Thursday, February 22, 2007


A lone figure walked through the silent night, his tired figure weakly outlined by the setting moon. He had a long day - the particle accelerator’s data loggers had refused all attempts to get them working. The physicists gave him quiet hints, the Centre Director was practically glaring at him, the technicians were less than cooperative, his assistant was an enthusiastic but useless post-doctorate newbie, and his team-mate was on Chinese New Year holiday.

Damn computers.

How he longed for the past, when the world lived in a rush of petrol-induced flamboyance. It was not just the petrol and the cars. It was the entire lifestyle. Distance was never an issue – the private automobile could zip through enormous distances in a matter of minutes, and the aeroplane was on a completely different level.

To him, the past would mean being able to visit home every year. Petroleum allowed people to fly, cheaply. The one thing he missed more than anything else in the world was his family. To a great extent, telecommunication technology alleviated his alienation, but technology could never invoke the intense peace that a child sitting contentedly in your lap would stir.

That child was also in the past; she would be in her 30s now.

As he continued walking, his shadow and the past were indistinguishable. He was out of the tiny city centre, and the landscape gradually opened to reveal vast tracts of urban farmland interrupted with clusters of dim lights.

Suddenly, four robbers leap out from the side of the path. They overcome him and take all his belongings. They then strip him naked and tie him to a tree before fleeing the scene, laughing.

The next morning, a passer-by freed him from the tree. He thanked the kind soul, and began to savagely beat a calf that was sleeping on the grass nearby.

The shocked passer-by tried to stop him, but he was unstoppable in his anger. Kick after kick landed on the helpless calf, and he kept screaming obscenities at the poor animal. "All night, I was telling you, I am not your mother. I am not your mother!"


Feedback please.

Did the ending spoil a potentially interesting short story?