by Jessica Bozek
The Revisionist Historian's Tale
“Friendly coming in!”
The soldier with the soothing voice had come. White museum booties muffled his steps. He left his weapons, the sharp and the loud ones, behind roadside rock. Some say his whistle was distinctive.
He told the citizens stories of quiet insects of soft foods of hair-limbs of lazy of red trees of porch chairs of windrows of pinking shears of lavender of loose sleeves of a sweater that grew from trees of wind of tremor of transport of archive of crystal-glint of lunar surface of honey of typewritten notes of names going rusty from non-use of wind of wind of wind. They closed their eyes to go. And from the collective weight of so many eyelids collapsing, the pilings started to sink. They would soon be underground, the soldier would soon report that he had watched their houses retract, until low-growth covered the roofs. He whistled and their dogs followed him back to his weapons. The streetlights glistened against the greasepaint on his face.
For years afterward, people in this land talked about the first soldier to fell a town with bedtime stories. They wondered if it was better to be stilled into atrocity or surprised by it.
“Friendly coming out!”
The Dog's Tale
How we were suspicious.
We smelled its arrival. A bitter. We smelled it and we wanted to run for the hills. And then it spit, not caring that we could hear. Today, we knew, this new human wants to take something. We didn’t think, it wants to leave everything, it wants our help.
How we were complicit.
It whistled and we didn’t run. We tensed our muscles, lifted our heads. Some started toward their humans. Some readied an ambush as the word-circles widened. But pitch kept us away.
The new human wanted to leave everything. This was efficiency. The earth opened and the humans slid in. The leaves moved over them. Only we, with our collars; only we, so well-fed. We were the evidence of this population. Perhaps that’s why the new human wanted us. We were trained. As it was. To sit. To heel. To eat when called.
The Diagnostician's Tale
Their own tongue killed them; they had too much tongue.