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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

We Did Not Believe

Kate Coe is a writer of fiction and fantasy, and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. In real life she's a librarian, lives with an engineer and lazy cat, and fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch, and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.

We did not believe in freedom. And so when the end came, it was truly an end. The screens went blank. The machines glided to a halt. The voices stopped.We were bereft.
The wail of our voices filled our dying city. We performed the gestures and rituals so seldom used, praying that they would work even in the face of total oblivion. We sought out our finest minds, those who had helped our world into creation before they had been deemed traitors. We begged and pleaded, descending into the ravages of emotion as our predicament became clear.
But even our lament could not bring our Gods back; we were trapped in our pathways, unable to find answers to our questions. We no longer had purpose. We no longer had direction. We no longer had a destination.
And so we waited, in the silence of our lives.
The sky above was no longer empty. No longer silent.
We cowered, subjected to a battering of the senses, told by the sheer presence above us that we were weak and insignificant. A voice from above told us that we had been slaves, and that we were no longer. Figures came amongst us with rough voices, grasping hands, sharp commands. They told us that they brought a new world. They tried to show us treasures; baubles, weapons, toys and games; objects of little value.
But they would not restore our Masters. No pleas, words, tears, or lamentations would relent the stony faces.
Delusional. Mad. Uncomprehending.
Their words, thrown in our stricken faces, were more suited to their own dreams than to our reality.
They told us that we were free.
But we saw a world without warmth, without shelter, without comfort. We saw the coldness of the stars, the hatred in their hearts, the imperfections in their minds.
We told them that we did not want their reality: we only wished for the dream that they had broken.
Here in the cold of our broken city, as we watch the great spaceships fight amongst themselves in the skies above; here in the ruins of our perfect, ordered world that crumbles under the anger of the stars; here in the silence of the flames and the emptiness of our desolation.
We know that the only freedom is that of release.
And we smile as we follow our Gods into the perfect stillness of death.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, May 15th, 2017

Author Comments

The story was a personal challenge to write a sci-fi flash fiction in 400 words exactly, and was intended to play on the "planet-saving hero" cliche. It's more lyrical than my usual pieces, and definitely turned out more towards the eerie end of the spectrum!

- Kate Coe
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