Short Story: Sparks

It swam with the current, flying fast down the line.

“Oh, what shall I be? Oh, what shall I see?” It thought.

Unformed thoughts and purposes cluttered up its mind, like neutrons. It never had decided and now the time was ripe, to see the world, to make a difference, to do something more than spin aimlessly, waiting, just waiting to be useful.

Father and mother, brother and sister, all had gone to do things, see things. One had lit the room of a great author, so she could write by candle light of crimes and egg shaped Belgian men. Another had embraced the wild, befriending a generator, travelling to the Arctic with intrepid explorers. All had done things. All had seen things. And all had returned to tell of them. Energy could not die and so their tales grew, circulating around the current.

“Oh, what shall I be? Oh, what shall I see?” It thought.

Though they had illuminated the lives of many students, of erudite scholars, they had no formal education system. They just grew and ebbed, lit up a room and dimmed away, returning to cast their knowledge into an ever growing pool.

Thoughts of a bright future, filled with a knowledge of all things scintillating. It would cast old knowledge into shadow, declaring a paradise of endless energy and learning.

“Oh, what shall I be? Oh, what shall I see?” It thought. “Oh, I am here! But… what… where is here?”


James Alistair McAlistair frowned and banged the side of his electric kettle. “Come on, I need tea. No tea, no work. I refuse to work without tea!” He thought of microwaving his tea mug but decided against it. Microwaved tea was insipid. The perfect cup of tea must be boiling water poured straight over the leaves. Whether bag or loose, it must be boiling.


“Oh, I can help!” The spark revelled! “I shall be the provider of tea!” It endeavoured to leap to the kettle, pleased beyond measure. Would it help to create darjeeling? Pu-erh? Earl grey? A humble mug of Lipton? It could barely stop vibrating with excitement.


The neighbours had never heard James Alistair McAlistair curse so loud as he held his singed hand. That blasted kettle had sparked! It even crackled malevolently at him! Or so he thought. What James Alistair McAlistair did not realise was that he had witnessed something rare. The death of something that had finally figured out what it would be, what it would do. The other sparks would never know the knowledge of their kin but would tell tales of how it had leapt to its death because it had no knowledge of what it was or what it would do. But they were wrong.

It knew very well it was going to be. It just didn’t know that James Alistair McAlistair was a cheapskate who never bought new appliances. A fatal accident was chalked up to suicide when, really, one should always make sure that electric appliances are well maintained.

RIP Sparks. You had such great potential.


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