© KJ Hannah Greenberg
Francesca regarded the mottled upper limit. Beneath her organs of locomotion, a motif of light and dark repeated, except unlike the sky’s uncompromised positive and negative spaces, the shapes below her treads were trampled.
She tried again to roll gently and to ignore the yellow/green forbs, which bent from her chassis. Meanwhile, Janice, whose drooping filaments made fresh havoc, lopped alongside of Francesca. Per no perceivable algorithm, Janice’s strings sliced bits of leaves and tiny buds from both twining plants and ground cover. Janice paid no heed.
Behind Janice trailed Sandy, a young malcontent who made bug eyes at most of the indigenous birds. Sandy realized that the thicket, which they transversed, was beginning to offer fewer tangles. His understanding came from an anomaly; he had looked forward, instead of upward, the instant that a small, hard object got caught in his runners.
Sandy suctioned that seed out from the grooved surface of his lowest extremity and placed it, carefully, in a side cabinet. He then wheeled on, pausing only to photograph a skyfish that snarked by. Thereafter, he yielded his consciousness to his mentations.
In fourteen cycles, there would be another Coming. Unlike Francesca or Janice, Sandy had not existed at the previous Juncture. Such a dearth of experience, though, failed to protect him from his cohorts’ constant references to the past Happening. While not invested in his physical differences from those earlier models, Sandy remained concerned with his pod’s constant, exclusive conversations about the last Occasion.
As Sandy processed those notion, the bird that had been snidely chirping at him, stopped, and dove. For his part, the young engine, an objector with few qualms about resisting his primary encoding, felt zero compunction; he hit back. Sandy missed, however, and found himself toppling into the bushes. Among those layered twigs and leaves, he espied the feathered bandit.
The moment Sandy had that avian within reach of his foremost appendage, the bird bit Sandy flitted and then fell. Francesca would not approve. Janice would mock.
Righting himself, Sandy moved deeper into the unevenly illuminated arena. A series of measured events followed that involving tail feathers, snipped wires, head feathers, and a punctured cable, At last, the mechanized man captured the small fiend. Carefully placing his pinchers around the critter’s neck, he demanded an apology.
The bird spat at him.
Sandy squeezed gently. He did not want to anger Francesca or be labeled “clumsy” by Janice.
The bird’s eyes bulged and its breath became raspy. It indicated that it would comply if released.
Sandy opened his claw. The bird splatted on the ground. Sandy, sensing a little liquid leaking from the thing’s eye, photographed the moment, collected the droplets, crystallized and compressed them, and placed them into his tiny, refrigerated slot. In short shrift, he caught up with Francesca and Janice.
The two were in communication with Luol, who was so eager to read their records that she forget to examine Sandy’s data. Even later, when the bird, whose announcement was to have heralded the Arrival, failed to appear, no one thought to check the Sandy’s tapes.
During 2008-2009, KJ Hannah Greenberg’s lightly pert and somewhat exuberant, layered writing has been published or accepted for publication by: 365 Tomorrows, AlienSkin Magazine, AntipodeanSF, Bards and Sages, Bewildering Stories, Cantaraville, Cerulean Rain, Della Donna, Doorknobs and Bodypaint, Fallopian Falafel , Fictionville, Flashshot, Flash Scribe, G. Stern’s Hag Samaiach Anthology, Getting Something Read, Hamodia, Horizons, Joyful!, Ken*Again, Language and Culture Magazine, Literary Mama, Mishpacha’s Family First, Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine, Morpheus Tales, Motherwords, Parenting Express, Poetica Magazine, Poetry Super Highway, Shakespeare’s Monkey Review, Short Story Library, SMITH Magazine, Static Movement, Miriam Liebermann’s The Best is Yet to Be, The Blue Jew Yorker, The Clarity of the Night, The Externalist, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Woman, The Lesser Flamingo, The Mother Magazine, The New Absurdist, The New Vilna Review, The Shine Journal, Tuesday Shorts, Type-A Mom, Unfettered Verse, Winamop and Word Catalyst.