Flash fiction: Can of dreams and conquests


Once upon a time, there was, and still is in all probability, a world parallel with ours in which the western Romanised world never recovered from the sack of Rome by the Visigoths. After the discovery of the Americas by one of Alaric’s descendants, the Visigoths shared the entire known world with the Mongols in the east. The world was not a peaceful place, but it was dynamic and aggressive in every sphere. Not surprisingly, after a thousand years since the last conquests, Visigoth and Mongol blood craved new pastures to explore, and, if possible, invade.

Putting together their joint strength and technological knowledge, they were searching the universe for new worlds to colonize, when scientists and astronomers in our world were being burnt at the stake. The moon, their own bright satellite, held a constant fascination, and became their base for exploratory flights across far galaxies.

One man, Atallus discovered the secret of the white goddess when he found the canister half-buried in moondust. The canister contained artefacts and primitive attempts at reproducing the beauty of nature. He had seen them, examined minutely the different creations. Visigoth wise men and wise women assumed the canister had been shot into space from a distant planet and were for sending out a vessel to discover which one.

Atallus though, knew better. Standing in the motionless dust, watching his blue planet as it turned slowly, bathed in the light of the sun, he finally understood why it appeared so strangely unfamiliar. This dead rock, that lived in legend and story, bathed in glorious silver, drawing up the tides, filling the Earth with women’s magic, was the key, the gateway, the place where worlds touched and nothing was as it seemed.

He bent and picked up a handful of dust and fragments. This was here. It was also there. The primitives who had stuffed the sum of their achievements into a tin can and tossed it into space in an act of arrogance and pride, populated his planet. They were on another plane, so close they breathed the same atmosphere, but they were invisible. Except from here. Here the worlds touched. Here, with moon dust about his ankles, Atallus saw their Earth.

Atallus grinned to himself. No need to scour the universe for conquests. No need to travel light years into the unknown. There was conquest here, so close at hand he could see it with the naked eye. The moon goddess showed them the way. His engineers would plot a path from here to there, passing through the planes of being and entering a new world—their world, that he would make his world. After a thousand years of idleness, the Visigoths were on the march again.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

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