“Memory in the Time of Bones” by Nathan Crowder

January 17, 2010

First came the Time of Sickness, then the Time of Flies, and now the Time of Bones, where one perfect boy is trying to find a place called home.

Excerpt:

Latin Boy took a step back from the window, the motion activating the soft, inset lights in the ceiling, and a cockroach scurried into the impression his shoes had left in the carpet.

During the Time of Flies, bugs had been everywhere. It had been a boom season for anything that fed on decay. This cockroach was the first bug Latin Boy had seen in a long time, making it a prize catch for the small cleaning bot that patrolled around his feet in search of grit. With a predatory hum, the white dome of the bot zipped over the roach, and it was gone.

Latin Boy was good at telling time and could recite the time of day on request without hesitation. It was one of his talents. But as good as he was at measuring the hours and minutes, he was incapable of tracking days anymore. His memory was not the problem. Deep in the Time of Bones, with so few people left, Friday and Monday held no meaning.

As the cleaning bot whisked away to its hidden home in the baseboard, Latin Boy thought of the blue room. He stepped back to the window. The poor little machine, he thought, looking for meaning now that there was nothing left to clean. Someone must have told it…programmed it…to make sure the floors were spotless. Did the bot even know that no people lived in the apartment anymore? Latin boy wondered if the bot thought he was its people returning and that it would have purpose again. Maybe even now, it sat in the baseboard charging port, electrical heart burning with joy.

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