This story was written with these prompts, provided by the very talented Katja Schneider:
The number 8
A gentle smile
Now, I will write the story. “When the dog bites, the bees sting,” Katja said in her message. I think that means…the story will start in a barren place, like Mars or Kansas. The story takes place on the back of a person who has sat in the sun for too long. A person who hides from clouds. A man or woman with a gentle smile, whose skin is flaking off in pieces that look like shards of mica. A person whose sweat attracts hummingbirds. This story takes place on the wet eyelashes of a butterfly in long transit. This story takes place over and over again, in all places, at all times, all of the time. This story is about a number not wanting to be a noun or an adjective anymore. This story is about a number wanting to turn into a verb. It concerns death the way everything concerns death (especially life.) It is a war story. A story of predator and prey. It is a story of growing up, reaching for the top, moving to a deluxe apartment in the sky (like literally in the sky. Like floating.) This is the story of numbers that were created by idle men pretending to be busy with their lives, men whose aim was to swallow and replace the idea we had in our heads that meant “more than five and less than ten.” This is that old story. I am sure you have heard it before (and probably hate it like I do, because it is a pun that cannot be avoided if one wants to count in decades) but I am going to tell it again right here: 7 8 9. Seven eight nine. Seven ate nine.