The Fruit of the Tree Is a Story that None Must Tell
852 words long
Serpents come in many guises, bearing every kind of fruit. But none of them bother to lie. Why should they, when the truth is weapon enough?
Notes from the author:
During August, I participated in Gabriela Pereira's "Conquer the Craft in 29 Days", in which participants were emailed a new prompt every day. The prompt for Day 4 was "Random Word Box." From the list given, I chose the words history, secret, victory, and level. The secret history that was very deliberately not written by the victors; the arguable accomplishment of "leveling up."
This fictionette required more revision than most. It meandered. It was incoherent. My ideas about the narrator and the story they were telling changed with every paragraph. Though I want Friday Fictionettes to showcase the raw daily process as much as possible, I wanted more to make this story hang together. I think that now, maybe, it does. And it has literary aspirations. It wants to grow up to Miltonian. Isn't that precious?
The first version, the incoherent meandering one, ended very differently: "And now, if you'll excuse us, we have work to do with a species of methane-breathing mantis shrimp on your Venus." I keep getting these funny story ideas and then developing all the funny right out of them. My story "Lambing Season," while we're at it, started out as a joke about a coven of knitting witches who forgot to bind off before summoning. Get it? "Always bind (off) before summoning!" Maybe it's just me.
Your people have a saying: History is written by the victors. Thus, because you are alive the tell the tale, because your children are alive to hear it, you consider yourselves to have won.
And that is good. That is proper. That is the conclusion my people left you to reach when they abandoned you on the battlefield. It is a necessary condition to their victory that the losers write the story of the war.
I will say this only once: Cover your ears. Refuse to listen. I am their enemy, but I am not your friend.
Let no one say I did not give you a choice.
The truth is, of course, that you were the losers of this war. And it was a slow war, a war in secret, a subtle war waged behind the scenes for untold millennia during which you did not even fight back. The rise of agriculture, the birth of industry, the aggregation of knowledge culminating in pinpoint explosions of genius, the triumphs and bloodshed of nations and states--all proceeding according to my people's plan. We let slip strategic pieces of information. We pushed events along. And we did it from much closer than you might think. Since the first of you began to walk upright, we shadowed your every footsteps. We watched you and we manipulated you from a place that was not a place, just off to the side (that was not a physical "side") of your existence.
But you became aware--that was our first victory....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for September 12, 2014. This excerpt also appears at Wattpad. The fictionette appears in its entirety at Patreon and is available to all Patrons pledging at least $1/month.