For your #flashfriday pleasure:
"Before the Birds"
by Michelle Ristuccia
Before the birds, a multitude of butterflies covered the red planet like a mass of ions swarming a copper electrode. Trying to track the path of any one butterfly would have been as impossible as violating the uncertainty principle, yet their collective effects were easily quantified. It was they who brought the first seeds through the near-perfect vacuum of space. It was they who excavated, buried, and hydrated, for there was no other complex organic life present to accomplish the task. No other creatures competed with them or preyed upon them, and so they terraformed efficiently. Their reward was the vibrant, verdant forest of blossoms that was shelter, sustenance, and recreation.
Eventually, the blooms released spores which were carried into the uppermost atmosphere by the fluttering wings of the mating season. There, gravity lost it's hold on the spores and this left a broad spectrum message for the birds. That's how they always find their prey.
Now, the birds feast.
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This piece is upcoming at the Pendragon Variety podcast. Visit pendragonvariety.com for this and other pieces by me.