Friday, November 17, 2006

The Beautiful Ones

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

They appeared over the near horizon, the beautiful ones. Before I caught sight, Edna threw a rock skyward. I wrapped myself around her.

"Stop that," I whispered. They glowed in blues and pinks, floated up and over, never looking at us. The rock would have meant nothing to them even if Edna had the arm to reach them. It was the others I worried about, the ones in the gathering crowds that might have her head for threatening their sky gods. But all faces turned upward; if they had seen anything, it had already been forgotten.

The beautiful ones were here for some other reason, not for us, but we took everything we wanted, drinking in their feathered headdresses (or heads) and carnival costumes. We took it all and there wasn't a damned thing those divine beings could do to stop us. It was the greatest pleasure some of our sad little lives ever witnessed.

No pleasure for Edna, though. Yet as much as she hated their beauty, even she couldn't look away. Maybe that was why she hated them.

For her sake, I looked at her. Only her. Edna's own beauty shone with their reflected light, a little brighter in the wet stripes which ran down her face.

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