Cannibalism of The Objects

The objects sat for a long time in silence awaiting the return of their creator. They knew he would return, because they were merely stylized, left without much of the detail they craved. Their environment was a simple geometric enclosure of uniform shade.

"Maybe he won't come back," said the Sphere after some time.

"Nonsense," said the Clock. "He's only been gone a few hours. After he created me, he surely needed time to replenish his energy." The others mostly ignored the Clock, whose sense of time didn't last any longer than the passage of its hour hand, and who had a vastly inflated sense of self-importance.

They all had to admit that the creator's impressive solidity of presence had begun to waver ever so slightly after the Clock's creation, though. If only that effort hadn't been wasted on such an unworthy object! they all thought. Of them all, the Clock had the most detail--its inner workings were somewhat fuzzy, but they all envied the lavishness of the serifs on its numbers, the baroque intricacy of its hands.

The Sphere's conjecture had gotten them all thinking. What if the creator never did return? How could they possibly fill the void they all felt as an increasing ache, of their own incompleteness?

The Table, which was the nearest to the Clock, succumbed to temptation first, its dissatisfaction over its dull cylindrical legs and square top overflowing. "Give us some of that," it said imperiously.

"What? What do you mean?"

"You heard me!" the Table growled, and set to.

"Here, stop that!" the Clock wailed. The rest of the objects watched uncomfortably, but made no move to intervene.

Soon the Table fell back, sated, its legs now gently fluted, its top beveled at the edges. "Come on, there's plenty for everyone."

The Sphere, knowing that its statement had brought this on, felt a brief wash of guilt, which made it even more determined. It rolled over to the stunned Clock(loss of detail being a hard thing to cope with)and soon had given itself a few shallow meridian grooves. Soon the other objects followed. The Cube roughened its surface and added some random discolorations. The Rack gnarled its hooks and took on a wood-grain finish. The Cord gleefully resolved itself into an intricate braid of smaller strands.

Then, suddenly it seemed, the Clock was nothing more than an inert disc, barely distinguishable from the wall behind it. The rest of the objects fell back, confused, each taking itself unobtrusively as far away from its compatriots as it could. None of them had liked the Clock very much, but, they wondered, had mere dislike warranted this, this outright cannibalism? They searched themselves for traces of the Clock's personality, for surely it remained no longer in the barely- visible disk, so must have been absorbed in them somehow.

And then, after the disgust at their recent actions, came the fear of the consequences. What would happen if the creator came back now? What if the Clock had been right, and he had been merely resting to replenish his energy? What form would his disappointment(if not anger)take? And if the creator did not return, what then? How long would it be before they grew dissatisfied again(for they were still incomplete, all of them, they felt it)and selected another of their number to be a victim?

Perhaps they should try to escape. But where would they go? Was there anything outside their enclosure? Was the creator busy there? Would his attention be drawn to their escape? And could they even escape at all?

The objects sat for a long time in silence once again, but this time the silence was filled with shame and fear.

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com