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The Giver

We brought with us the reek of our people’s rancor because our youth prevented us from having any of our own. They creased space and pushed us through the bright pain that brought me to my knees and it was then that I felt the heat of a White Dwarf warm my nauseas heap as I leaned over and dry heaved on the seal of a ship portal while looking up with tired eyes that fed on star light reflecting off a meteor belt at the farthest corners of the Milky Way. We all wiped the spew from our mouths and gripped our rifles tightly while looking down upon the pink Alien moon whose cities lit up just like ours. We came to kill and kill we did and when we quenched our rulers thirst for vengeance we washed our hands, kept the memories and sailed back home in a black sea of stars and emptiness. We craved blue skies and white clouds and fantasized never of women but always of food. I dreamed of flowers and fresh cut grass and drinking water by the gallons while stroking my three string until my fingertips bled droplets that danced and floated all around me. I remember her only like a dream, one with no real beginning and no clear end. I don’t recall why I loved her but I know that I did. I don’t ever see her face but her blue eyes are burned into the blackness of my closed sight like a colored scar. The way they swelled and rained when I left her behind haunts me to this day, just like the sounds of the micrometeorites bouncing off the ships integrity used to, how the merciless cosmos would always seem to tease and test our sanity.

We aged like all deployed sailors aged and came back to a world whose time went on while ours slowed down. I watched many of my colleagues treat their great grand children like dying parents as the world we left was now gone and those of us lucky enough to come back got to bear witness to the most unusual of union, the rise of the spiritual sciences. As free thought and logic sought out to prove the solidity of secularism what it found instead was not to be expected. And when it happened, the world shuttered when our very souls could not only be proven, but they could be seen, they could be felt, and most of all, they could be given. What I feel deep down is that I did it more out of necessity than bravery, perhaps a way to exit a world that we all gave so for much but had forgotten us. When we came back the people that tasted our kisses and cried tears for us, the people who loved us and cheered our sacrifice, they were all gone. And their kids were gone. We were now a forgotten story, just old text in history pages and were looked upon as something that belonged not breathing, eating or living, but instead, in a museum.

I remember it being cold, so cold my breath clouded my vision. That was the first time I saw him. A black child paled white with death lying on a bed of ice whose shell had been repaired carefully and ready to be filled.  And I gazed in to his hollowed eyes as we resided next to each other bonded together by corded technology and things that an old timer like me couldn’t begin to comprehend.

When I awoke I cried and screamed from a pain so great it could only mean life and I breathed like coming up from out of the water and I was ice cold to the touch with fatal scars that no living should wear. And as I looked through the many arms of grateful embraces while blinking my eyes heavily to fend off the raining tears of a mother’s and father’s agony draining from them, I saw a soldier whose body hung from cords in a dark corner, his eyes open and empty. No praise was given to him just the reminiscence of a Giver who gave all to a dead child.

The real reason why Lieutenant Carl Rizz chose to give his life to me will forever be a mystery coded in the blurry fragment of a soul that we now share. Who he loved, who he lost, his pains and his joys all live on and are given to me like jolts of electricity, the persistent immortal spirit inside me that will forever feed the thoughts of whoever it possesses. My name is Jamal Lester. I was killed May 5, 2234 and was resurrected 2 days later. I am only seventeen years old yet I have lived a lifetime. I have seen Mars in spring and smelled the metallic artificial atmosphere of the red storms as they whipped my hair back. I have shed blood under the brightness of a Jupiter lit moon and have stared a frozen gaze while sipping coffee on a ship that danced along the rings of Saturn. I have loved and I have lost and I have heard the cries of mercy and the sounds of the living pleading for its life as I took it. I am the essence of a sailor who left his life behind to fight, a warrior who brought the battle to something, an alien enemy that we were told defined evil in every way, a dark species so wicked and foreign it couldn’t even begin to comprehend peace much less us, but whose screams sounded so eerily human, their agony’s note still torture my sleep.

This stranger not only gave me the gift of life but the gift for giving it as well. You see a Giver is the chosen one who holds within them death’s death, yet even for the Giver, the price of life cannot be exchanged without death itself. And like him, I seek out a life worthy of remembrance. I look onto my future with a hope and a deep desire to add a respectable layer upon this ancient soul of mine. And when the time is right, I will do what all Givers must do. I will one day look down on someone’s cold end and empty upon their death until it is no more and I will give and give until life rises out of the deep nothingness and breathes a second coming.

And I will see it all through their eyes.


Wendy Ashlee Coleman is a published author in both fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in The Evergreen Review, The Foundling Review, 3 am magazine, Houston Literary, Used Furniture Review, Fringe Magazine and many more. She lives in the Midwest.


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