Unearthly, distant heart

d’Verse prosery

Where are we? Where are our limbs? Our muscles? Our intestines? Our genitals? Our brains? Nothing remains but gore. What has become of us? Our mutilated torsos are not here, nor are our faces. Only mouths are… We?

Who sings?

The distant heart, which safely exists in the centre of all things. It has… swallowed us; absorbed us. We flew here to save humanity from its persistent, deadly call. We came out to this forsaken realm equipped with vessels, weapons; chemicals; bombs; noise-cancelling armor…

But the heart had already defeated us, although we didn’t know it then. It had already been beating within our chests, drawing us ever closer to its unearthly domain. It beckoned us to drop our laser rifles and remove our suits… and we complied unthinkingly.

And now our mouths remain… singing out to the rest of humanity to join us.


The prompt

d’Verse prosery is flash fiction with a beginning, a middle and an end, in any genre of the author’s choice, no longer than 144 words. This very short piece of prose must include an assigned line from a poem, within the 144 word limit. Writers may change the punctuation of the assigned line, but they may not insert words within the quotation.

The assigned quotation was:

Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926), ‘Heartbeat’

52 thoughts on “Unearthly, distant heart”

  1. This made me shiver thinking about some Lovecraftian eldritch horror. Torn between wanting to read more and abstaining so as to not get nightmares. Well written! 😱

  2. I really enjoyed this piece, partly because I’m a sci-fi fan — but more so because of the mysteriousness that you build. There’s a story here, and you’ve presented it piece by mysterious piece.

  3. Well done for overcoming a tricky prompt with great use of punctuation, David! The paragraph full of short questions at the beginning creates unease and confusion, and draws the reader in. I love the link between ‘We flew here to save humanity from its persistent, deadly call’ and ‘now our mouths remain… singing out to the rest of humanity to join us.’

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