Flash Fiction – Second Place!

Gold Eaters    by Eileen Castle

“What are you trying to tell me?” she asks.

This is the problem with newcomers. They think they have it all figured out. Their self-assurance parades as privilege and intelligence when in reality they’re fumbling for answers just as the rest of us are. No one is invincible; no one immune to the disease. “I’m telling you that you are going to die,” I say.

I check my watch. The black leather band fits too snug against the flesh of my wrist and it’s beginning to leave a mark. “In approximately ten minutes you will cease to exist and I will collect what is left of you.”

“But why? Why me?” she asks.

Humans are strange creatures. They are always wondering why. Even in their last seconds they continue searching for answers. It’s plain as day to the rest of us. The silly things already know the truth. They just bury it in order to escape.

I stand beside her on the balcony. “Greed is a terrible thing, love. It is all consuming. In your case I mean that in the most literal way possible.”

“I don’t want to go,” she says.

The humans began to adorn their bodies with gold many years ago. It began to symbolize their power, their stance above all others who couldn’t afford so much. Soon it wasn’t enough to just place the metal atop their skin. They began to paint it on and bathe within it. No one told them. It ate away their flesh, down to the very soul of them.

That’s where we come in. We collect what is left. They call us gold eaters. They’re still hiding the truth. It’s not the gold we want. It’s them. We want the soul that they leave behind; that the greed strips from them.

“I know, love. No one ever wants the fun to end.”

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