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Updated: Nov 26, 2023

A Flash fiction story meant for a story collection currently in the works. (Translated from the Norwegian original by the author.)


The Child is Father of the Man (William Wordsworth/The Beach Boys)

The child is born, they told each other.

On this day, the first year began. It was the eighth day of the fourteenth month, and it had been decided in advance that when the child was born, the reckoning of time would begin.

Six years had already passed; these were counted as The Preparatory Years. The atmosphere was thin but there was enough air at sea level for the two hundred and forty-one human beings. Also, more oxygen was continually being produced at the fission facilities being set up by the robots.

Six years passed before the planet saw the first human being born. The first year had come.

Everyone gathered on the large grassy plain in front of the town, holding in excess of one hundred and twenty buildings, all half buried in the ground. Everyone, that is, except the woman who had given birth, and the team who had cared for her.

The smaller sun had barely crept up over the horizon. It was still chilly, and the grass was wet from the night's dew. The door to the hospital opened, and they came out: the woman with a swaddled baby in her arms, the medical team behind her.

The child is born! The first year has begun! The shouts turned into murmurs.

The woman removed the swaddling clothes and lifted the child, naked and squinting. There was silence. The grass and the rising sun stood still. So did the planet's indigenous fauna, without the humans noticing.

And then sounded the first child's cry this world had heard.

© Copyright 2023 by Jørn A Jensen


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