Illustration: “Crop” © 2005 by D’Wayne Murphy
Its endless, dreamy half-sleep was broken. It sensed movement in the firm, cool substance that it lay in. The substance shifted around it. A new thing, cold and sharp, that it had never felt before, touched its outer skin. The familiar closeness of the substance that had always been around it was no longer there. The other thing touched its body, scraping the last of the substance away.
It felt new, strange heat on its skin.
“There it is. Big one, must be six feet. Keep digging it out.”
“Ugly looking thing. Wonder why they have to grow these monsters underground like that?”
“Because they come from seeds. Bio-tech farm here says those things are the answer to the world food shortage. You try one yet?”
“I had some. Looks like a vegetable, but tastes more like meat, like steak, I guess, if you put some sauce on it.”
“They engineered them to have that flavor. Didn’t taste like any real steak to me though.”
“Yeah, like you know what real steak tastes like. Well the protester nuts claim those things have got some human gene parts in them. That’s supposed to be a nervous system in that crusty part on the back — maybe it really can feel stuff, even think.”
“That’s a load of manure. Besides, what’s a thing like that got to think about anyway?”
“Nothing, that’s what. It just lays there under the dirt its whole life until it gets harvested.”
“Next thing you know, they’ll even have their own names. It’s still just a great big potato to me after you get all the dirt washed off.”
“Sun’s hot out here today. Let’s get it on the truck with the rest of them. And chop those tuber things off it.”
It felt sudden, tearing pain as some part of it was pulled away from its body. It had never felt pain before.
It lay on a new place that hurt its back, and it sensed other bodies like its own piled next to it. The unfamiliar heat began to burn its skin and it needed wetness. It had always had wetness before when it was needed, but there was none now.
It lay on the hard new place and tried to make a dream again of the firm, cool substance that had always been around it. When the dream came back, it found that the pain in its body hurt less. It dreamed for as long as it could. *
About the Author: William Wilde is an Oregon native. He is the author of the SF Ebooks “Tech Wolves” and “Deadlink” from Fictionwise.com. His short story “The Ride” appeared in Planet Issue no. 37.
(c) 2006 William Wilde email@example.com
About the Artist: D’Wayne “Dino” Murphy is a graphic designer and digital illustrator who creates mostly in the realms and genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, a far cry from his daytime job where he does graphic design for a well-known print company. Most of his work consists of pieces that can be used for bookcovers, magazine illo’s, CD covers, DVD covers, and accompanying illustrations for writer’s manuscripts or stories. He also does concept character creation, with a large focus of his work at this point primarily focused on the character’s face and mannerisms, but soon there will be more action shots and settings to come. He is an avid sketcher and loves drawing when he has the available time to do so. D’Wayne is hoping at some point to work with a game design company doing graphics and illustration and at some point character development. Right now he works with a few magazine companies doing illo work.
Illustration (c) 2006 D’Wayne Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: http://dino267.cgsociety.org/gallery/