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The Last Thing · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Grand Parade
Up and down the trunk of the main street and spilling off into the branches of the side avenues, the crowd surged in eager tumult. Vendors shouted, hawking foods that were mainly appetizing in the context of a sparkling event such as this one, and all priced to match the occasion. Adults strained their necks as children slashed at each other with glittering swords of light whose batteries wouldn’t last a day.. The aromas of overused funnel cake oil, scents of festive incense, the close press of crowded and sweaty humid humanity, became tinged with the distant scent and sound of rumbling exhaust... The parade was on its way.

Through the crowd, heads turned in waves of attention as the first float approached with a hum… a giant hive glistening with drooling amber honey, with huge bees the size of eagles circling it and tending to it as the massive queen reposed at the top. The crowd fell quiet as it passed, fascinated by the intricate detail.

Soon after came another astonishing sight; a square formation of ordinary dogs and cats, marching in nearly perfect synchronization. At their center was a platform bearing stacks of wolf pelts and heaps of panther skeletons. This display caused much conversation as it made its steady pace past the waiting eyes of the crowd, the pattering of pet feet receding slowly into the distance.

Next came a scraping and clattering sound as a huge mass of metal advanced, striking sparks from the stones in the asphalt. It was a machine of many gears and struts, hydraulic works and flickering electric bolts, stinking of hot oil and dirt. In a hopper at the top, stacks of trees and piles of rocks and gallons of pure water flowed into a set of grinding wheels that crushed everything into tiny splinters that combined to keep the machine crawling forward. Heavy metal music played along with the grinding gears and clanging actuators, but no one seemed inclined to groove along as it rattled past.

The next float was a vast aquarium, casting dazzling blue reflections over everyone as it steadily rolled by. Inside, dolphins swam and broke the surface, fish darted in thick schools amid forests of coral, sea turtles stroked the water sedately. But there was a large crack in the rear wall of the aquarium, and water steadily flowed from it as it proceeded, causing cold streams to flow over people’s feet and down the sewer drains. The fish within darted about in greater distress as the level fell and air drew down upon them, but the aquarium rounded a distant corner before the last few feet drained away entirely.

People still gazed after it in silence long after it disappeared. As the time passed, the crowd barely stirred, but eventually they started to look back up the street. Surely that had not been the last float.

Then came a simple wave of darkness, like a cresting wave of ink that passed along the center of the street. The people seemed stunned as it approached and passed, but they were swiftly hidden in its depths. The darkness intensified until it seemed that the buildings on each side were bowing as it pulled them in. Even against that intense force, silver streaks shot from the darkness like fireworks that sailed up impossibly into the sky, not bursting into flowers of fire but streaking up to be lost in a different and starry blackness… But these were the only things that stood a chance to escape, as the wave of dark flowed down the side streets and out through the city and subsumed all.

The last float of the grand parade.
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#1 · 1
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
A few little hiccups here and there that probably speak mostly to submitting close to the deadline. The imagery here is good, but I'm not sure I get what the message is. It does seem to be an ecological allegory, but then I guess bees were an odd choice for the first float, unless they're treated as a bellwether. The cats and dogs could easily be indicative of extinction or hunting/poaching, though again, dogs and cats are kind of an odd choice for that. The last two floats do jive. Maybe I've got those wrong and it's just entropy in general. I'm also lost as to the meaning of the silver streaks at the end. Only a few manage to get away, perhaps the ones who were able to get off planet and colonize elsewhere? Not much is made of those, so I'm kind of scratching my head at why there's this small but undeveloped subversion of the overall hopeless tone.
#2 ·
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
...of Lifeless Packaging?
#3 ·
>>Pascoite, >>Heavy_Mole

The Grand Parade

Thanks for the gold and the kind comments!

This round took place upon the exact date of Tampa Pride and I had to try to make both events work. I compromised by deciding to write about a parade and taking some inspiration from the passing floats I saw that day. I wrote the intro paragraph before I left and turned my hasty notes into fictional floats later that evening, making everything take a darker turn ala Naked Lunch, showing what's really at the end of the spoon as Humanity relentlessly feasts on its home planet, with the hint towards a Dark Singularity at the end. Or at least, that's what I tried to do.

See you next time!