Take Only What You Need

When the seagulls started getting big we took to riding them, fashioning saddles so as many as nine of us could ride at a time. We’d fly over the icy ocean or up the snowy cliffs, looking for more survivors to airlift back to the encampments.

Today I found six survivors, all women, who were just north of the Cape, trekking single file along the ridge. We swooped down and landed some yards ahead of them. I dismounted and waited, smiling to show that I meant no harm.

The first one came straight up to me and swung some kind of an ax, cutting clear through the front of my suit. I collapsed to my knees and fell forward as the six mounted the seagull and took off without me.

I lay there bloody until the sun spun to the horizon. I had no intention of letting the night radiation transform me, so I decided to end it all.

I took out my blade and went to cut my suit’s life support tube but just then I saw a miniature blue fairy hovering inches above the ground. Don’t, she said. She motioned toward a hundred other blue fairies hovering nearby. We need you alive.

I stared at them, the little naked hovering pixies, looking so innocent and harmless. But I knew the minute I fell asleep they would divide up my consciousness and consume it like candy.

I cut the tube and the exiting suit air hissed and whistled. The blue fairy shook her little fairy braids. Minutes later five of her fairy friends had sewn the tubes back together. The loss of air made me drowsy and just as I was dropping off I heard one say, This one has enough layers of consciousness for all of us. No one get greedy. Take only what you need…



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