The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Ouroboros Tries a New Menu
by Alex Grehy
You can blame the plankton.
Ouroboros, serpent, wrapped around the world, chewing his own tail for all eternity. Content, it seems, to keep the planet together for whatever life-forms called it home. No need to ask for more when your purpose is fulfilled by lying there, just chewing your own tail.
Imagine how it changed when sea levels rose and tides flowed high and waves washed over his face. Imagine chewing your own tail, all flavour long leached out, then the taste of seawater, the bitter salt and umami wash of fishy plankton. Imagine swallowing that first mouthful when all your parched mouth had known was saliva. Imagine taste buds energised for the first time.
Small wonder, then, that his eyes opened wide and his lips parted in an O of surprise. That his mouth opened wider than ever before, and that his tail, white as blanched asparagus, flopped out. That his throat, coruscating with the savour of the sea, would try a roar, then two, then more.
Now hear his roar and the sharp screams of people who sense the wrongness of the world. Who sense that all might fall apart without the girdle that kept their world constrained. Who sense that when the cycle of life and death is broken, only death remains.
Ouroboros discovers his tongue, his teeth. Discovers the softness of jellyfish and octopi; the crunch of cockleshells; then he discovers bones. How they crunch and crack and how the soft marrow flows so smooth across his palate. He discovers that his awakened appetite wants more.
The people wail and pray as, all around them, animals fall prey. They pray for their lives, but the serpent has tasted Jonah in the whale, craves the flesh of those who once believed they were invincible. They wail in terror for their doom, but not for long. Ouroboros feasts, and will clear his plate all too soon.
Fiction © Copyright Alex Grehy
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Alex Grehy:
After a lifetime of writing technical non-fiction, Alex Grey is fulfilling her dream of writing poems and stories that engage the reader’s emotions. Her work has been featured by a wide range of publications including Siren’s Call, Raconteur, Bookends Review, and Toasted Cheese. One of her comic poems is also available via a worldwide network of public fiction dispensers managed by French publisher, Short Edition. Her ingredients for contentment are narrow boating, greyhounds, singing and chocolate. It is a sweet life, yet Alex’ original view of the world has led to her best friend to say ‘For someone so lovely, you’re very twisted!
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A fantastic story.
Alex is so gifted for spinning folklore-ish tales. I look forward to your poems and flashes, like this one! We are doomed. Thank you!
Thak you – you’re always so encouraging 🙂
You had me at plankton! I’ve been day-dreaming about plankton since two months! I find them fascinating and then you connect it to Ouroboros! Strangely way, I wrote a poem 2 months ago about fathers and their existence in life and after-life, and I relate to this in so many ways!