Edwin Burgess

Stories from Edwin Burgess

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Sisyphus has been performing his endless task for an unknowable time. Eternity has worked her course and what was once stone, before it shattered to pebbles and then roughened to sand, has been worn to dust. And Sisyphus’ task remains as difficult as ever. Now he must separate the dust that was once the mountain from the dust that was once a rolled stone before carrying each handful of earth to pile at the top of a shifting mound. He is sitting, sifting through the dirt. He does not tire. He does not stop. He does what he has been made to do.

Eternity has seen him at his work.

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

All the apples died.

A plague swept across the orchards over the course of six days, just shy of a week, and claimed them in their sleep. The elderly Granny Smiths were the first to go, leaving the youthful Rome Beauties to struggle through the sickness, wrapped in their turnovers to keep the chills away. But they too succumbed to the grave.

When the funeral service was held, in attendance were the apples’ closest lovers.

Grade school teachers brought their students, assuring them that at least an orange would never have a worm burrowed into it. But an orange could never replace the dignified apple that had once found a home on the desks of their classrooms.

Doctors brought their patients, fearing the line that would form outside their practices without the daily supply of the deceased. What would happen to their careers with such an important business partner gone from this world?

The shinigami, death gods of legend, stopped by the gravesite, though everyone knows that apples have no soul to reap. They would mourn the loss of their favorite fruit and henceforth visit the earth only when duty called. After all, duty would call soon enough.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

            I gathered together seven candles large enough to last through night.  He didn’t tell me exactly how many to get, but seven seemed to be the most appropriate number for these kinds of practices.  I searched the house and found fourteen vessels to hold water, seven large enough to hold each of the remaining seven within.  I filled the seven large vessels with water three quarters full and placed them, spaced evenly, around the circle I’d constructed on the ground.