Aphelion Issue 245, Volume 23
November 2019
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page


by Susan Anwin

The dragonfly-man came out of time. It wasn't a man, at least not the way mortals interpreted the notion. For the time being it had its dwelling in the ancient forests of An t-Aonach Môr, because this was where things were about to happen. It watched as Alaªda, He of Nine Names, first tried to claw his way through, and as his consort, Mistress of Dreams, the agent behind his madness walked soundlessly under the giant barustokkr trees.

The dragonfly-man dreamed its ageless, dreamless dreams of endless dimensions, of past, present and future and waited, while generations came and went, and the veil of reality got thinner and thinner under Alaªda's claws.

It stood in the stone circle on the top of the Gate hill--known to humans as Geas-hill--itself as motionless as a stone slab.

She stepped out from behind the central dolmen, a woman-shaped hole on the world, her face looming in the background of blackness like bone. "What are you still doing here?"

"Doing my thing, just like you do yours. Why this world though? I can't help wondering."

"Are you worried about it? That's not in your nature."

"Just curious."

She seemed suddenly lost. "We chose it or powers mightier than us--does it make a difference?"

The dragonfly-man contemplated the bottomless abyss behind the flimsy veil of all the worlds, and the amorphous things moving in it with a dreamy slowness like sea currents.

"I don't like the idea of beings mightier than us acting randomly, or if they act according to laws, whose laws are those?"

"You are just an observer. It is not your place to worry about such things, or even have an opinion at all."

She spoke true, the dragonfly-man knew. This world's fate was decided, and they all did their job, it observing, she sowing the seeds of chaos, since they had no other choice--choices were reserved for mortals, as a meager comfort for being the slaves of time.

"You know one will come who'll try to stop this."

Maybe not so meager, the dragonfly-man pondered, as it watched her travel across the abyss, the shapeless forms recoiling from her way.


© 2017 Susan Anwin

Bio: Ms. Anwin was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. Her flash-fiction "Talk of Armadale Trees" was featured in the anthology My Favourite Place, published by the Scottish Book Trust in 2012. She has had a number of short stories published at Aphelion as well, including People of the Green Cloud in our March, 2017 issue.

E-mail: Susan Anwin

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.