum. As the Great Machine, with primal gears, turns the cosmic wheel.
Brilliant beam of pure white radiance. From Void, through space, then stratosphere. To center of the Eternal pool. Upon this rides the Engineer.
She, He, It is all things. Dryads bow. Leaves in reverence rustle. A seeming apparition, this Engineer, save, its living, loving, laboring heart of mortal muscle.
Heartbeats of the world. Of rocks , of trees, of languid pools, sun rays, and moon beams. Its thump-thump the spinning of the earth, the boiling core’s hum, the harmonic of the great Machine.
Yet, with each beat mortal muscle withers. Life bleeds from the Engineer. All Her, His, Its love given unto death. Sap drips from bark and bow. Ancient Dryad tears.
Night couples again with day. Waters caressed by Sun’s last fingers of flame. Silent now the Engineer’s heart. He, She, It forever fades.
Return from whence they walked “crippled spiders” do. A solemn tree upon each back. Engineer’s gifted love felt as ground meets stepping root. All hundred years upon the track.
A millennium of hourglass sands fall. Alas! A call Dryads again hear. Summoning their race to witness as they have all time. The Machine of the Cosmos, the Lover of all Things, the Universe Engineer.
Word Count – 407