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Manna from Heaven

Retired from her job as an electrician at the Coors Brewery, Ann Zimmerman devotes her time to writing, photography, hiking, skiing, golf, and grandchildren. She lives in Colorado with her wife and two spoiled elderly cats. She has published flash fiction on Brilliant Flash Fiction, Long Story Short, Spelk, Smokelong Quarterly, Antipodean SF, and elsewhere.

The overlords drop our food from the sky. We never know where the packets will land, or how they fall undamaged. Our daily activities include a search for our meals.
If we raise our voices in hymns and chant our prayers loudly, we may even receive fresh fruit. Once we worshipped so reverently that packages of sugar graced our village.
But lately some youthful rabble rousers started agitating for change. They curse the overlords. At their secret meetings they discuss "haves" and "have nots." Once I foolishly attended, and left terrified.
I am old enough to have experienced the overlords' wrath. These youngsters know only their generosity. Now their chatter endangers our entire village.
One day a large package of oranges appears in the town center. The angry youth gather round and smash the fruit. They raise their fists and scream at the sky.
We elders notice the black clouds gathering. I call to everyone to take cover. But the would-be rebels continue smashing and shouting.
Soon metal particles fall like hail, breaking windows and shredding plants. As the storm intensifies, high winds blast shards through any flimsy structure. All who cannot reach shelter risk their lives.
Huddled safely inside my home, I see a young woman dash away from the group. Clutching an infant, she races toward my door. I stare in horror as shrapnel falls around her. Suddenly she stumbles. A fragment of metal protrudes from her back. The child screams.
Shaking with fear, I open my door and run. I cannot pull the woman to safety, but I lift the child. After we rush inside, I watch more shards pinion the dying woman. I wonder why the young cannot learn from us. If my useless tears had not long ago dried up, I would shed them now.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021


Author Comments

I enjoy reading and writing dystopian stories. This one expresses some of my attitude about religious worship, as well as, about a society so divided between the obscenely rich and the rest of us. Although the character seems to be in despair, I think the rescue of the infant indicates a tiny spark of hope that youth may find a way to make the world better.

- Ann Zimmerman
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