The Thing That Moved

“Inertia is the property of matter by which it remains in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force.” -Klaatu ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ (1951)

 

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   “Today we’re going to start the Universe” rumbled God.

“Yes, sir”, replied Gabriel. He readied a pen on his clipboard.

“Here are the specifications”, said God in a stentorian voice that shook the Heavens. “Matter shall either move or not move, depending.”

Gabriel scribbled. He looked up.

“Make things move or not move”, Gabriel repeated.

“Exactly”, said God, causing an avalanche somewhere.

“Very good, sir.” Gabriel left. A moment later, his head appeared in the doorway.

“Err”, said Gabriel. God was cleaning his spectacles. Why did he need them? Gabriel had always left it alone. Obviously they were merely an affectation, and what was wrong with that? Nothing, apparently.

“Yes?” said God.

“Only, it’s not that I’d second guess, well, you know.” Gabriel paused to gather his thoughts. “Well… Will there be a lot happening in this Universe?”

“Oh yes”, replied God excitedly, then looked over with a furrowed brow at a vase that had fallen. “Trust me, you don’t need more than what I’ve given you. You trust me, don’t you, Gabriel?”

“Oh, ha ha, absolutely, sir! Just making sure. Wouldn’t want anyone to say I wasn’t doing my job ‘n all.” And with that, Gabriel was off.

A moment later a timid knock was heard at the entrance to God’s office.

“Yes?”

“Sorry, not saying you’re wrong, you can’t be wrong, that would be some kind of contradiction in logic on the most fundamental level, only you do pay me quite well…”

“Quite well”, said God. “Quiet well”.

“Exactly”, said Gabriel. “And I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t make sure, well…” He stopped for a moment before finally getting to the point. “Is this… a test?”

God leaned back, laughing. “Nope, not at all. An object shall remain in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force. Put that in the program. ” God looked off into the distance. “The rest will take care of itself.”

“Understood”, said Gabriel, and this time he meant it.

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“Cat City” by James Chapman

In the town of Furville lived Cats and Dogs. Though they lived in the same town they were sure never to cross paths. This was the agreement, and none had ever broken it. One night, a group of dogs took a wrong turn and encountered some cats. Tension was immediate.

No one wanted a fight, but one was sure to happen. The dogs feigned charging, looking around, alternating between aggression and worry. The cats kept very still, some hissing. One dog leaned in a little too close, snapping at a black cat that seemed further away than it was. The cat whipped its claws in an arc and the dog jumped back, yelping.

The fight was furious. All the animals gave in to their natures, tearing, biting and clawing in a blind rage. The dogs, however, out matched the cats. The cats realized this and nimbly made their escape, scattering at high speed and disappearing into the dark.

The agreement had been broken. When the other dogs found out what happened, they decided it was time to be rid of the Cats. Tomorrow, during the day when the cats were asleep, they would track their scents and kill them.

The cats foresaw what was to come and had a plan of their own. That night, while the dogs slept, the stealthiest cats dressed up a third of the dogs so that they looked and smelled like cats. Then all the cats left their town and settled in the shadows of a nearby tree covered hillside.

The next morning, the dogs arose and were startled to find Cats in their midst. The cats watched and listened from the hillside as the dogs tore each other to pieces. When only a few wounded hounds remained, the cats returned.

And that is how Furville became Cat City.