Stony Silence by Craig J. Clark

They sat across the table from each other, unblinking. The one on the left was glaring at the one on the right, who was glaring right back. They weren’t engaged in a glaring contest (a close cousin of the staring contest, only with more ire), but they might as well have been.

They both sat rigid in their chairs, their hands resting on the table between them. One could imagine the two of them starting a shoving match with it, but neither of them seemed inclined to instigate one. Each appeared to be waiting for the other to make the first move.

If one were to follow their lines of sight, one would see that they weren’t looking into each other’s eyes. Rather, the one on the left was gazing at the one on the right’s forehead and the one on the right’s attention was fixed on the one on the left’s nose. Whether this was due to the fact that the one on the left was a few inches taller than the one on the right was open to speculation.

The one on the left’s mouth was open, but no words were being spoken by it. The one on the right’s lips were pursed as if ready to whistle, but no sound issued forth from them. They gave every indication of not wanting to listen to each other even if they were making sounds.

Set before each of them was a plate of food that hadn’t been touched since it was served. Long since cooled, if indeed it had ever been warm, the food was no longer capable of providing either of them with nourishment. From time to time a bird would swoop down to peck at one or both of the plates before flying off again, unsatisfied. This didn’t phase either of them.

Neither did the stink that emanated from the rotting food. It would have emanated from both of them, too, if they were capable of sweating, but it was unseasonably cool out and their bodies weren’t doing anything to work up a sweat.

In fact, their bodies weren’t doing anything at all. Neither of them had moved in days. Neither of them had spoken, eaten, breathed or excreted. They were both cool to the touch and not just because they were outdoors on a chilly night. They weren’t dead, though. They were statues.


| Leave a comment

Man, for a moment there, I was thinking, "Come on, Craig, this is more than a little predictable." Then came the last sentence and laughing (from me) and an exclamation of "Awesome!"

Nice job turning your audience's detective tendencies around on them (er... me). Great stuff.

I, too, was initially worried that this was going to be another story of two robots that were programmed to recreate the final arm wrestling scene from the film "Over the Top" while on opposite sides of a lunch counter, as a publicity stunt. That the one on the right was "several inches shorter" made me think it was an early Cobretti Systems Mark.II SlyBot.

That the food was rotten and the pair unresponsive made me think it was all happening at a closed diner and that you were giving a nod towards the coming holiday weekend; that the robots were in sleep mode. (Because God forbid the lazy busboy could spare even a minute to activate the robots' clean-up subroutine before jetting off to see his best "girl.")

When I realised what was what, the story scared the crud out of me because I couldn't help but wonder WHY food had been left for the statues... Was it some kind of tribute designed to keep them from animating ad destroying the nearby village?

Why was the food rotting? Did not one in the village care enough about his fellows to keep fresh food on the Table of Appeasement? Was the village in the United States? Did the whole village hate America?

Maybe that whole gay-marrying, non-flag-pin-wearing village deserved to be sundered by the stone guardians...

Regardless of what later happened, or didn't, pretty cool stuff.

Leave a comment

Entry Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by published on May 22, 2008 6:15 AM.

If the Shoe Fits by Chris Leavens was the previous entry in this blog.

Overgrown by Chris Leavens is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.