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Strawberry Fields Forever

by Kitty Fermengs 3 months ago in Short Story

Sci-fi/A Strawberry Field/A "For Sale" Sign

A warm breeze swirled around the field of strawberries. It was not quite summer but, the magic of spring had long since left for the season. The bushes rustled, constricted by a lack of care. Stems threatened to release their bountiful fruit in an instant. Some did, staining the ground they grew from. Though their ripeness passed as they lay rotting on the ground, the brightness of the sun illuminated them. The berries, shimmering and shining like precious gems, sparkled in the sun’s light. That light, dimmed by clouds in some areas of the field, masked the true nature of the rotting berries. By the cover of clouds, they could be seen in a different light. The same strawberries that glistened in the afternoon sun were dulled and muted by mold and mildew. To look upon the field, you would see patches of brightly colored earth intermingled with the muted tones of decay.

A sign, bleached by years in the sun, barely legible, marked the edge of the field. It read, “Strawberries for Sale ¼ mile”. In front of the sign was a road in disrepair. The asphalt was cracked from years of harsh winters. Weeds grew in the cracks, giving new life to the brokenness. On it, cars were abandoned. Layers of dirt and rust covered them. Every vehicle abandoned was treated the same over time until all personality from them had vanished. It was as if time memorialized the age of man, allowing nature her just revenge.

A creature resembling a human could be seen walking down the road. It was drawn to the scent of rot and decay the strawberry field held. In the golden light of the sun, this creature looked just as humans had. It wore clothes made by humans, walked like humans, and even its voice resembled vaguely what humanity sounded like. To its left was the strawberry field. Onward it marched, in the afternoon’s glow, towards the sweet smell of decaying fruit that the warm breeze brought to its senses. The creature bumped into the sign, mumbling to itself as it walked slightly closer to the open part of the field. It kept walking until it felt the sticky squish of strawberries under its feet.

The creature smiled a toothy grin, kneeling down and licking the very spot it had stood moments before. It crawled on its hands and knees, sniffing the earth like a dog. It licked up every spot of rotting berry it found until it bumped into another one of its kind. The creatures moaned at each other, both angry that the other was halted from the rotting feast that lay before them. As the sun set upon the field, the creatures also settled in. As they slowly stood up from the ground, more of the creatures could be spotted in the field. They moaned in greeting and walked towards the open part of the field, huddling together as the chill of the night settled in.

One thing was apparent as the creatures walked, they were not at all human. Their eyes, glossed over without thought of gaze, only hinted at a color they once held. Like the sign they now sat next to, these creatures represented how crewel time could be. Their skin was tanned and leathery, with parts of themselves clearly missing. It did not matter what shade the skin was, each creature was the same. By the light of day, these creatures looked as normal as the trees and grass. Under cover of darkness with nothing but the faint glow of the moon and stars, the creatures looked as rotten and decayed as the strawberries they feasted on, their glossed over eyes, reflecting any light that hit them.

Without the warmth of the sun, these creatures could not walk far before they fell to the ground, drained of all energy. Huddled together, they swayed back and forth in the overgrown grass, grunting and moaning in what almost seemed like a song. Their voices carried across the field as stragglers farther away came to sit and sing the song by creatures of the night. It was not long until every creature was sitting in the overgrown grass, huddling for warmth. The swaying and moaning only stopped once the sun shone its light upon them once again. Each creature stood up in turn, sniffing the air for the sweet scent of decay. Some turned to the road in search of a variety of decay, while others remained in the strawberry field, content with what they had.

As the creatures walked off to their respective pastures, a pair of gray beings slowly fazed into the empty part of the field by the “for sale” sign. They brought with them all sorts of scientific equipment. With their instruments, they carefully took readings and samples from the creatures, the very creatures they created long ago. When these gray beings first encountered earth, they discovered humanity.

After decades of study, they concluded that humanity was undeserving of the gifts their planet held. In an effort to save the planet from its most ravaging plague, the gray beings slowly changed the DNA of humanity until it was more agreeable to the sanctity of the planet. This change created creatures that would never die, but take care of the planet as nature had always intended. To the gray beings, humanity was out of step with how the rest of the planet worked. Now, they had lifetimes to research harmony and peace on a planet protected by both themselves and the creatures they created.

Short Story

Kitty Fermengs

I try to write a little bit of everything, from a small poem to an epic prose. I live in A constant state of denial that I am any good at what I have chosen as a profession. Give my works a read. Judge for yourself.

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Kitty Fermengs
Read next: A Two-Way Mirror

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