Flutter By


Leal peered over the cliff. The ocean had risen in the last weeks. The rain hadn’t stopped and lower lying areas were already flooded. The great ship Ekon the Builder had helped them construct stood in defiance to the rising ocean. Friends and neighbors who had initially mocked their project now bustled to and fro, making preparations for the impending disaster. Livestock, food and tools filled the lower holds. Everyone feared the rising ocean and scrambled for space on the great boat. All that is, except Ekon.

“Ekon!” Leal yelled when he glimpsed the hunched form of the designer of the monstrosity they created. “Ekon the Builder!”

Ekon looked to Leal and stood as straight and tall as he could, but due to his bowed back, it made for quite the sad spectacle.

“Ekon, there doesn’t appear to be a place for your tools. We’ll need you to help build a new life after the flood.”

“I’ll not be with you. I deserve neither your praise nor my own salvation.”

Leal gripped him by the shoulders. “How can you say this? It was by providence’s hand you came to us when you did.” Leal waved his arm towards the single tree, the tree that adorned his wife’s grave. “How could that solitary tree provide enough wood for this? The copper and tin we smelted for nails has yielded more material than possible. You are a miracle worker and the stories of your prowess are not exaggerated.”

Ekon shook his head. “I was a great builder. The last few years I have cared more for the drink than the craft.”

“None of us would begrudge you for imbibing. The enormity of this project is…” Leal turned and took in the enormity of the structure. “….astounding.”

Ekon stared into Leal’s eyes when the man turned back to him. “Wine ferments in my mouth. It is but bitter vinegar. I have subsisted on scraps of bread. I’ve lived a life of debauchery and privilege, I have no place on your boat.”

Leal opened his mouth to try to convince Ekon to change his mind, but was interrupted by a rare sight: A butterfly appeared in the fog, wafting lazily in the thick mist. Both men looked to the butterfly with wings of brilliant red. The wings appeared as if they were frocked on the edges with pure gold. Dodging drops of water, the butterfly struggled against the rain and landed on Ekon’s head.

The butterfly paused only long enough to rest and then it fluttered toward the boat. It landed on the prow and then moments later, it continued its journey over the ocean. Ekon stood taller, retrieved his tools and strode confidently towards the boat ramp.

Lean smiled and waved to Nichelle to follow. The trio that began the endeavor stood in respectful silence at the end of the ramp. The boat was ready and those who wished to sail away were already aboard. The trio nodded to one another and started up the ramp.

Next: Quest for Nothing

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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