Flickers of Light by Carleton Chinner

Tahr ag Yura stood upon the shore-line and watched time pass. Around it, tides ebbed and flowed bringing flotsam and spume on the wild days. Light blossomed and waned, illuminating a barren shore. The seas rose as slow constellations wheeled around the Pole star then fell as the world turned cold.

The seas rose again bringing green to the shore. Great creatures came and went like shadows dancing across the wall and still the tides moved. Tahr ag Yura observed it all, unmoving.

A time came when fast ones came and began to build. Impermanent tents at first that blossomed and withered as spring followed autumn. Later, unnatural permanence like cubes of chrysolite crystal cast along the shore-line.

It sank roots deep earth, feeling slow pulsing magma throbbing like some primaeval clock. “What are these fast ones?” it asked. No answer came. None was expected, Tahr ag Yura had unremembered the songs it used to sing with family, the ringing of crystalline rock incandescent with joy, the shudder of hidden caves.

The fast ones built and multiplied until great masses thronged the shore. They rode the waters on vessels cast from the bones of the world. Movement passed in flickers of light as a shaft of darkness grew from the shore. Each flicker of passing sun brought the shaft nearer until regret cold as winters beyond memory pierced Tahr ag Yura’s ancient heart.


About the author: Carleton Chinner is the author of the Cities of the Moon series of science fiction novels and a reviewer for the Aussie Speculative Fiction Review. He is an Australian born writer who grew up on a remote farm in South Africa, where the trip to the town library was the highlight of his week. He devoured anything science fiction, fantasy and horror. And, when that wasn’t enough, turned to urban legend and traditional tribal histories which combined to provide a heady brew of stories.

He settled in Australia as an adult but not before turning up unarmed at a gunfight, discovering dead bodies and fighting off sharks while spearfishing.

Image credit: Photo by Tim Gill “Winter in St. Joseph”, Explore, February 20, 2013. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Image link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lapstrake/8493099131/


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