From the Dreams of Morpheus HTML version
From the Dreams of Morpheus: Five Tales of Fantasy
and Science Fiction
Copyright 2009 Steven Ford
A Special Hell
I decree that the fifty-eighth year of my life begins today. The
golden rays of Tau Ceti once again have found their way to the line I
etched in the sandstone so long ago. Warmer days have come and Ceti
Prime has completed another circuit of its star. A Ceti year is shorter
than an Earth year by 36 days, but I have compensated accordingly.
What year it is on Earth is beyond my reckoningÈor my interest.
Happy birthday to me.
As soon as I drive the cold stiffness from my bones, I will work my
way down to the grotto where the Blessed Mother promised that I
would find sustenance every morning. She has never failed me in all
these years. And after consuming what She has provided, I will pray my
ragged Rosary and mediate on the mysteries. The Rosary always brings
For now, I drink in the peace of the brilliant dawn. As Ceti rises,
the sand crabsÏat least creatures that approximate sand crabs--will
begin their chorus. Their staccato clicks will fill the canyon and
provoke the dust stingers to take flight. Once the crabs creep from their
burrows, they will visit me, as they always do. The crabs are curious
and intelligent. In my first year of exile, we reached an understanding.
They will not rob from my food supply and I will not roll boulders into
their hive. The crabs have respected our treaty ever since.
There is so little I can recall these days. My past is irrevocably
fading. When Mary first appeared to me in my twentieth year, She
announced that I was condemned to this place for the murder of a
family. I buried my face in the pink sand and wept in shame at Her feet.
Thank God I had been spared the hideous memory of what I had done.