Neo Nero

It still feels like it’s all I’ve ever needed – as though it’s all I’ve ever known. I no longer need to be protected. I need to save the songs.

It kept me happy, kept me dependent. Still I run my hands along the fabric of my heavy skirts, trying to press out the rumples in the cloth, still trying to observe each day the myriad of rituals and ablutions the Church required of me. Still trying to impress the world – it is a heavy burden, but one I still accept, with, I hope, a certain level of both grace and humility.

“Save the songs.” He whispered those words into my ear as he lay dying – “Save the songs.” I had no idea what it was he wanted me to do, no idea what songs could possibly need saving, in this world of mp3s and internet downloads. I thought to myself long and hard before deciding to uphold his request. Even if it was just the deluded ramblings of a dying priest. I was the only one left by his side as he lay, left abandoned and alone in a world determined to turn its back on tradition.

Then the floods came – the world ended.

Civilisation sank beneath the waves, submerged beneath the ever-rising breakers. While others fought for tinned food and bottled water I strove, my only quest to find them. To save them. To rescue sheet music from the hungry mouth of the flames. From the fires that sprung up from the embers, stirred by the rage of those still alive. Nature red in tooth and claw exacted its revenge on we, the scattered remnants of humanity.

The cities burn slowly. Concrete will burn, but it takes time. Time enough for me to play my fiddle while the world slowly dies.

Another story, almost forgotten, for Trifecta, BeKindRewrite and 3WordWednesday . The prompts were, in the order above, Observe (the third definition, as always,) All I’ve Ever Known, Save the Songs and To be Protected (the Bekind prompts.) The 3WordWednesday prompts were Dependance, Kept and Rumple , which I always thought was Crumple…

Also, guys, please check out my call for flash fiction for a FREE magazine I’ll be distributing on National Flash Fiction Day. My submission call-out is here: SUBMISSION CALLOUT

Thanks Guys and Dolls!

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14 thoughts on “Neo Nero

  1. chrstnj says:

    Oh, I love the sentiment here, and the reference to Nero. What a creative take on the prompt!

  2. I love a bit of apocalyptic fiction. Nicely done. 🙂

  3. Not for the first time, I marvel at where your imagination takes you. You have a tremendously creative spark which always ensures your writing is interesting. Thanks for the link to the magazine. I’ll definitely look that up. Hope to see you at the weekend.

  4. John Wiswell says:

    Huh, an interesting remix of catastrophes. Would not have expected a flood to lead to a fire. Your language can be very lush.

  5. jackkholt says:

    Great stuff, Chris. “Nature red in tooth and claw exacted its revenge on we, the scattered remnants of humanity,” was my favourite line, I think.

  6. Ah! His quest to save music, while others try only to survive! Brilliant. Punch in the gut.

  7. M.A.S says:

    So what about the songs??? Are they saved?

  8. Aidan Fritz says:

    Nice reference to Nero. The image of fiddle playing while the world burns is powerful.

  9. Sheilagh Lee says:

    lovely story and a great companion to all the others , I love the nod to Nero.

  10. beautiful short story, and the length is spot on, you have used your words with such skill. The ending is also beautiful and oddly not as sad as it initially reads, but more true and uplifting, in the sense that with destruction there is music so it distracts from the noise of destruction itself. Great little gem of a piece here.

  11. snitch21 says:

    His attempt to save music makes him totally heroic in my eyes! love what you’ve done with the prompt!

  12. […] Neo Nero by ChrisWhiteWrites ~ @chriswhitewrite ~ Science Fiction […]

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