Literary Fiction Science Fiction

To Save Fragile Things from the Pounding of Heavy Ages

By Grayson Bray Morris
1,752 words · 7-minute reading time

Monday. Six pm. Tension encases Beth like a static field, charged but invisible.

The countdown hits zero. ON THE AIR lights up in fire-alarm red. Beth starts speaking. "Welcome to NOVA’s Science on the Edge. With me today is anthropologist Fabio Felline from the University of Montana. Dr. Felline, tell us about your work."

The young postdoc sits rigidly, a hand clenched on each thigh. Beth understands: he’s live, on national television. She smiles to reassure him.

The moment draws out. His lines are on the teleprompter, just off camera, but it looks like he’s too nervous to remember that. The man from the National Office of Truth in Media—part of the new president’s War on Misinformation—is starting to frown. As if that’ll help. Asshole.

The flustered postdoc’s eyes widen; he’s found his teleprompter. He clears his throat and answers. "Well, Beth, my team studies DNA to figure out how our ancestors spread around the globe."

Beth lets the original script roll down her tongue, to stop...

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  • Patricia
    November 28, 9:47pm

    Wonderful story! Love the idea it expresses and completely understand Beth's dilemma.

  • Casey
    November 30, 8:38pm

    Great speculative fiction. It's not too hard to imagine this becoming a reality. Haunting thought.

  • Beverly Suarez-Beard
    December 15, 9:40pm

    What a good story! Deeply personal yet rooted in politics--I think that's one of the most difficult things to do in fiction. No preaching or polemics, which makes it all the more disturbing and powerful.