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  • Writer's pictureD.J. Bodden

Lethe - A Short Story

I'm what you call a Lethe. Seven feet tall, green skin made of photosynthetic cells, and a singularity planted—hah hah!—deep within my brain. It means I experience time at one-sixtieth the pace of a human being.

We were meant to be your memory.

When I was a seedling, and we were sent out in great arcologies to explore the galaxy, there was an older Lethe on our ship who would sometimes come talk to me. Our initial discussions concerned which planets we passed each hour and how many days it would take to reach the next star system. It took us a week to get to the observation deck once I was mobile. There, we talked about the tenor of light from various stars and which crew members had died or been born.

Halfway through my lifetime, a hundred of my years and six-thousand of yours, it occurred to me I might like to feel the light of Sol on my skin one more time. It took almost two years to reach the assembly and another week to convince them of the necessity.

Six months later, I was finally on my way in a single-use starship made for one.

But what I found at the end of my long journey, sixty-two of my years and three-thousand seven-hundred and twenty of yours, has been a world returned to nature. You were fearful when my capsule burned down from the heavens, then you worshipped me, throwing garlands and offerings at my feet. I have stayed in place trying to speak to you for so long, I have taken root.

There are no microphones to record my words, no computers to speed them up for you.

How can I be your memory if all you hear is the rustle of leaves and the groaning of wood?

And every year, there are fewer of you.

In the end, I will be alone.

I am increasingly fearful that, when I fall, there will be no one to hear me.


Thanks so much for reading I hope you enjoyed.

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