It´s Three Word Wednesday. The words: charm, robust, feast.
”She´s strong, this ol´ gal,” he patted the iron cylinder lovingly. ”Robust constitution. Russian originally, they don´t make ´em like this anymore.” He wiped his hands on a checked towel and went on with his tools, adjusting stuff, humming cheerfully.
The boy wasn´t impressed. It was the middle of the night and he shivered in his worn cotton shirt, his skin sickly pale. The air was dense, smelling richly of rotting vegetation, flowers and moss. Its dampness condensed on everything. He really, really didn´t want to die in these Southern woods.
The old man continued, hopefully mending his crazy flying machine, and the boy slept, exhausted.
Dawn came, red and weary, an ancient sun heaving itself over the edge of the horizon.
The boy woke up, covered in sweat, hot with fever. Ants crawled over him and midges feasted on him. No strength to move and nowhere to go, he thought nonsensically. Too weak to manage hysteria he surrendered to the vermin of land and sky. Everything crawling, flying, buzzing seemed to recognize the scent of his warm skin. He was reduced to a stash of food, existing only to provide those who fed on living blood.
He began to understand the deeper meaning of dying in woodlands like these. He would cease to function, yes, but in some ways he would be more alive than ever. Flies and beatles would lay their eggs in his still warm body, and those who live on putrefying flesh and juices would come to enthusiastically drive their haustella through his decomposing skin. Trees would stretch their roots, enter him from underneath, penetrate his intestines, wind around his bones and crush his heart, drinking what was left of him. And finally he´d be soil, nurturing future growths. Such a loathsome prospect; to merge with these woods, to become one with the source of this sweet smell of rot.
”You hangin´ in there?” The old man loomed above him, a defined solidness against the ruthless sunlight.
”Here, have some water,” he said, lifting the boy´s upper body and forcing a bottleneck between his lips. The water was warm and tasted of sewage, but he gulped it down nevertheless.
”Well, I´m done, she works like a charm. I think we´re ready to take off,” he continued.
The boy, in his feverish haze, managed to marvel at the old man´s easy happiness, his light tone of voice and the brightness in his eyes. Such an absolute confidence in himself and the future. His kind will save this world, the boy thought as strong arms enveloped him, lifted him from the hungry grounds and carried him away from the cursed light into their last fragment of civilization.