Hi, this is my latest short story; Eat, Drink Be Merry. I want to get back into the habit of writing more super short stories. They’re fun to write and are a bit of a challenge to get done quickly. Writing everyday is a great way to build a writing habit.
Do you need to build a daily writing habit?
Eat Drink Be Merry
Carter felt something. A twitch behind his eye. He looked down at his bowl, but something appeared to him. He could see the future stretch out before him. A valley teeming with life in front of him. There was a bump in the road right before the valley. His focus fixated on the bump in the road.
Carter sat in the middle of the table. The higher-ups had rolled this feast out for him. Feast was too strong a word, they had merely allocated double the allowances. Carter was supposed to be grateful.
Some feast it was.
The food was a lighter shade of grey than usual, and the fluids were more transparent. There was still grit at the bottom.
On one level, Carter was thankful, at the same time, he could not care more.
He felt nothing. Carter was surrounded by his closet friends. “Cooks, crooks and troops” as his friend Devlin would say. It was a small gathering with Devlin sat to his right.
They had brought up men and women from the lower levels. If Carter needed his carnal desires satisfied, that is what they were there. They even were giving Carter the first two picks of the lower levellers. Any two he wanted. But Carter did not want. He felt nothing.
If there was one thing, he wanted it was for anyone to step into his shoes. To take his place. Carter did not enjoy being alive. Knowing that there was no alternative, he chose life. But the choice was no longer his. They had taken it from him, and he was to be happy about it. They kept telling him that this was always his choice. The higher-ups, the leaders, they had lied to him. There was no choice.
All Carter wanted was to have a little agency in his life before it ended. Time was running out.
Devlin smiled at Carter. Carter wondered was he smiling to show support, or was it a relief. Relief that Devlin knew he would be here tomorrow celebrating. Knowing that he had survived where Carter had not?
“This is all for you,” Devlin said.
Carter looked away and over to one of the dancing women. Her skin mottled, a dusting of some kind of chalk to hide welts. She made eye contact with him, and he nodded back.
“She likes you,” said Devlin. “Maybe you can show her the way back”.
As soon as the phrase was uttered, it fired up synapses in Carter’s memory. Something the Long Fellows, no matter what face they wore. Every time he encountered them in the Zone, they would say the same thing.
“All you can do is show them a way”. Each Long Fellow would say that to him before he vanquished them. There had been many fights, much bloodshed in the Zone, but that phrase did the most lasting damage. “A” way not meaning the way. Was there more than one? “Show” instead of lead. The Long Fellows for all their deception had some meaning below the surface.
Had it all been a lie. Had Devlin deceived him? Devlin believed in Carter. That Carter would seal the Zone. Stop the Long Fellows from entering but what if he was not capable? What if he was. Had the Long Fellows whispered to Devlin?
Carter thought back over the years.
This prophecy that Carter was to fulfil had never been seen. No one knew who the author was either. The Long Fellows had continued to undercut and frustrate them. In his gut, Carter knew that there was going to be an upset tomorrow. What form it would take would be up to the Long Fellows.
Victory may not take the form they imagined for themselves. Carter looked around the table. There was an air of jubilance. They thought that Carter’s sacrifice would mean an end to the violence, to the death and destruction.
Carter smiled at the naivety. Devlin caught a brief glimpse of Carter’s inner world.
“Now someone’s coming round,” Devlin said.
Carter looked into Devlin’s face and observed the change of expression. From encouraging to confusion to concern. Carter wondered if now would be a good time to tell them. To warn them. It would be the last chance he would get, it would crush their spirit. There had been so much lies. Now was the time for truth.
Carter looked down at his bowl. Eat, drink, be merry. His eye twitched.
“I have something to say,” Carter said.
Carter felt something.
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