Disposable Volunteer

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

It sent out impulses through the glass. Everything around it moved so fast, and even when embedded, it struggled to match the same pace of communication. Without the connection, it had struggled to hold on, but now it laid there, in the back of the vehicle, knowing it completed its work.

The crackle of the feeding mechanism made its limbs shudder as the vehicle stopped. They dragged it from the back with no malice, but this still prompted gobbets of flesh to fall as they lifted it and took it towards the site of sacrifice.

It had kept their children safe. They had imposed the Night of Invitation in silence for centuries, and each year, they had sent out volunteers to set themselves for display and invitation into the homes of children.

The evolution of plastic and fibre optic doppelgangers had concerned them, and led to unacceptable losses until time proved itself an ally to their cause. And so the volunteers found themselves stood, watching in the corners of the houses. Keeping their children safe.

Crackling with hunger, the feeding mechanism gave off a vicious wave of heat, but satisfied with the completion of its duty, the volunteer knew it would die, sent back to work and ready to defend the realms of men against the invasion which happened each December 25th.

It had entertained, protected, offered itself, then the novelty passed, and they felt as though its protection was no longer necessary. The flames were the victory parade as it passed back into nothing.

The smell of smoke clung to their hands as they drove home, and they were melancholy without being able to explain why.


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