Flash Fiction: The Sympathetic Stranger & the Camel named Moirai (Fate)

flowers in the desert

by LJ Frank

The disaffection of the human species was not what the theologian now scientist pursued in his dreams of compassion and passion. Rather it was to encourage the finer characteristics of humane. Extreme measures were abhorrent to his conscience whether war, capital punishment, the wanton disregard of life, enslavement and the militarization of culture. And he chose not to work with those that wanted to design a man-ape by mixing the embryos and another servant to justify their financial and spiritual greed though artificial intelligence had already replaced his expertise. 

He decided to become a seeker of wisdom for its own sake. That decision led him to the desert and renting a camel, which in this instance the merchant knowingly leased him – Moirai. 

The name the merchant told him symbolized the fate of all humans – Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos—a trinity of goddesses – birth, lifespan and death – all predetermined by the laws of the universe wrapped up in an animal whose attitude could be best described as “making its own statement.” 

The man felt compelled to embark upon his trek which was on a map, comparatively short, so upon initializing an agreement, with shoulder bag, he climbed on to the camel and began to cross the desert like terrain when an expected sand storm enveloped him. The theologian-scientist now found himself uttering, “I have found myself bewildered and no wiser.”

 “Of course,” Moirai spoke, “such is the seeker’s struggle for truth.”

 “The camel speaks, I must be hallucinating. What do your words mean, talk in a manner that I can understand.”

At which point the older, ugly camel bucked, kicked her hind legs up and tossed him on the ground. The camel then was transformed into a breath taking, deep bronze skinned woman with long flowing black wavy hair. 

“What is your destiny?” The woman asked.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“I will tell you. You have three choices with each leading to a different form of death.”

“What do you mean? What are they?”

“You can make love to me then die in my arms satisfied and two flowers will blossom on the ground we touched and glimpsed into the nature of eternal bliss,” Or I can turn back into an ugly old camel and carry you to an oasis where you will find bounded contentment and die alone aching with the ailments of age,” or, “you can walk to the next city. It’s many kilometers away. You will be welcomed as a lost prophet and lavishly treated, except in time the town’s people will turn against you and judge you as a heretic and you will be stoned to death.”

“Those are my only choices?”

“You’re fortunate to have been given three choices as to the shape of your fate.”