2018-08-30 12:20 fiction flash-fiction Benjamin Brood


She was in the settlement again. The burned smell and the tinders, the stone rubble and the craters. She came here because sometimes she found things, little treasures or maybe they were relics, she thought. It wasn't safe here, she was told. You'd get eaten up they said. You'd catch the melting they said. She didn't believe any of it and she'd been doing it for quite a while now, hunting, she said. But it wasn't hunting for physical sustenance, it was for temporal strength. It was reconnaissance through history. Everyone else preferred to believe the settlement never existed. Not her. She required, she believed, it existed for her no matter what. Sometimes she would have help, a friend or an acquaintance, interested in what was there, and what she might find. She was good at that. But the help never lasted very long, not more than a couple of trips anyway. They didn't see what she saw. It was peaceful, she thought. It was horrible, they thought. Ruins they said. She'd dig out an old metalrind, a geerwerk, a limbshank, a millmind, a glassgee, a snaketree, from their burials in the great rubble, lovingly extracting them. She'd bring these things back and refurbish them, not entirely sure what they were once used for, or how they were supposed to work, still she patched them together as best she could, cleaning them, and occasionally combining them if their union felt warranted to her. They had their own wants and needs, these relics, and she was hesitant to impose.

Today she had a special feeling. There was a treasure out here for her, she could tell. It was a shimmer, a glint, that she could feel, she just knew. But she didn't tempt the sensation, she didn't rush it. And she went about her normal routine, jumping from one pile to the next, lifting the corner here and there peeking into crevices of the past. Then she could hear it, a trilling. And raising one more slab, there it was. It had a long thin handle with slats or steps and ended in a curving, multi-colored section. There were wires on it going from end to end. And she ran her hands across the wires and the sounds made sense to her, like she'd heard them before.