Entry to this week’s Friday Fictioneers! Image courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, our lovely host.
At the start of winter, the four gathered around the ring. Born into servitude, beasts-of-burden they were. If they did their work, a haystack would magically appear in the ring the following day.
Life was good until one Monday, the four woke-up to an empty feed. Bewildered, they redoubled their efforts in vain as the ring would stayed empty all week. By next Monday, three were in denial, believing things will improve if they stuck to their old ways. The forth left to find green pastures in the white landscape. By winter’s end, only one survived, no longer a beast-of-burden.
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Adrift at sea, I watch the sun set.
It tarries a bit, longer than I expect.
Perhaps its the setting, a horizon unbroken.
Waiting for a sign, some message, a token.
And then she appeared. Liberty’s flame.
Courage I asked her, torch bearer, no dame.
So she hands me a lantern, and whispers in my ear.
Light for the night, may others appear.
And then she vanished, the lantern ablaze.
I pick up my paddle, spirits raised.
West I go!
“The plebs. Why do they leave? Don’t they know all roads lead back to Rome?”
“Their shepherd understands this but he must delay, lest slaughter and slavery reach his people.”
“So exodus he proffers but revolution he disguises. Marching in circles to cull the weak, breeding the strong to fight the stronger.“
“Would the empire be so blind? Wolves can smell their sheep a hundred leagues away.”
“The empire let them go for they no longer desire food but a challenge.”
“And the shepherd?”
“A sheep-wolf or a wolf-sheep. Makes no difference.”