This is an old story I dug up and edited. I’ve had mixed reactions from various readers, some of whom couldn’t figure out what was going on. What do you think is happening here?
Enos McKenzie stood in his field, searching, peering with squinted eyes into the blue depths of the sky. He saw nothing. If there were answers, they remained hidden.
It was a clear, kite flying sort of day. When he was a boy, he would spend hours outside on days like this, his hands made raw from the twine that kept his kite from flying into forever. But he hadn’t been a boy for forty years, and there were no children to fly kites today.
Enos felt the sudden urge to climb the attic stairs and find his Fabulous Flyer. Just knock off forty years of dust and send the bright piece of balsa and plastic into the sky: a tribute to all the kite fliers who would never be.
He brushed off these thoughts and resumed scanning the skies. The wind moaned and swirled and spat cold dust into his hard, seamed face. He shielded his faded eyes with a large, calloused hand and coughed lightly.
“A mistake,” the television had said after the cornfields had erupted into white fire. “A worm, a missing line of code, a hole in the firewall…a simple mistake.”
Enos didn’t know from firewalls and codes, but he knew about worms, about how one could find it’s way into one ear and eventually ruin acres. He supposed the same could happen anywhere, especially underground, in the darkness, where forgotten secrets dreamed silently and waited for the words that would send them flying.
He sighed. There were no answers. Not in the skies, not in the attic of the home that had housed three generations of McKenzies, not in the silos with their awakened payloads of death. What’s done is done. He turned his back on the graves of his wife and children, seven piles of newly-turned earth lined up like the little Indians in the song he used to sing to baby Michele.
He coughed again, tasted blood in the back of his throat, and smiled grimly. He would be joining the girls soon. There would be no one to bury him, and when the time came he would simply lie next to Michelle’s grave and sing to her until he slept.
He spat on the ground towards horizon, where the clouds sprung from the earth, a swarm of poisonous toadstools, each radiating silent, invisible death on the black winds.
“Score another point for modern technology,” he muttered.
Enos walked back into the blank, silent house.
“Score another point for mankind.”
“Enos” © 2012 James Knipp