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Sometimes, he wishes he had someone to talk to.  Ray sits on a bench, his rusting, creaky elbows perched on his rusting, creaky knees, and watches the butterflies.  Cumulonimbus clouds stretch across the sky above his head, the kinks in his metal spine curved against the wood and groaning with the breeze.

"Let's put him here," they'd said, a gleam in their eyes.  "He'll make a great tourist attraction!"

They'd glued him to the bench, molding his rusting, creaky feet to a slab of heavy concrete.  "Feed the birds with Ray," they'd yelled.  "He's a great listener!"

And for twenty years, he was.  He'd heard war stories and sex scandals and all the secrets a child could keep bottled up in their chests.  He'd heard sob stories and comedic reenactments and over thirty-two million declarations of love.  He'd kept count.  Sometimes, people came back more than once.  Often, Ray had been ignored.

Forty years ago, space shuttles filled with people had lifted into orbit.  "It'll be great," they'd said.  "Life in space will be brilliant!"

And for twenty years, it was.  They'd touched the stars and discovered footprints on the moon and played golf on Pluto.  They'd spoken to aliens and made moon-rock mobiles and started a war with twelve galaxies.  Sometimes, they'd played the old movies of Earth and wondered, for a second, what life would be like if they'd stayed.  They didn't remember Ray.

"I'm a great listener," he whispers, "but I don't feed the birds anymore."  He doesn't feel the concrete on his rusting, creaky feet anymore.

"Earth's a great tourist attraction now," he says.  "Come back."

Cumulonimbus clouds stretch across the sky above his head, but Ray doesn't notice the rain anymore, or the way his metal spine has fused to the bench.  His rusting, creaky elbows perched on his rusting, creaky knees, Ray sighs.  There are no butterflies left to watch.  Sometimes, he wishes there were.
:iconflash-fic-month: Day 17

No prompt used.

Word Count--321

I inverted...something. I'm just not sure what. If you know, please tell me.

July 17, 2012
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:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
lovely piece. though quite sad.
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. :heart:
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:icondna-the-authoress:
DNA-The-Authoress Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
Aww.... )'=
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:heart:
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:icondizzytestament:
DizzyTestament Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012
It makes me think of a world that's changed for the worst. Everyone's left poor Ray behind. I wonder what he sees - if the land has no people anymore or not. Unless Earth got worse, I'm sure mother nature would've come by for a visit.
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Mmmmm. Unless indeed. :heart:
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:iconvenry:
Venry Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Student General Artist
Really makes people think :heart:
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Good, I'm glad. :heart:
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:iconsammur-amat:
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012   General Artist
Cumulonimbus clouds stretch across the sky above his head, the kinks in his metal spine curved against the wood and groaning with the breeze.

Such literary prowess you posses, beth. amazing.:heart:
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:heart: I try. :heart:
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:iconsammur-amat:
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012   General Artist
You succeed:heart:
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012
this is very strange and beautiful. a real sense of nostalgia and loss, almost. there are lots of hints and suggestions in this short story (i feel it is a story, despite it very shortness :P ) that seduce the reader. who are 'they', why have the butterflies gone? why was space travel only good 'for a while'?

i really like the personification of the statue, and in a weird way at the end, it seems almost...hopeful, like Ray has drifted away and above the metal and rain. quietly beautiful :)
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:heart:! It was definitely out of my usual writing comfort zone, but I'm glad that I decided to pursue it when the idea popped into my head. And yes, I agree--there are a lot of unanswered questions; maybe one day I'll come back and flesh this out a bit more, but right now, I'm happy with where it is.

And thank you! I love Ray; I think he's my favorite character so far from FFM.
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:iconprettythings9:
PrettyThings9 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012
He is brilliant. kind of like Wall-e, with the machine vs heart thing going on :)

well, writing is all about pushing yourself and this is great! :)
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:heart:
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:iconatheshya:
Atheshya Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
So... much... sad...
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:huggle:
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:iconcelestialmemories:
CelestialMemories Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This is so tragically beautiful..I love it. I feel so bad for Ray. I'd just sit with him forever!

You did a gorgeous job. :star:
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, sweetie. I'm really proud of how this one turned out; I like the "coming full circle" effect that plays out. And I like Ray, to be honest. :heart:
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:iconcelestialmemories:
CelestialMemories Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome!

I adore Ray, he seems like a sweetie.
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think he is. ^.^
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:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I thought it was a sentient statue at first, but maybe it was a robot? I started getting a little sci-fi vibe near the end.
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm currently undecided on what Ray is, but I think I'm leaning toward robot...he's just had a certain few of his wires cut.
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Student Writer
It seems as though the shortest flash fiction pieces are often the best. You've packed a vast amount into this, but there's still a lot left to think about. I don't feel like anything is missing, though.
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think a lot of that is because, with the shorter pieces, you only have so many words to get your story out there--there's less room to stray off-topic.

And thank you! That is, in my opinion, a very big compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed the read, and I appreciate your feedback! :heart:
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Student Writer
No problem. :-) This may well be my favourite flash fiction piece so far.
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:blush:
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I like it. I'm sad for Ray though. "There are no butterflies left to watch. Sometimes, he wishes there were." I kind of want to cry. Beautiful.
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:iconbetwixtthepages:
betwixtthepages Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! I feel bad for Ray, too, but I like how this turned out. :heart:
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