My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Tuesdays' posts are on Speculative Fiction.
xylocarp — hard and woody fruit
xerophthalmia — dryness and soreness of the eyes
xenomenia — menstruation from abnormal orifices
xystus — covered walkway for exercises
xeme — fork-tailed gull
xylopyrography — engraving designs on wood with hot poker
My xylocarp crop came in too well last year. "It's just like a coconut, right?" 🥥 That's what people asked before buying.
It wasn't. The look was much the same, and the textures were on par, but the taste was a little sweeter. The scent was more floral than powdery.
But it was the mind control that made it special. Anyone who ate my xylocarps became hypnotized by my voice. Just a few advertisements and I had my own army. The only indication they were under my spell was some xerophthalmia, and an occasional bout of xenomenia. Honestly, what's the big deal about a few bloody fingernails?
"Prisoner 23719564. Let's go."
I should be ruling these people. I'm smarter! I could have ended world hunger. I would have ended the wars and power struggles. That's easy since I would be the only leader. And they were all obedient! As long as they ate one of my xylocarps a month. The plan was perfect. Well, almost.
I step onto the xystus and have my chains removed. Fifteen minutes a day of fresh air and sunshine on this small, covered walkway. There's a xeme flying overhead. If not for those meddling birds, I'd be the ruler of the world right now! They destroyed my crops. Once the scientists started wondering why the birds were attacking everyone's new favorite food, well, my plan came to light.
I examine the xylopyrography work near the door to the xystus. It shows a xeme flying over raised hands. The birds are the ones getting all the thanks and adoration. I was trying to save the world! For that, I'm jailed forever.
(Author's note: This was not the original story planned for today. The one I wrote before had a disease in it. Frankly, we have enough of that in real life. Hopefully, this substitution is adequate for your enjoyment.)